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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Bariatric surgery vs. medicines: Which holds the key to long-term control of type 2 diabetes?

Health Industry Hub | February 28, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: Weight loss surgery has emerged as a more effective solution for the long-term management of type 2 diabetes compared to medical management. The study results comes as a significant stride in the battle against type 2 diabetes, a progressive multifactorial disease affecting an estimated 10% of the global population, encompassing more than 500 million adults.

Despite the mounting body of evidence supporting the efficacy of bariatric surgery, a mere fraction of clinicians and payers currently recommend this intervention for type 2 diabetes, restricting the eligibility to individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher. Less than 1% of those falling within this BMI range consider or pursue surgical treatment.

This pivotal study, offering the most extensive and prolonged follow-up to date, has delved into the outcomes of individuals with type 2 diabetes and overweight/obesity who were randomly assigned to either medical/lifestyle interventions or surgical treatments. This research, encompassing 262 participants across four distinct studies, scrutinised the results a decade after the interventions took place.

At the 7-year mark, 18.2% of those who underwent bariatric surgery achieved remission compared to a mere 6.2% in the medical/lifestyle management group (P = 0.02). This trend persisted at the 12-year mark, with an even more pronounced difference – 12.7% remission in the bariatric surgery group compared to a stark absence of remission in the medical/lifestyle group (P < .001).

The advantages of bariatric surgery extended beyond remission rates, as those who underwent the surgical procedure exhibited superior blood sugar control, a reduced dependency on diabetes medications, and a higher likelihood of sustained remission compared to their counterparts attempting lifestyle management.

Furthermore, the study addressed broader diabetes care goals, including the control of blood pressure and lipids, as well as the prevention of diabetes-related complications. Although no discernible differences were noted between the groups in terms of blood pressure or LDL cholesterol, bariatric surgery demonstrated its superiority by effectively raising HDL and lowering triglycerides. This aligns with findings from previous, smaller randomised controlled trials with shorter follow-up periods.

In light of these compelling results, the researchers unequivocally conclude that bariatric surgery should be embraced as a viable and effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in individuals with obesity.

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