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Gastric Band Not Only For Obese Diabetics

Bariatric Surgery News & Research | Adelaide Bariatric Centre

11 Sep 2013 12:13 PM

overweight but not obese

Weight loss surgery is often portrayed as something that is only for morbidly obese people, but a study out of Melbourne’s Monash University may change that idea.

Researchers trialled gastric band surgery on 51 people who had type 2 diabetes, but were merely overweight and not obese. The study represents a breakthrough because although we already know that obese people will benefit from weight loss surgery, the effects have not been studied on diabetics who are overweight but not obese.

Comparing the results of those who received surgery with a control group that were put on an exercise and diet plan, the surgery recipients lost more than 10 times as much weight: 11kg on average vs 1kg in the diet and exercise group. The average starting weight of all the people studied was 81kg, significantly less than conventional gastric bypass patients.

More than half of those who received the surgery saw their diabetes go into remission, while the rest required less medication to control their disease. Other benefits noted included improved blood pressure, insulin resistance and cholesterol levels.

“Offering bariatric surgery to people who are overweight has helped them lose more weight and delivered much better diabetes outcomes than non-surgical intervention,” researcher Dr John Wentworth said.

“We found that, at two years following the surgery, around half of the patients sustained weight-loss that effectively put their diabetes into remission.”

The findings were presented in Sydney last week and may soon challenge the standard recommendation that gastric bands only be applied to those with a BMI greater than 35.

It follows a recommendation from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery that suggested weight loss surgery as a viable option for those with a BMI between 30 or 35. The announcement, which occurred early this year, stated: “The existing cutoff of BMI at 35 was established arbitrarily nearly 20 years ago. There is no current justification on grounds of evidence of clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, ethics, or equity that this group should be excluded from life-saving treatment.”

Can you get a gastric band if you’re overweight but not obese?

In some circumstances, doctors may recommend surgery for diabetics that are not obese, but depends on the individual’s situation and health issues. The Monash University study has not changed any guidelines yet, but it is likely that further studies will be conducted. If you are not obese but considering surgery, your best option is to talk to our team and book an appointment to talk about your circumstance.

IMAGE CREDIT: davidd