Most of us are aware of the many health risks associated with obesity: hypertension or high blood pressure, respiratory conditions such as asthma and sleep apnea, joint issues such as arthritis and, of course type 2 diabetes. When these conditions occur because of obesity, they are called co-morbidities.

At the Port Jefferson office of New York Bariatric Group, patients often ask if bariatric weight loss surgery will help manage, minimize or altogether eliminate their co-morbidities, particularly those with type 2 diabetes.  The good news is that, in many cases, the answer is yes.

Recent studies have indicated that over 75% of obese patients with type 2 diabetes had their blood sugar return to normal levels, no longer requiring diabetes medications such as insulin, after having a bariatric procedure.

Which Types of Surgery Can Effectively Control Diabetes?

All of the bariatric weight loss procedures offered by New York Bariatric Group have proven to be very effective tools to achieve weight loss and control type 2 diabetes in patients. Each surgery has its own risks and benefits. Through consultation with their surgeon, patients can choose the procedure that will be the best fit for their individual case.

In most instances, the surgeries can be performed laparoscopically, minimizing the recovery time and reducing the amount of scarring.

Gastric Bypass Surgery: In this procedure, the upper portion of the stomach is divided to form a small pouch, roughly the size of an egg, and is connected lower down to the small intestine. The smaller stomach pouch and restricted connection to the intestine reduces the amount of food patients can consume.  Additionally, by bypassing a portion of the stomach and the small intestine, malabsorption occurs, reducing the calories that the body absorbs.

Sleeve Gastrectomy: Through this surgery, the volume of the stomach is reduced by approximately 75%, making it a narrow tube using a series of surgical staples. The connection to the small intestine remains unaltered and therefore the surgery may have fewer risks of complication compared with gastric bypass surgery.

Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery: In this procedure, a hollow silicone band is placed around the top portion of the stomach. Tubing connects the band to a small port located under the skin along the chest wall. The band is tightened to create a small stomach pouch, restricting the amount of food that can pass through to the rest of the stomach. During subsequent office visits, the band can be tightened or loosened by adjusting the amount of saline solution in the band through the port.

Possible Side Effects and Potential Risks of Bariatric Surgery

All surgeries have inherent risk associated with them. Risk factors will vary based on the patient’s co-morbidities, including type 2 diabetes. The risks and possible side effects also vary from one type of surgery to the next. Some of the risks include, but are not limited to the following:

Bleeding: Internal bleeding is a rarely occurring risk associated with Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. There is also a risk of bleeding at the incision sites for all procedures.

Blood clots: Following any major abdominal surgery, there is a risk of blot clots forming in the legs, called deep vein thrombosis. If the blood clot detaches and floats to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolus. We mitigate this risk with the use of a blood thinner, special boots that massage the patients’ legs after surgery and by encouraging patients to walk as much as possible following the surgery.

Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency: This risk, most associated with Gastric Bypass surgery, is a result of the body’s diminished ability to absorb nutrients. In some cases, this can lead to anemia, osteoporosis or metabolic bone disease. Patients who maintain a healthy post surgery diet, take their dietary supplements and regularly follow up with their physician or nutritionist are less likely to be affected.

Other post-operative risks include:

  • Gallstones
  • Lung issues such as pneumonia
  • Greater risk of heart attack
  • Infections at the surgery sites

While there are risks associated with bariatric surgery, we feel they are outweighed by the long-term risks associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Patients are encouraged to discuss all the risk factors with their surgeon to better understand all of them.

Ensuring Weight Loss Success Post Surgery

The degree to which a patient will achieve weight loss success and improve their co-morbidities often depends on the degree to which they can adopt a healthier lifestyle after the surgery.

Diet: Following any bariatric surgery, patients are given very specific dietary instructions which will include a period of eating only soft foods before returning to solid foods. They also should follow the post bariatric dietary guidelines from now on to ensure healthy and successful long-term weight loss.

Exercise: The new, healthy lifestyle patients should adopt includes regular exercise, starting with walking as much as possible immediately following the surgery to help prevent blood clots. Later, more vigorous exercise can be incorporated into their regular routine to help maintain a healthy weight and retain their muscle mass.

Post Surgery Follow-Up Plan: Regular follow up with their surgeon is essential to keeping patients on track and ensuring that their weight loss is occurring as it should.  For gastric band patients, return visits are also opportunities to adjust the band to meet their individual needs. At the Port Jefferson office of New York Bariatric Group, we are committed to providing the best possible care to our patients well beyond the surgery.

To find out if bariatric surgery from New York Bariatric Group’s Port Jefferson office can help you manage your diabetes, contact us today.