A New Version Of Gastric Bypass Surgery May Cure Diabetes

A modified version of gastric bypass surgery is eliminating diabetes in its patients.

After 2 years of testing, 19 of 20 diabetic patients that have undergone the modified gastric bypass surgery no longer have diabetes.

First, let's look at basic anatomy of the upper digestive system. From the stomach, food first goes into the upper small intestine called the duodenum. This is the first 25 centimeters of the small intestine. The next 25 meters of the small intestine is called the jejunum.

In a normal bypass operation, the size of the stomach is reduced. In addition, the duodenum is bypassed, and food from the smaller stomach goes directly to the jejunum.

In the modified version of this operation, the stomach is untouched. But, the duodenum is bypassed just like in the normal bypass operation.

This modified version of the gastric bypass operation was developed by Dr. Francisco Rubino of the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. Dr. Rubino has been researching, since 1999, the possibility that gastric bypass surgery cures diabetes.

What is interesting about his findings is that these patients get cured of their diabetes long before experiencing weight loss. This indicates that something other than weight loss is curing these diabetic patients.

Due to his findings, Dr. Rubino has received approval to study experimental bypass surgery on diabetics with a healthy Body Mass Index or BMI. Normally, this type of surgery is only considered for diabetic patients with a BMI of 35 or higher.

Researchers at the University of Toronto are offering a possible explanation why the modified bypass operation is curing diabetes.

By bypassing the duodenum, the jejunum receives more nutrients than it normally gets. When this happens following the surgery, the jejunum tells the brain that it has too much sugar. In turn, the brain then tells the liver to stop making glucose. The net result is that blood sugar levels are reduced to normal levels, and no more diabetes.

Additional good news is that this surgery may also work with type-1 diabetes.

Of course, invasive surgery always comes with some risk. About 0.3% die within 30 days of the operation. And a small percentage of patients experience infections, leaking from the stomach into the abdominal cavity and gallstones. Also, there is less intestines to absorb nutrients, which may cause anemia and osteoporosis.

Each patient must weigh the risks of invasive surgery with the possibility of curing their diabetes. However, we may have a way to cure a once incurable disease.

Charles A. Pennison


Reuters: " Curing Diabetes Via Surgery, Without Weight Loss "