Two studies published online by the New England Journal of Medicine found that bariatric surgery (stomach surgery) was more effective at normalizing blood glucose among people with diabetes that medications. Both studies divided patients into three groups with two groups getting permanent surgical alterations (no removable gastric “bands”) and the third group receiving “standard” diabetes medication. The studies targeted a reduced hemoglobin A1c of 6% (Cleveland Clinic Study) or 6.5% (Catholic University in Rome).
The patients in the two surgery groups met the target A1C at a much higher level of success than the medication group, and apparently many of the surgery patients were able to stop taking their diabetes medication. There was considerable variation between the studies. In Italy more than 75% of the surgery participants reached the target 65% A1C; in Cleveland the success rate to 6% was approximately 40%.
People with diabetes and a Body Mass Index (BMI) >30 now “qualify” for bariatric surgery as an intervention.