Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes

For many patients, weight loss surgery can dramatically improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

60 to 80 percent of bariatric surgery patients with type 2 diabetes experience an improvement in diabetic symptoms within a year of their procedure.

Many patients can modify or eliminate their diabetes medication following their procedure. In some cases, patients may even experience a remission from diabetes after their weight loss surgery.

Diabetes After Bariatric Surgery

Obesity greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a lifelong disease in which your body does not properly process glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood.

  • The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which enables your cells to turn glucose from the food you eat into energy.
  • People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but their bodies do not use it properly. This is called “insulin resistance.”
  • For some people, losing weight helps them better control their diabetes symptoms.
  • In addition to weight, a variety of factors may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, including genetics.
  • Keep in mind, not all patients will experience an improvement in diabetes after their surgery.

How Can Bariatric Surgery Affect Diabetes?

Learn how the type of bariatric procedure you undergo could affect your type 2 diabetes.

Gastric bypass surgery and diabetes

Many people who undergo gastric bypass surgery experience dramatic weight loss — sometimes as much as 60 percent of their excess weight. Most gastric bypass patients show no signs of diabetes after their procedure.

Gastric band surgery and diabetes

Under the gastric band procedure, a surgeon will place an inflatable band around the top of the stomach to form small pouches where food goes. More than 45 percent of patients who undergo this procedure eventually experience a remission from diabetes.

Biliopancreatic diversion surgery and diabetes

This procedure, which removes a large portion of the stomach​ and changes the way food moves to the intestines, is shown to be the most effective weight loss surgery for minimizing the symptoms of diabetes.

After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight management in the form of diet and exercise is critical to both treating type 2 diabetes and achieving your weight loss goals after bariatric surgery.​


In th​e News

Dr. Anita Courcoulas talks about the effects of bariatric surgery on people with type 2 diabetes.


Learn more from UPMC HealthBeat:

Medical Mondays: Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes - Watch the Story Now. ​​​

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