Is surgery for diabetes control safe? Study says yes

Along with gallbladder surgery and appendectomy procedures, laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is one of the safest operations performed in America, according to a new study from the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute.

The complication rate for metabolic surgery, specifically gastric bypass, was 3.4 percent - which is on par with hysterectomy and other common procedures.

Additionally, the study found that the month-long mortality rate for metabolic diabetes surgery was 0.3 percent - which is similar to total knee replacement surgery and about one-tenth of the risk of death after cardiovascular surgery.

"This study demonstrates that surgical treatment of obesity and diabetes is as safe as other commonly performed surgical procedures," said John M. Morton, Chief of Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. Morton was not involved in the study. "This study, along with many others, can help patients with diabetes and their doctors make better informed and realistic decisions about the potential risks and clear benefits of metabolic surgery."

Immediate effects

The study included data on 66,678 patients with diabetes who had various surgical procedures, including gallbladder surgery, partial colon resections, heart surgery, knee replacement procedures, and hysterectomy.

The complications of these procedures were then compared with 16,509 patients in the group who had undergone laparoscopic gastric bypass.

According to study co-author Ali Aminian, gastric bypass is not only a fairly safe procedure, but it can create immediate improvements in health.

"The risk-to-benefit ratio of gastric bypass for diabetes and obesity is very favorable," Aminian said. "There's significant weight loss, diabetes improvement or remission, and a relatively low complication and mortality rate. In addition, earlier intervention with metabolic surgery may eliminate the need for some later higher-risk procedures to treat cardiovascular complications of diabetes."

Source: American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery

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