Bariatric Surgery for Those Suffering from Type-2 Diabetes or GERD

Bariatric surgery is primarily a disease improvement and resolution procedure. In other words, weight loss is simply a secondary benefit. So, it is very important the decision to undergo bariatric surgery be predicated upon a patient’s unique medical circumstance, including the obesity related diseases from which they suffer. This is particularly important for those experiencing significant symptoms or advanced forms of certain diseases.

Two of the most common obesity related diseases we come across are type-2 diabetes and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Many people with obesity cope with these diseases for years and only seek treatment when they have developed into a full-fledged health crisis. For example, if left untreated, type-2 diabetes can lead to poor circulation, blindness, amputation of limbs and even death. GERD can cause erosion and permanent damage to the esophagus, difficulty swallowing and esophageal cancer, not to mention near constant discomfort.

For those who are considering bariatric surgery primarily for the improvement of type-2 diabetes and/or if they have GERD, there may be an ideal procedure – the gastric bypass. While every bariatric procedure can be effective in improving adult onset diabetes, the gastric bypass has been shown to change the composition of the bacteria in the gut, allowing the body to normalize insulin levels in the body and effectively fight diabetes. Many patients go into remission within days or weeks of surgery. For those suffering from GERD, gastric bypass is the only major bariatric procedure that improves or resolves reflux in most patients. The gastric sleeve and gastric band can cause or worsen GERD in some cases.

Gastric bypass however is not right for everyone and your bariatric surgeon may suggest another procedure based on your individual circumstance. This does not mean that you cannot improve or eliminate your diabetes or GERD. Indeed, as mentioned above, most bariatric procedures improve diabetes to some degree – simply by helping you lose weight. Also, there are a variety of separate minimally invasive surgical treatments for GERD that can be discussed with our team.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about whether bariatric surgery is right for you and develop an action plan to tackle your diabetes or GERD problem. Remember, to openly and honestly discuss your medical history so our team can most effectively analyze your unique situation and offer the best treatment plan for you.

Further Reading: GERD Q&A with Dr. Hannon

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