Bariatric Surgery & Diabetes 101

Can bariatric surgery help in remission of diabetes? It is highly likely. Weight loss surgery offers an extraordinary opportunity for patients with type 2 diabetes to improve their insulin production, in some cases, merely days after getting the procedure. If you have type 2 diabetes, you probably know by now the importance of losing weight in order to help your pancreas function and improve your insulin sensitivity. However, when losing weight through diet and exercise alone, it can take you years to improve your condition, and probably never with the level of effectiveness achieved through surgery. For some patients, losing weight by traditional means simply does not work. It can be a frustrating and a vicious cycle: patients are told to lose weight in order to manage their diabetes. They can’t lose weight and they cannot beat diabetes so they lose hope.

Now thanks to weight loss surgery, when combined with diet and exercise, most patients are finally able to lose weight effectively.  Bariatric surgery for diabetics is a total lifesaver, read along to discover why. Here at VIDA Bariatrics, helping patients beat obesity and obesity-related diseases is something we do on a daily basis, including diabetic patients. Let us tell you what bariatric surgery can do to the remission of diabetes.

The basics of Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes

The most popular types of bariatric or metabolic surgeries performed to help diabetics are:

Gastric Bypass: A procedure in which the bariatric surgeon separates the top part of the stomach, leaving you with a small stomach pouch and jumps or bypasses up to 3 meters of the intestine. This approach has a positive metabolic effect on patients!

Gastric Sleeve: One of the less invasive metabolic surgeries, your doctor will remove the majority of your stomach, leaving you with a small tubular stomach “sleeve” that restricts the amount of food you can consume.

Duodenal Switch:  one of the most common procedures for diabetic patients, during a duodenal switch the stretchable portion of the stomach is removed and around ¾ of the upper small intestine is bypassed. It’s similar to a combination of a Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass, offering a beneficial metabolic effect for patients.

Bariatric Surgery for Diabetes

How else can any of the bariatric surgeries help you cure diabetes? Besides leaving you with a smaller functional stomach, or a “stomach pouch”, metabolic surgeries dramatically decrease the appetite-inducing hormone, ghrelin. Feeling less hungry and being able to less food, combined with dietary changes, will lead to weight loss and make the manageability of type 2 diabetes more manageable. But what makes the surgical approach truly magnificent is that even before any weight loss happens, patients are going into diabetes remission merely days after bariatric surgery. How is this possible? Hint: the answer is not in your stomach!

With a Gastric Bypass and a Duodenal Switch, both procedures in which portions of the small intestine are bypassed, doctors observed that the small intestine increased its production of GLUT-1, a molecule that optimizes the use of glucose in our body. This has enabled some patients to stop taking medications days after leaving the hospital.

Another benefit of metabolic surgery is that by following a healthy diet, most patients will rapidly improve their metabolic profile, accelerating weight loss even more!


Am I a candidate to get bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes?

There are several things you have to check with your doctor in order to determine if weight loss surgery is the best approach to help you treat diabetes. While most doctors won’t perform surgery on patients with a BMI lower than 40, having an obesity-related disease such as type 2 diabetes changes things.

Diabetic patients who have struggled for a long time to lose weight and have a BMI of 35 or higher are considered candidates for metabolic surgery. Your doctor will also talk to you about the importance of changing your exercise and dietary habits. When considering metabolic surgery, you should keep in mind that following a pre-bariatric diet is required to prepare you for surgery. And in order to lose weight and keep it off, you also need to consider the commitment and adjustments you’ll need to make to your lifestyle habits after the surgery. Our VIDA Bariatrics surgeons always remind us that there are many factors to determine what is the best bariatric surgery for diabetes, including your commitment to changing your lifestyle.

Are you looking for an effective alternative to treat diabetes? Bariatric surgery could be for you! There are so many unrivaled benefits of bariatric surgery for diabetes, let us help you. If you want to determine if you could be a candidate for metabolic surgery to treat Type 2 diabetes, call us now at (619)610-1667.

Read our recent post on Gastric Bypass vs Mini Gastric Bypass

Gastric Sleeve vs Gastric Bypass Surgery


Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.