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Weight Loss Surgery Puts Diabetes Into Remission

Bariatric Procedures Beat Out Medication at Controlling Blood Sugar

Better Blood Sugar Control in Surgery Groups continued...

But surgery did have risks -- mainly bleeding, dehydration, and nausea. Fifteen of the 99 patients had side effects requiring hospitalization. No one died or had a life-threatening complication.

The study didn't compare costs, but surgery can run $20,000 to $30,000 and may not be covered by insurance, Schauer says. But medications can also add up. A person diagnosed at age 50 can expect to spend $172,000 on the condition -- that's equal to more than eight gastric bypass procedures, he says.

It's not year clear if lowering HbA1c levels to 6% or less translates to better heart health. "We would suspect it does, but it remains to be proven. More people have to be studied for longer periods of time," says Rick Nishimura, MD, a Mayo Clinic heart specialist and head of the ACC committee that chose which studies to highlight at the meeting.

People thinking about weight loss surgery should make sure to go to one of the approximate 500 hospitals that have been named "certified centers of excellence" by the American College of Surgeons or the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Schauer says.

The study was funded in part by Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., a maker of bariatric surgery instruments. Schauer has consulted for the company.

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