Surgery Reverses Type 2 Diabetes in Teens

Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Surgery May Halt Diabetes in Obese Youths

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on December 29, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

Dec. 29, 2008 -- A popular type of weight loss surgery among adults may reverse the course of type 2 diabetes in extremely obese adolescents.

A small new study shows Roux-en-Y gastric bypass weight loss surgery halted the use of medications for type 2 diabetes in 10 out of 11 obese adolescents treated with the procedure. And the surgery reduced their risk factors for heart disease.

"Although the long-term efficacy of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is not known, these findings suggest that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is an effective treatment option for the treatment of extremely obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes," write researcher Thomas H. Inge, MD, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and colleagues in Pediatrics.

Researchers say type 2 diabetes has traditionally been considered an adult disease. But with the rise of childhood obesity, the rate of type 2 diabetes among children has increased more than tenfold in the last two decades, from 3% to nearly half of all new pediatric diabetes cases.

Weight Loss Surgery for Diabetes

Previous studies have shown that weight loss surgery can prompt the remission of type 2 diabetes in adults, but this is the first to show that the treatment may have the same effect in adolescents.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common form of weight loss surgery.

In the study, researchers examined the effects of the gastric bypass surgery on 11 extremely obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes and numerous heart disease risk factors.

A year after the weight loss surgery, researchers found evidence of remission of type 2 diabetes in all but one of the patients.

Specifically, the average BMI (body mass index, a measure of obesity) was reduced by 34% and fasting blood glucose and insulin concentrations decreased by 41% and 81%, respectively. Improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, two major risk factors for heart disease, were also found.

In comparison, a group of 67 similarly obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes who were treated medically without surgery for one year did not lose weight and did not experience any beneficial drop in blood pressure or need for diabetes medication.

Show Sources


Inge, T. Pediatrics, January 2009; vol 123: 214-222.

News release, American Academy of Pediatrics.

© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info