The Center for Medical Weight Loss Reacts To New Weight Loss Surgery Study

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New findings cast additional doubt on effectiveness of bariatric surgery in the long-term reversal of diabetes.

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“It is misleading for anyone to think surgery alone will cure diabetes. Patients need to be aware of other safe and effective options” says Dr. Michael Kaplan.

A new study has found that gastric bypass surgery can reverse diabetes, but the disease returns in about 21 percent of patients within three to five years. The news comes as little surprise to The Center for Medical Weight Loss, which operates the largest network of non-surgical medical weight loss centers in the United States.

According to Dr. Michael S. Kaplan, Chief Medical Officer and founder of The Center for Medical Weight Loss (CMWL), the recent findings show that surgery is not always the best treatment option for diabetes. “It is misleading for anyone to think surgery alone will cure diabetes. Patients need to be aware of other safe and effective options”.    

In this latest study, researchers examining diabetes reoccurrence at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona looked at 72 people who had undergone a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure between 2000 and 2007. Patients who participated in the study received three years of follow-up visits to measure their progress, and all had Type 2 diabetes before their surgery. Sixty-six of the patients had a reversal of their diabetes after their surgery. However, diabetes returned in 14 (21 percent) of those 66 patients at some point during the five-year follow up.

This is the latest in a series of findings that question the effectiveness of bariatric surgery to treat diabetes. Two April 2012 studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that as many as 1 in 4 patients who underwent surgery did not have their Type 2 diabetes go into remission.

Kaplan recommends those with Type 2 diabetes enroll in a clinically-proven, non-surgical physician-led weight loss program first. This approach, as proven by CMWL, has been shown to help patients effectively manage obesity related conditions such as diabetes without the need for surgery and medication.In a recent study published in The American Journal of Medicine, patients enrolled in a CMWL physician-led weight loss program and not taking any weight loss medication lost 11 percent of their total body weight in 12 weeks. Considering that a 5 percent reduction in excess weight has been shown to dramatically improve control of Type 2 diabetes, following such a program could be just as effective in managing the disease as surgery.

According to Kaplan, bariatric surgery should only be recommended to patients whose Type 2 diabetes remains out of control after undergoing a physician-led weight loss program. “If patients reach this point they need to be made aware of the very real risks associated with surgery, including death, pulmonary embolism, wound infections, and nutritional deficiencies”.

The new study also found that the longer patients had diabetes previous to weight loss surgery, the higher the chance that it would return, irrespective of weight regain. This finding highlights the importance of treating – and preventing – the condition before it becomes unmanageable. “All doctors in the CMWL network are trained in managing the weight loss of patients with diabetes.

I have seen patient after patient successfully manage their diabetes through behavioral therapy, diet and exercise alone. It’s proven weight-loss model that cuts out the need for dangerous surgery and reduces the associated costs that place burden on our healthcare system”, explains Kaplan.

About Center for Medical Weight Loss
The Center for Medical Weight Loss (CMWL) programs provide an approach to long-term weight loss and maintenance under the care and support of trained physicians. Each fully individualized program is customized to the patient, taking into account his or her medical history, body composition, and personal goals. This individual care is supported with on-going one-on-one counseling by the physician on important topics including nutrition, fitness, behavioral modification, motivation, and, where necessary, prescribed medications. Physicians in The Center for Medical Weight Loss network are all certified professionals specially trained in non-surgical bariatric medicine who have access to the latest techniques and medical data, including high-quality nutritional products and FDA-approved weight loss medications only available to medical doctors. The CMWL programs are clinically proven and evidence-based. For more information, visit

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Marian Coletti
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