Bariatric surgery increasingly seen as an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes

Bariatric surgery was once thought of as a last-ditch effort to help morbidly obese individuals lose weight after more conventional methods have failed. However, the procedure is increasingly being seen as a way to help individuals with type 2 diabetes resolve their condition, and some experts believe that it should become the standard-of-care for people with the disease.

As part of this trend, the American Diabetes Association recently announced that it is providing $1 million in funding to support two separate studies into the benefits of bariatric surgery.

The procedure has been shown to prompt major metabolic improvements in individuals with type 2 diabetes, often in a very short amount of time. However, there are still some things that doctors do not completely understand.

For example, individuals who undergo the procedure occasionally see their diabetic symptoms clear up within a couple days. This often happens before a person loses any weight. While this is an important benefit of bariatric surgery, researchers would like to understand why it happens before they recommend the procedure for everyone with type 2 diabete.

Understanding this effect is one of the main points of the two studies. If they come to favorable conclusions, experts think the procedure could contribute to a lessening of the diabetes epidemic currently gripping the U.S.

"A growing body of clinical evidence strongly suggests that bariatric surgery is a potentially life-transforming procedure, drastically improving both the physical and mental well-being of patients, and in many cases, completely resolving diabetes and other obesity-related comorbidities," said Xavier P. Lefebvre, global vice president of clinical affairs at Covidien, one of the sponsors of the research.

A team of researchers from the New York Presbyterian Hospital recently stated that they consider bariatric surgery to be a cost-effective method of type 2 diabetes treatment. The reasoning behind this is that diabetes is very expensive to treat over a lifetime. One procedure - no matter how expensive it is - that ends a person's symptoms for good could save billions of dollars in the long-run.