Afula hospital to study effects of bariatric surgery on less-than-obese diabetics

Currently, the surgery is provided by the health funds only for diabetics who are morbidly obese.

Overweight man [Illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Overweight man [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Although bariatric (stomach- shortening or tightening) surgery for some time has been known to improve and even cure type-2 diabetes and hypertension in the severely obese, surgeons are now considering the possibility it could do the same for those who are less or not at all overweight.
Dr. Nasser Sakran, a senior bariatric surgeon at Emek Medical Center in Afula and secretary of the Israeli Forum of Bariatric Surgery has launched the first Israeli study of its kind to determine whether this is true.
The national study, together with Hadassah University Medical Center diabetologist Prof. Itamar Raz, will examine whether diabetics with a body-mass index of less than 35 can significantly benefit from the operation.
It is believed that shortening or narrowing the stomach “fools” the metabolism into thinking the person is not diabetic.
Currently, the surgery is provided by the health funds only for diabetics who are morbidly obese.
Sakran said patients will be divided into three groups: one will continue to take only their diabetes medication as usual; the second will undergo an operation to insert a sleeve to reduce the stomach volume; and the third will have stomach- bypass surgery.
“We intend to follow up patients in the three groups for about a year and then process the data,” Sakran said. “We will decide whether medications are the answer or whether these patients should have bariatric surgery to improve or even cure their condition. Then, even improvement of 10 percent in their diabetes indices will turn bariatric surgery into an effective treatment.”
Sakran and Dr. Avraham Yishai of Emek’s diabetes clinic are seeking patients to take part in the study; suitable candidates are those who have had type-2 diabetes for several years, are taking medications, and are level-1 obesity with a BMI below 35.