Healthier Weight
0800 313 4618
Call Mon-Fri 9-8, Sat-Sun 10-4

Weight loss surgery and type 2 diabetes

Diabetes can be resolved by weight loss surgery

Diabetes can be resolved by weight loss surgery


"I've lost 47lbs* and I'm not diabetic anymore" - Janet

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are the two greatest public health problems of the coming decades and there is a strong relationship between them. 

  • A woman with a BMI over 35kg/m2 is 93 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than a woman with a normal BMI
  • A man with a BMI over 35kg/m2 is 42 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than a man with a normal BMI1

The good news is that in recent years, research has shown that weight loss surgery not only results in sustained weight loss, but also has an important beneficial effect on type 2 diabetes. Up to 30% of weight loss surgery patients are established diabetics with increased risk of kidney, eye and nerve complications. For many, weight loss surgery will cure their diabetes. 

The impact that weight loss surgery can have on your diabetes will depend on the operation that you choose. Eligibility for these procedures is based on a number of factors, including your BMI. 

Gastric Band: 40-75% resolution      More on the gastric band

Gastric Sleeve: 80-85% resolution      More on the gastric sleeve

Gastric Bypass: 80-85% resolution      More on the gastric bypass

*Weight loss surgery results and benefits differ for each individual. Results cannot be guaranteed

Call our specialist team on 0800 313 4618 for advice or complete the form above

In 2007, because of the dramatic impact of obesity surgery on type 2 diabetes, the highly respected American Society for Bariatric Surgery, changed its name to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). The Society’s president, Dr Kelvin Higa, put it succinctly: 

“Surgery for severe obesity goes way beyond weight loss. This surgery results in the complete remission or significant improvement of type II diabetes and other life-threatening diseases in most patients. The Society’s new name and mission reflect this.” 

Weight loss surgery and type 2 diabetes    

All surgical weight loss procedures have a beneficial impact on type 2 diabetes, though the mechanisms underlying these effects may be very different. The main operations and their effects on diabetes are discussed briefly below:

Gastric band

Most of the recent evidence shows that the gastric band will result in complete resolution of diabetes in approximately 40-75% of those undergoing gastric banding 2-4 . The probability of complete cure of the diabetes appears to be related to the length of time for which the patient has been diabetic. When the disease has been present for less than three years, there is a greater likelihood of a cure.

Most of the effect of the gastric band on diabetes is related to the amount of weight loss*; as weight loss improves with time, the impact on the diabetes also becomes more marked. In addition, a recent study showed the beneficial effects of the band on diabetes are sustained at 5-years follow-up4. 

Gastric bypass

Studies show that around 80-85% of gastric bypass patients will experience complete resolution of type 2 diabetes 1,3 . However, whereas with the gastric band the improvement is related to the amount of weight loss, the gastric bypass has a dramatic and almost immediate effect on type 2 diabetes, independent of weight loss. For example, some diabetic individuals will often stop their injections within 48-hours of the surgery – well before any significant weight loss occurs. It’s not entirely clear how this happens, but it appears to be related to changes in certain gut hormones – including ghrelin – which are involved in glucose regulation. Whatever the mechanism, the impact on diabetes is dramatic. 

Sleeve gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively new procedure, which is rapidly gaining popularity. The impact on type 2 diabetes is almost identical to that of gastric bypass, i.e. around 80-85% resolution5,6. Precisely how this happens is unclear, though as with gastric bypass it is likely to involve a range of gut hormones, including ghrelin. 


Biliopancreatic Diversion/Duodenal Switch is a major surgical weight loss procedure, usually reserved for those with a BMI of >60kg/m2. It’s impact on type 2 diabetes is greater than that of any other surgical procedure, leading to complete cure in around 95% of cases 1,3 . Unlike other weight loss procedures such as gastric bypass, BPD/DS is a true malabsorptive procedure, leading to substantial and sustained weight loss. However, without careful nutritional support, including vitamin and mineral supplementation, adverse effects such are anaemia, bone disease and nerve damage, can occur. Nevertheless, the impact of this procedure on type 2 diabetes is both dramatic and sustained. 


Weight loss surgery and Type 1 diabetes     

Compared with type 2 diabetes, surprisingly few studies have addressed the effect of weight loss surgery on type 1 diabetes. However, clinical experience suggests that even though a true cure is more difficult to achieve in type 1 diabetics, surgery invariably results in better diabetic control which would, in the longer term, reduce the risk of diabetic complications. 

One recently published study examined the effect of gastric bypass on three patients with established type I diabetes7.  All three patients experienced a remarkable improvement in their diabetic control, as well as in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These changes will undoubtedly reduce the risk of long-term complications from heart and other diabetes-associated diseases. 


1. Dixon.JB.  Obesity and Diabetes: The Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Type-2 Diabetes. World J Surg 2009; 33:2014-2021

2. Sultan S, Gupta D, Parikh M et al. Five-year outcomes of patients with type 2 diabetes who underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding.  Surg Obes Relat Dis 2010; 6: 373-6

3. Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E et al. Bariatric surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 2004; 292: 1724-1737

4. Dixon JB, O’Brien PE, Playfair J et al. Adjustable gastric banding and conventional therapy for type 2 diabetes : a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2009; 299: 316-323

5. Basso N, Casella G et al. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy asa first stage or definitive intent in 300 consecutive cases. Surg Endosc 2010; July [Epub ahead of print].

6. Abbatini F, Rizzello M, Cassalla G et al. Long-term effects of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric banding on type 2 diabetes. Surg Endosc 2010; 24: 1005-10 

7. Czupryniak L, Wiszniewski M, Szymanski D et al. Long-term results of gastric bypass surgery in morbidly obese type 1 diabetic patients. Obese Surg 2010; 20:506-8

For prices & finance options, get a quote online or call 0121 693 4488

*Weight loss surgery results and benefits differ for each individual. Results cannot be guaranteed

In partnership with
Registered with the Care Quality Commission and General Medical Council
*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.