Lee Memorial Weight Loss Surgery May be Used to Treat, Cure More Type 2 Diabetics

Diabetes Surgery Summit issues revised recommendations expanding scope of patients who could benefit from surgery.

Fort Myers, FL, January 21, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Recent research shows surgical weight loss procedures like gastric banding and gastric bypass can help more type 2 diabetics manage, and potentially cure, their disease. In a study reviewed by the Diabetes Surgery Summit Consensus Conference, weight loss surgery was shown to help type 2 diabetics with a body mass index, also called BMI, of 30 or more control their disease. Surgery was previously recommended as an option to treat only those with a BMI of 35 or higher. The summit revised its recommendations for surgical treatment to include suitable candidates with a BMI between 30 and 35.

How big is this difference? About 30 pounds in a person standing 5 feet, 5 inches tall. For a person suffering with type 2 diabetes, though, the difference may be between a life spent taking medications and dealing with diabetes-related afflictions or one of good health. Many diabetics take medication or insulin injections to help cope with their disease. They are also at higher risk of eye complications such as glaucoma, foot numbness, heart disease, high blood pressure and skin infections.

“Recognizing bariatric surgery as a reasonable treatment for more type 2 diabetics is important, because it will improve their access to the surgery,” says Moses Shieh, D.O., FACOS, director of Lee Memorial Health System’s bariatric center. “Many patients feel strongly enough about the surgery to pay the cost out of their own pockets if need be. Having the surgeries recognized as a reasonable treatment may encourage insurance companies to cover the costs for more patients. It definitely opens the door for more patients to be considered for bariatric surgery.

“However,” Dr. Shieh continues, “the key to success will still be the patient’s self-discipline and willingness to make permanent lifestyle changes such as eating the right amounts of the right foods and exercising. We encourage patients in Lee Memorial Health System’s program to attend support groups and educational sessions, and to schedule follow up appointments to check their progress for at least one year following surgery.”

An Australian study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 found that 73 percent of type 2 diabetics with BMIs between 30 and 40 were cured of the disease after receiving an adjustable gastric band. Just 13 percent of patients in the study achieved the same result with conventional therapies. Body mass index can be calculated by multiplying a person’s weight by 703, dividing the result by his height in inches, and then dividing the result again by the height in inches.

“When it comes to diabetic patients, bariatric surgery is really about more than weight loss,” Dr. Shieh says. “Their feelings of hunger and the foods they eat change, too. With some procedures, the hormone that triggers hunger is also reduced. For diabetics, these cause chemical changes in their body that can help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.” Some doctors suggest that this regulation can begin even before the pounds melt off. Bariatric procedures may also help prevent cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea.

People interested in learning more about Lee Memorial Health System’s bariatric surgery offerings and program can do so online at www.TheBariatricCenter.org or call 239-343-9966. Evening information sessions are also held at least once per month.

About Moses Shieh, D.O., FACOS
Moses Shieh, D.O., FACOS, is one of the area’s most experienced bariatric surgeons and was one of the first in the nation to perform the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. He earned his medical degree from Des Moines University in Iowa and completed his residency at Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center, an affiliate of Michigan State University. He completed fellowships in laparoscopic bariatric surgery with Northeast Surgical Group – Great Lakes Bariatric Treatment Center and in cosmetic surgery through the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. He is board certified in general surgery and board eligible in cosmetic surgery. More information on Dr. Shieh and Lee Memorial Health System’s bariatric program can be found online at www.TheBariatricCenter.org.

About Lee Memorial Health System
Open since 1916, Lee Memorial Health System is the fifth largest public health system in the United States and the largest community-owned health system in Southwest Florida. With more than 9,000 employees, LMHS is made up of four acute care hospitals and two specialty hospitals, as well as outpatient centers, walk-in medical centers and primary care physician offices. An award-winning health care system, LMHS provides regional programs, such as our Trauma Center and Children’s Hospital, which serve our community members from Tampa to Miami. Visit www.LeeMemorial.org for more information.

Lee Memorial Health System
Erika Houser
239 278 3900