Weight-Loss Surgery Should be a Standard of Care to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

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Weight-Loss Surgery Should be a Standard of Care to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 11, 2017) – More than 20 years after evidence was reported by East Carolina University surgeon, Dr. Walter Pories, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care, recognized that bariatric surgery should be considered a standard of care in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 11, 2017) – More than 20 years after evidence was reported by East Carolina University surgeon, Dr. Walter Pories, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care, recognized that bariatric surgery should be considered a standard of care in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 

“The thought was always that diabetes was an incurable, progressive disease, but with a fairly simple operation that takes about an hour, you can cure it,” said Pories, the founding chair of the Department of Surgery at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. “We found that diabetes disappears completely between two to four days after surgery.” 

In eastern North Carolina 11 percent of the population suffers from diabetes, surpassing state and national averages. According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.4 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and being overweight raises the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and having a stroke. 

Beginning in 1980, the outcomes of 837 patients who had weight-loss surgery at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, now Vidant Medical Center, were meticulously recorded and studied by a group of ECU physicians led by Pories. In 1995, he was the first to report hard evidence that diabetes was no longer a hopeless disease, but could be reversed by bariatric – or weight-loss – surgery. 

“It was met with resistance and disbelief, especially when it became apparent that the ‘Greenville Gastric Bypass’ operation pioneered by Pories also reversed hypertension, decreased the prevalence of cancer, and improved other health issues,” said Dr. Betsy Tuttle-Newhall, current chair of ECU’s Department of Surgery. 

The original (1995) abstract shows results indicating that in addition to controlling weight and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), gastric bypass also corrected or alleviated a number of other comorbidities of obesity, including hypertension, sleep apnea, cardiopulmonary failure, arthritis, and infertility. Gastric bypass is now established as an effective and safe therapy for morbid obesity and its associated morbidities. No other therapy has produced such durable and complete control of diabetes mellitus. 

Pories, 87, is still on faculty at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine where he is actively involved in diabetes research and serves as a professor of surgery, biochemistry and kinesiology. He was recently honored as an “Icon in American Surgery” by the American College of Surgeons for his extraordinary contribution to surgery, to medicine and to mankind. Pories is the first North Carolina surgeon to have received this honor.

Click here for the full Diabetes Care article and click here for the original 1995 abstract.

 


Contact: Amy Ellis, director of communication for the Brody School of Medicine,
ellisa14@ecu.edu or (252) 744-3764
 
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