While once considered a high risk procedure, laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery in patients with type 2 diabetes is now no riskier than some of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in America–including appendectomy, gallbladder surgery, and total knee replacement, according to a new study. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute reported that the procedure carries a complication and mortality rate similar to commonly performed procedures. For example, they found that the 30-day complication rate associated gastric bypass was 3.4%, which is about the same rate as gallbladder surgery and hysterectomy. The 30-day mortality rate was 0.30%, about that of total knee replacement, and about one-tenth the risk of death after cardiovascular surgery.
Metabolic improvements have been observed in gastric bypass patients with type 2 diabetes just hours after surgery, before weight loss has even occurred. For this reason, weight loss surgery has been shown to be an exceptionally beneficial treatment for people struggling with both obesity and diabetes. However, the perception has been that gastric bypass is a very risky operation. Study co-author Ali Aminian, MD, Clinical Scholar of Advanced Metabolic and Diabetes Surgery at Cleveland Clinic said “the reality is, it is as safe, if not safer, than many of the most commonly performed surgeries in America. The risk-to-benefit ratio of gastric bypass for diabetes and obesity is very favorable.” You can read more about the effectiveness of bariatric surgery in patients with diabetes here.