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Wednesday 7 June 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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# metabolic surgery
Research shows surgery more effective at treating type 2 diabetes compared to regular insulin use
37% of patients who underwent the surgery achieved remission of their diabetes entirely.

NEW RESEARCH ON type 2 diabetes has found that surgery is a more effective and cheaper option than insulin for two-thirds of patients.

The Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IrSPEN) worked with the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society to analyse over 2,000 post-surgery outcomes of patients with obesity and diabetes requiring insulin.

According to Professor Helen Heneghan from St Vincent’s University Hospital, 67% of patients who underwent metabolic surgery no longer needed to use insulin one year after their surgery.

Alongside that, 37% of patients achieved remission of their diabetes entirely.

“This research now confirms metabolic surgery is also the most effective medical treatment for the majority of patients with more severe type 2 diabetes who use insulin,” said Professor Heneghan.

On average patients also lost around a quarter of their body weight and the improvements persisted for at least four years

The second arm of the study was surrounding the cost of diabetes. According to IrSPEN member Professor Carel le Roux, while surgery is more expensive in the short term it is less than the ongoing cost of medications.

“Although an operation costs €8,000, researchers found that this figure was less than the ongoing cost of medications,” said Professor le Roux.

With costs of treatment side-effects and any complications of diabetes were also considered, the average patient treated with surgery was expected to save the health system €4,000 over five years, while also living with better health outcomes.

One diabetes patient, Laurence Kelly, who required insulin injections for years, no longer needs them because of surgery.

“These findings show the benefits of the HSE making metabolic surgery more widely available to more public patients in Ireland. The surgery not only gave me significant improvement in my health, but is also cost-effective for the HSE within a short payback time,” said Kelly.

Both the Department of Health and the HSE have been contacted for comment, but none has been received as of publication.

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