Skip to main content
CNN.com CNN.com -- Health
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

Does roux-en-Y gastric bypass cure diabetes?

Asked by Rick Shetron, Troy, New York

Open quote
Close quote

"60 Minutes" had a story several months ago about a type of weight-loss surgery that seemed to also cure type 2 diabetes in many people. Has more research been done on this? Do you need the full bypass of about one-third of the small intestine or just the duodenum and jejunum? My weight problem came about with/after diabetes, not before.

Expert Bio Picture

Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi, Rick. I'm not a surgeon, so to answer your question more thoroughly, I consulted with a very well-respected bariatric surgeon in San Francisco, John Rabkin, M.D. He explained that the roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RGB) improves type 2 diabetes via at least three different mechanisms:

1. The surgery decreases caloric intake immediately after the procedure because food intake is restricted by the small volume of the created stomach pouch, which holds only 1 ounce. The decrease in food intake, particularly refined carbohydrates, which are not well-tolerated after this procedure, can help stabilize blood sugar levels and immediately improves control of diabetes.

2. The significant amount of weight loss that results from the surgery improves insulin resistance over time.

3. There are changes in hormones and caloric processing because the food ingested bypasses the segment of the small intestine closest to where it attaches to the stomach (the duodenum and proximal jejunum), but not quite as much as you mentioned (not one-third of the small intestine). Because of the anatomical changes resulting from the surgery, it appears that these hormonal changes are greater than would be seen with weight loss via diet and exercise, but no research has yet to compare the two directly and evaluate hormonal changes.

The overall outcome is complete resolution of type 2 diabetes in greater than 70 percent of patients with diabetes before the procedure.

Unfortunately, as many RGB patients regain weight over time, the durability of the cure isn't as high as with a newer procedure called the duodenal switch.

In this procedure, there is a much larger pouch created (4 to 5 ounces), and the complete stomach anatomy is preserved, which helps preserve more normal stomach function. In this procedure, the rearrangement of the intestines leads not only to some restriction of food, but also causes your body to absorb significantly fewer calories, which has a more lasting effect.

Rabkin, a leader in this procedure, reports that he has had a 96 percent cure of type 2 diabetes at one year after surgery, which has persisted for five and 10 years post -op and seems to be similarly durable out past 15 years post-op.

Hope this helps. I strongly recommend spending a considerable amount of time with your surgeon if you are considering either of these procedures, as both have important lifestyle-related issues that should be discussed to determine the best procedure for you for the long term.

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
Will jogging hurt an obese person's joints?asked by: Asked by John Simmet; St. Paul, Minnesota
Is creatine a safe supplement?asked by: Asked by Ralph; New York
What foods cause flatulence?asked by: Asked by Peter; United States
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.

Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.