Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery 

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Two Randomized Clinical Studies in The New England Journal of Medicine Support Far Greater Role for Bariatric Surgery in Treating Type 2 Diabetes

  • First head-to-head studies, published in NEJM, comparing bariatric surgery to medical therapy
  • Bariatric surgery superior to medical treatment producing remission, even before weight loss
  • More patients need access to this important option sooner

Two randomized clinical trials published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in obese and morbidly obese patients and suggest surgery should be considered sooner and more often for patients battling the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity.  These are the first head-to-head trials comparing surgery to medical treatment.

In the study conducted by Schauer et al1 from Cleveland Clinic, within one year, diabetes remission rates with bariatric surgery were about 40 percent (42% gastric bypass, 37% gastric sleeve) compared to about 12 percent for patients treated with the best pharmacotherapy available.  Patients had a body mass index (BMI) between 27 and 43.  In the two-year study conducted by Mingrone et al2 from Catholic University of Rome Italy and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, remission rates were about 85 percent for bariatric surgery (75% gastric bypass, 95% biliopancreatic diversion) and zero for medical therapy in patients with BMI greater than 35.  In the surgical groups, both weight loss and preoperative BMI were not predictors of diabetes control, which suggest that such surgical procedures may exert effects on diabetes that are independent of weight loss.

These ground breaking studies will have a major impact on the future of diabetes treatment as clinicians, patients, government officials and insurers absorb the data and its implications.  But while bariatric surgery proved more effective than medical therapy for type 2 diabetes, the real winner is patients, who may now gain greater access to a safe and proven treatment that has been denied too long to too many.

  1. Schauer PR, Kashyap SR, Wolski K, et al. Bariatric surgery versus intensive medical therapy in obese patients with diabetes. N Engl J Med 2012. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200225. 
  2. Mingrone G, Panunzi S, De Gaetano A, et al. Bariatric surgery versus conventional medical therapy for type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med 2012. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200111. 

New weight loss pill gets second look from FDA, stirring old fears

An independent panel of medical experts voted 20-2 to recommend FDA approval of the weight loss pill Qnexa. Agency officials will now deliberate and issue a final ruling later this year. The debate on the safety of such pills has raged for decades. For more context on the FDA's apprehensions, UTMB’s Dr. Russell LaForte takes readers through a number of disasters, starting in the late 19th century. This article appears on PBS NewsHour, Feb. 22, 2012. Read the full story here. 


Choose TO LOSE: The chronicles of a fat guy seeking to be skinny again

Galveston Daily News Mainland editor TJ Aulds writes about his weight loss success after gastric sleeve surgery on January 9, 2012 by Dr. Obos Ekhaese at The University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery. Read full story online…


Oct. 1: UTMB Galveston Wave Runners took a "Walk from Obesity"

The UTMB Galveston Wave Runners fielded a team at the 2011 Walk from Obesity Event, at Discovery Green in Houston on Saturday, Oct. 1. The Walk from Obesity is the only event that brings together those who are directly affected by obesity. Our team's participation in this event is key to raising funds and drawing attention to obesity and the need for treatment and prevention efforts. We thank you for your help surpassing our fundraising and participation goal!


Level 1a Reaccreditation
Galveston County Daily News 


The University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery has been granted full approval as a Level 1a Accredited Bariatric Center by the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network.


Battle of the bulge

KTRH-AM (740, Houston), July 16, 2010

Dr. Russell LaForte on KTRH News RadioThe Food and Drug Administration is considering approval of three drugs that fight obesity. Dr. Russell LaForte, with UTMB’s Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery, says these prescriptions will be far more effective than over-the-counter products. “Most of those don’t work very well, and most of what you see from them are placebo effects.” LaForte says that ultimately we won’t be able to take a pill to cure us of our own bad habits; diet and exercise are still part of the menu. “In the long run, drugs haven’t been shown to be more effective than behavioral treatment and diet treatment. They do have some benefit, but that benefit has almost always been less than the benefit of a healthy lifestyle.” 


Friendswood resident makes a complete life change

Friendswood resident Matt Flanagan has lost 245 pounds since 2006 with a combination of gastric banding surgery — a procedure that squeezes the stomach with a silicone band to reduce hunger and promote weight loss — and a lifestyle change that includes running marathons and competing in ironman events. Obesity is a complex disease, said Dr. Russell LaForte, medical director of UTMB’s Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery. It’s why surgery is considered a good starting point for many obese patients. “About 80 percent of those people who go on a diet are back at their original weight in two years,” LaForte said. “About 90 percent fail a diet and exercise and return to their original weight in five years. Now, those statistics are a bit one-sided because the numbers are from people who come to a doctor because diet and exercise aren’t working, but it’s why surgery can be the most effective option.”


News program highlights how bariatric surgery is saving lives

The Gastric Bypass Procedure was recently featured on 60 Minutes. The segment provides an exceptional look into how bariatric surgery is truly saving lives, is curing Type II Diabetes, is reducing high blood pressure, and in many instances is leading to patients going home with little to no dependence on prescription medicine after surgery. Imagine a day with a cure for diabetes and a reduction in dependency on medication treatment. Please view the story online.

Call for assistance day or night 409-772-2222

Make an informed decision. We offer complete care devoted to bariatric surgery. UTMB can help you achieve the success you desire.

Excellent care. Excellent results.
Medicare, Medicaid and Most Insurance Plans Accepted

If you have any questions or if we can help you in any way, please contact us at (832) 505-1500 or send us a message via this site. 

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