How Is A Duodenal Switch And How Effective Is It In The Treatment Of Type 2 Diabetes?

If you have Type 2 diabetes, you understand the fear that comes with it. Complications from diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness and amputation. People with diabetes are at risk for other chronic illnesses, as well, such as heart disease. They top the list for degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease, too, according to Mayo Clinic.

Managing diabetes is time-consuming, costly and, often, fails. The duodenal switch procedure is a cutting-edge treatment option for those with type 2 diabetes. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows this surgical procedure helps resolve diabetes in 99 percent of the trial cases. If you have type 2 diabetes, it's time to learn more about the duodenal switch.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that changes the way your body handles glucose, the primary source of cell energy. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. If you think of cells as having a locked door, insulin is the key that opens it. Once open, the cell can pull in glucose, or sugar, and use it for energy.

For people with type 2 diabetes, the key no longer fits the door or there is no key available at all. The cells cannot utilize glucose efficiently, so it builds up in the blood. 

How does Duodenal Switch for Diabetes Work?

The duodenal switch procedure, or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, is a weight loss aid that involves alteration of both the stomach and intestines, explains Sutter Health.  The duodenal switch surgeons resect the intestines to separate food from the digestive juices to reduce absorption. The result is less calories ingested and better management of blood sugar.

This approach has proven effective in fighting diabetes. In a 2011 study, only three of the 13 insulin-dependant patients required injections of the hormone after surgery. After one year, none of the patient participating in the study required insulin or oral antidiabetic drugs to manage their condition.

What are the Other Benefits of the Duodenal Switch Procedure?

Duodenal Switch for diabetes is an effective approach to managing sugar absorption and processing, but that is not the only benefit. This surgical treatment reduces incidents of other chronic diseases, as well, such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hyplipidemia

Many of these conditions are comorbid, or occur at the same time, as type 2 diabetes. In is the combination of comorbid conditions that lead to complications and death.

Are There Drawbacks to Getting Duodenal Switch Surgery?

There are risks associated with any surgery. For this procedure, the biggest complication is vitamin deficiency. The body doesn't absorb nutrients that same way, so the duodenal switch surgeons may prescribe multivitamin supplements to improve your daily intake.

Gallstones are a complication of rapid weight loss, so the surgeons may opt to remove the gallbladder to reduce that risk, as well

The duodenal switch procedure is a form Bariatric surgery much like gastric bypass, but because the pyloric valve that links the stomach and intestine remains intact, patients don't experience some of the less pleasant complications associated with weight loss surgery. For example, you won't have to deal with gastric dumping after duodenal switch surgery.

By resecting the stomach, the surgeons also reduce the hormone production that causes hunger. This means a more comfortable recovery.

The procedure itself takes about four hours and you can expect to be in the hospital for a few days. If you have diabetes, or are at risk because of obesity, the insurance company might cover this procedure to improve your quality of life and reduce the chances of expensive complications. Why not ask your doctor or a place like Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas if duodenal switch surgery is right for you?