Type 1 Diabetes

For Patients With Type 1 Diabetes, Bariatric Surgery May Help Treat Severe Obesity

A recent study found that bariatric surgery may be a viable treatment option for patients with type 1 diabetes.

The study, conducted by researchers at Geisinger Medical Center, was presented during the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 2021 Annual Meeting.

Obesity has become more prevalent in patients with type 1 diabetes in recent years, while dietary restrictions and medical management for obesity and type 1 diabetes have not shown a significant impact on health outcomes. 

In a retrospective chart review of data from 2002 to 2019 from the Geisinger health system, the researchers evaluated 4549 total bariatric surgeries. Of which, 38 patients were confirmed to have type 1 diabetes. 

The mean age of participants at baseline was 41 years, and 87% were women. The mean body mass index was 43 kg/m2, and the pre-surgery mean hemoglobin A1c level was 8.4%. 

The mean insulin requirements improved from 114 units prior to the operation to 60 units at 1 year after the operation and 60 units at 2 years after the operation. 66% of patients took more than one diabetic medication before the operation. That percentage fell to 53% of patients at 1 year after the operation, and 52% of patients at 2 years after the operation.

“This study demonstrated significant improvement in the insulin and the total number of diabetic medication requirements after bariatric surgery, suggesting that bariatric surgery may be a viable treatment [for] patients that have type I diabetes mellitus,” the researchers concluded. 

—Jessica Bard



Dessify B, Mekel G, Wood C, et al. Is there a role for bariatric surgery in patients with severe obesity in type 1 diabetes mellitus? Paper presented at: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 2021 Annual Meeting; June 10-12, 2021; Virtual.