New York surgeons say that techniques from weight-loss surgery can be used to improve blood glucose levels and correct a major complication in people with diabetes.
New York-Presbyterian/Columbia may be the first to use sleeve gastrectomy-a surgical technique first developed for weight-loss surgery-in the treatment of gastroparesis, a diabetes-related condition in which the stomach is unable to empty its contents into the intestines.
When four patients with gastroparesis were unable to receive gastric pacemakers, doctors performed sleeve gastrectomy to see if it might help.
The technique, also known as a gastric sleeve or vertical or longitudinal gastrectomy, reduces the stomach to approximately 30 percent of its original size, explains Dr. Melissa Bagloo, who leads the gastroparesis program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia.
After surgery, two of the patients did very well right away, and the other two needed nutritional support for several months. "At six months after surgery, all four were eating and drinking and were no longer experiencing nausea or vomiting.
"For patients who faced the prospect of lifelong feeding tubes, the benefits of such a successful outcome cannot be overstated," says Dr. Bagloo.
Also, unlike implantation of a gastric pacemaker, sleeve gastrectomy leaves no foreign object in the body and does not require battery changes.
"We believe that laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy may be a less-invasive option that allows patients to eat normally and regain their quality of life," she added