“I can’t say we welcome this data,” Lars Sjöström at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg told trade journal Dagens Medicin, claiming the study, that included data from more than 2,000 patients, was the first of its kind.
The results were discouraging when it came to obese patients who had already developed diabetes at the time they went in for surgery.
“Once again, this shows how important it is to perform the operation at an early stage,” said Sjöström, who presented parts of the Swedish Obesity Study (SOS) at the European Diabetes Conference in Barcelona last week.
“Don’t wait ten years!” he added.
The data showed that in the near-term, the operation lowered obese patients’ likelihood of suffering from diabetes. Yet when revisiting the patients 15 to 20 years later, seven out of ten had reverted to diabetes.
There were, however, other benefits to having bariatric surgery. Patients were less likely to have heart attacks and strokes, and both eyes and kidneys were similarly protected, the study showed.
Sjöstrom emphasized that Sweden’s current use of the Body Mass Index (BMI), which compares height to weight, was in his view completely pointless.
“Society must develop new criteria for whom we operate on, and it should be based on metabolism instead,” he told Dagens Medecin.