Gastric bypass surgery may reverse type 2 diabetes

Photo of an operating theatre

This systematic review in Archives of Surgery identified ten different studies that reported rates of type 2 diabetes reversal.  Patients undergoing bariatric surgery were found to have high rates of reversal.

However, the literature search was limited to PubMed, and only identified one randomised trial and eight observational studies.

The reviewers reported that:

  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass was associated with an 82% reversal rate of type 2 diabetes
  • Adjustable gastric banding was associated with a 62% reversal rate

Appraisal tips

Readers of this paper should consider:

  • Possible publication bias from a limited search strategy
  • Whether appropriate quality criteria were applied to the studies
  • Possible co-interventions and other confounders in individual studies
  • Duration of follow-up
  • Definition and monitoring of “reversal” outcomes.
  • Patients’ baseline characteristics.


Meijer RI, van Wagensveld BA, Siegert CE, Eringa EC, Serné EH, Smulders YM. Bariatric surgery as a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Arch Surg. 2011 Jun;146(6):744-50.

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I am an information scientist with an interest in making knowledge from systematic research more accessible to people who need it. This means you. I've been attempting this in the area of Evidence-Based Health Care since 1995. So far the results have been mixed. For some reason we expected busy clinicians to search databases and appraise papers instead of seeing patients. We also expected publishers to make the research freely available to the people who paid for it.. Ha! Hence The National Elf service.

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