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Four patients needed a second surgery within a year but none did after that. Out-of-control diabetes has complications, too — many patients lose limbs or wind up on dialysis when their kidneys fail, and some need transplants.
An obesity surgery equipment company sponsored the study, and some of the researchers are paid consultants; the federal government also gave grant support.
Dr. Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, said he was "very encouraged" that so many stayed in the study, and said it will remain important to follow participants longer, because many people who have weight-loss surgery regain substantial weight down the road.
"Any way you lose weight is beneficial" for curbing diabetes, he said, but "we need to be concerned about the cost and complications" of treatments. Diets cost less and have fewer side effects, Ratner said.
One other common type of obesity surgery, stomach banding, was not part of this study. Its use has declined in recent years as other types of surgery have shown long-term benefits for keeping weight off.
Surgery explainer: http://1.usa.gov/1gHoOX4
Weight loss info: http://1.usa.gov/1gTBk6Q
Diabetes info: http://www.diabetes.org
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP
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