Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery

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For more information, visit the Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery section of the Weill Cornell Department of Surgery web site.

With the section of Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery headed by Francesco Rubino, MD, a pioneer in the field of diabetes surgery, Weill Cornell has become the first academic medical center in U.S. and worldwide to offer a dedicated and highly specialized approach to surgical treatment of type 2 diabetes. Our program also offers comprehensive treatment approaches to a full range of metabolic diseases and conditions often associated to severe obesity, including hypertension, high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obstructive sleep apnea.

In recent years, it has become evident that the gastrointestinal tract and the small bowel in particular, play a critical role in the regulation of blood sugar levels, fat metabolism, and in the control of appetite and body weight. Therefore, changes in gastrointestinal anatomy imposed by operations commonly used to treat morbid obesity (i.e. gastric bypass and biliopancreatic diversion) as well as by novel, emerging surgical techniques can influence diabetes and other metabolic disorders through direct mechanisms and not only by inducing weight loss.

In patients with severe obesity, metabolic surgery dramatically improves diabetes, often resulting in normalization of blood glucose levels and discontinuation of insulin therapy or oral hypoglycemic agents. Such remission of diabetes is unprecedented in the history of a disease that has always been considered chronic and irreversible.

An international consensus conference, the Diabetes Surgery Summit, was held in Rome, Italy on March 2007. In this historical scientific event, a multidisciplinary team of world experts in endocrinology and gastrointestinal physiology recognized that metabolic surgery could represent a valid alternative option for selected patients with diabetes.

Metabolic surgery is now being offered at Weill Cornell to intentionally treat diabetes in patients with severe obesity.

The section of GI Metabolic Surgery is also a leading international Center for clinical investigations on the potential use of metabolic surgery to treat diabetes in patients who are not obese enough to qualify for bariatric surgery.

In addition to its effects on diabetes, metabolic surgery represents also new perspective in the treatment of severe obesity, with or without diabetes. Indeed, by tailoring the choice of gastrointestinal surgical procedures to the metabolic characteristics of individual patients, surgery can results in much more than just body weight loss, and improve life expectancy and quality of life of severely obese patients.

The section of Gastrointestinal Metabolic Surgery provides patients with a thorough, individualized plan to treat diabetes, obesity and other metabolic conditions by the use of minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopic gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, biliopancreatic diversion, sleeve gastrectomy as well as novel cutting edge procedures. Through small abdominal incisions, these approaches reduce postoperative pain, allow a quick recovery and return to normal daily activity, and improve appearance of abdominal scars.

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