Bariatric surgery's benefits beyond weight loss

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

By: Jeff Ash

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Bariatric surgery does more than help people lose hundreds of pounds. It also may benefit those with chronic health conditions.


“There’s really no better treatment than bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Daniel T. McKenna, a surgeon with Aurora BayCare Bariatric Surgery.

Part of that, of course, is making diabetes easier to manage by losing weight. But there’s more, McKenna says.

“The rearrangement of anatomy in a diabetic after a gastric bypass accelerates how quickly their diabetes resolves. There’s some specific endocrine effect that will cause diabetes to go into remission within 24 to 48 hours after surgery,” he says.

Patients who have two or more chronic health conditions also may benefit from bariatric surgery, McKenna says.

“We see improvement in the things you would expect, like diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, reflux disease,” he says.

“But also, we see improvement in anything that’s related to inflammation. So even asthma, fibromyalgia, chronic joint pain improves substantially with bariatric surgery. That’s because the fat itself actually induces a lot of inflammation throughout the body. That, then, of course, goes away after bariatric surgery.”

However, McKenna says, bariatric surgery isn’t a cure-all.

“There’s a genetic component that won’t change,” he says, citing people who have family histories of high blood pressure as an example. “But taking the weight off will make it a little easier to manage. Also, when it comes to diabetes and other conditions, it depends on how long they’ve had it.”

You don’t need a referral to have bariatric surgery. We’ll coordinate your care with your doctor and your insurance company. To get started, call us for an appointment at 877-677-5384 or request an appointment online. To learn more, go to

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.