Weight-loss surgery: really the most radical treatment in a century?



I spend a lot of time highlighting the commercial forces that promote expensive medical interventions. So yesterday, when I read a lead author describe his new guidelines as “the most radical change in the treatment of type 2 diabetes for almost a century,” my first thought was, “why the hype?”

Francesco Rubino, who made this extraordinary claim in Nature, was describing not a new type of intervention, but a new consensus statement which argued we should be funding bariatric (weight-loss) surgery for more people, and at lower degrees of obesity. Yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald article gives further background.

Now, we all agree that bariatric surgery has its place, but what are we to make of this statement which potentially expands that place from a niche into a town square?

First, we can dismiss the hype: a bunch of experts recommending surgery does not constitute a radical change in treatment, much…

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