Two new procedures could provide alternative to insulin injections for diabetics

Treatment to be introduced at Dubai hospital

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Two new day procedures will be offered to diabetics from December at King’s College London for the first time in the UAE, to reduce insulin medication dependence.

Doctors claim type two diabetic patients suitable for surgery will be offered an alternative to long term insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels.

The procedure, that is minimally invasive and can be done in a day with no need for an overnight stay, is an option for diabetics who have also adopted a healthy lifestyle.

“They are early stages, but we are hopeful this could help bring people off their diabetes medication altogether,” said medical director Dr Stuart Fraser, a vascular surgeon.

“It will give more metabolic control for patients, and has proven to be effective in the UK and America.”

Both techniques could revolutionise diabetes care in the UAE, and potentially make huge savings in the healthcare sector as surgical costs are substantially less than long term medication.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, the UAE has some of the highest diabetes rates in the world, with about one in five residents now living with the condition.

The procedure is an endoscopic surgery via the throat, to insert an intestinal sleeve, changing the way the body manages sugar and altering hormone dynamics.

A second procedure is where doctors insert a balloon into the top of the gut, heating part of the intestine. When tissue grows back it absorbs differently, changing the patient’s metabolic rate.

Both surgeries reduce the dependence of insulin, and whereas some patients will still require oral medication, the severity of the condition will be reduced so patients will no longer need full insulin.

Patient evaluations will begin in December to see if they are suitable for the treatment.

“These are both day procedures, and have not been done before in the UAE,” said Andy Phillips, formerly with Daman Insurance and now an independent medical consultant.

“Trials are ongoing and it has been FDA approved in the US and has been used effectively there.”