Strathfield Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


Bariatric surgery changing diabetics lives

Jul 13, 2020

Weight loss surgery is proving successful in reversing infertility, sleep apnoea and other comorbidities typically associated with Type 2 Diabetes, according to Strathfield Private Hospital bariatric surgeon Dr David Martin.

With National Diabetes Week falling this month (July 13 – 20), Dr Martin said it was timely to  raise awareness amongst the medical profession and patients alike that bariatric surgery is not solely about cosmetic results. 

An analysis of his surgical research database reveals Type 2 Diabetes was reversed in 90 per cent of patients who underwent a gastric bypass and 65 per cent of patients who had a sleeve gastrectomy.

“There is no doubt that bariatric surgery is highly successful for weight loss, and whilst the aesthetic benefits can be important for many patients, there are significant health benefits, including the treatment and prevention of  Type 2 Diabetes, as well as other diseases such as sleep apnoea, cardiac disease and even cancer” he said. 

Significantly, more than 500,000 Australians are estimated to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes which can lead in the long term to peripheral nerve damage, eye disease, renal failure and loss of limbs. There is also a significant increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke.

“If we can remove obesity from the equation, we go a long way toward improving quality of life and longevity.”

He said there was growing recognition across the medical sector that obesity was a complex problem that required more than simply telling people to eat less and exercise more.

“We live in an obesogenic society but, despite this, humans are not always kind,” he said.

“Obesity isn’t something people actively choose to live with and carries with it an increased risk of metabolic and biomechanical diseases as well as mental health issues such as depression.

“The people we see, usually have trialled numerous diets, and often pharmaceuticals, for years. Sometimes they lose a lot of weight with these methods, but the vast majority, unfortunately, due to the nature of the disease and the environment we live in, end up putting it all back on.

“That’s why we work with a team of professionals, including a dietician, psychologist and lifestyle experts to deliver a sustainable lifestyle program to put our patients in the best possible position to achieve successful and safe results.”

Strathfield Private Hospital Chief Executive Officer Rowann O’Mullane said obesity was a serious public health issue that negatively impacted patients’ personal lives and cost the health system billions of dollars each year.

“We are really proud to have leading surgeons like Dr Martin working with us – they are changing people’s lives in a very powerful way,” Ms O’Mullane said.

She said there had been a 20 per cent annual increase in the number of bariatric surgeries in recent years at Strathfield with a 100 per cent rise in patients since the hospital first started providing the treatment.

“Strathfield Private Hospital had been servicing the community of Sydney’s inner west for more than 30 years and had seen an increase in the uptake of bariatric surgery as a sustainable weight loss solution for obesity,” she said.

Dr Martin said health improvements varied depending on the type of bariatric surgery used.

“The outcomes for reversing Type 2 Diabetes, whilst strongly driven by weight loss, does differ with the type of operation because food is processed in slightly different ways post-surgery, therefore producing different hormones,” he said.

“Regardless of the type of bariatric surgery, the results in terms of reversing or improving diabetes is significant.”

An Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon and Chair of the Sydney Upper GI Surgical Society, Dr Martin runs regular live operating and technical courses and conferences for specialist surgeons. 

He will be hosting a live Zoom seminar alongside dietitian Simone Launt-Peters for GPs and people interested in learning about the benefits of bariatric surgery on August 13 at 6.30pm. People can register at

The session is suitable for those who would like more information on how bariatric surgery can assist in resolving health issues and living with bariatric operations.

“It will delve into the physiological reasons behind why people struggle with weight management, who is suitable for bariatric surgery and the multidisciplinary support available,” Dr Martin said.