HealthCheck

Doctors hopeful new surgery cures Type 2 diabetes

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A man whose life was severely limited by Type 2 diabetes took a chance on a possible cure. He had a new experimental surgery where doctors flipped his intestine. He's the second patient in the U.S. to have it done.

Ignacio Osorio no longer worries because of his severe and disabling Type 2 diabetes. It's gone.

"You can say I'm diabetes-free," Osorio said.

His wife, Adriana Osorio, used to carry all her husband's diabetes medicines in her purse.

"For me to see him now, healthy and free of all these medicines, it's amazing," she said.

Ignacio Osorio eats a healthy diet, but not a diabetic diet.

"I feel great. I feel 110 percent. Symptoms have all gone away," he said.

"I would consider him disease-free, cured," said Dr. Brad Snyder, the diabetes surgery lead investigator.

Here's what happened. In May, he had an experimental surgery where UT Health surgeons flipped his intestine. They took the ileum, which is at the end of the small intestine, and moved it to the top, next to his stomach. That causes the gut to produce more of GLP-1, which regulates blood sugar.

Ignacio Osorio is the second person in the U.S. to have this surgery. Maria Alonso, who was first, is diabetes-free too.

"If we have the results they did in Brazil, if we have 80 percent of Type 2 diabetics getting off their medications, we're going to affect millions of patients in this country," Dr. Snyder said.

The downsides? The minimally invasive surgery was painful, but Ignacio was back at work in five days. Insurance doesn't pay because it's experimental. It cost the Osorio family $13,000 for the surgery.

"I would rather pay for that surgery and have my husband than have to pay for a funeral," Adriana said.

Instead, every day is a good day for Ignacio since he saw our story on the diabetes study.

"You basically saved my life, hearing your story, hearing about this procedure done. I wouldn't be here today, so I want to personally thank you," Ignacio said.

The diabetes surgery study is taking more patients. For information, the call UTHealth/Memorial Hermann diabetes study at 713-486-1363.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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