Bariatric surgery and microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Type Article

Journal Article


S. Jackson; C. W. le Roux; N. G. Docherty

Year of publication



Curr Atheroscler Rep








Metabolic dysregulation is the defining characteristic of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and can give rise to microvascular complications, specifically retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy. Pharmacological targeting of risk factors for microvascular complications can yield therapeutic gains, particularly in relation to retinopathy and nephropathy. Bariatric surgery is superior to intensified pharmacotherapy in relation to glycaemic control and can remediate dyslipidaemia and hypertension. Consequently, evidence of the effect of bariatric surgery on microvascular complications is now emerging in the literature. Examination of the recent published evidence base (covering the period 2011-2014) on the effects of bariatric surgery on microvascular complications reveals further evidence supportive of the efficacy of bariatric surgery in preventing the incidence and progression of albuminuria and arresting renal functional decline. Data on retinopathy are more ambivalent potentially representing the potential in some cases for a degree of surgery associated reactive hypoglycaemia to detract from the benefits of amelioration of hyperglycaemia. A significant gap in the literature remains in relation to the effects of surgery on diabetic neuropathy. Overall, there is a pressing need for prospective randomised controlled trials examining long-term microvascular outcomes following bariatric surgery in patients with T2DM.