Belly fat removal surgery study shows remarkable results for patients with Type 2 diabetes

Doctor describes procedure and its benefits

SAN ANTONIO – A partnership between UT Health San Antonio, University Health, and Texas Biomed is showing promising, if not remarkable, results from a new minimally invasive procedure aimed at improving the health of patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The first two patients both walked away from the new procedure with lower blood sugar numbers and other signs that it works well to attack the digestive dysfunction that causes diabetes.

Melissa Mata’s life was on a downward trend with low energy, high glucose readings and an increasing amount of medication to keep her healthy.

“My sugars were really out of control. They were in the high 200, 300, even 400s sometimes,” said Mata, 55, explaining her status before she signed up for mesenteric visceral lipectomy (MVL) with Dr. Richard Peterson, the chief of UT Health Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Peterson describes the procedure as a new way of treating Type 2 diabetes by dissolving the visceral fat that surrounds the intestine. The fat is removed with a special cannula from the abdomen, like liposuction but in a more specific and delicate area of the belly.

“Essentially, what that means is removing some of the extra fat stores that are in this organ of the mesentery,” Peterson said.

Peterson was brought in as Texas Biomed began its study of MVL in baboons with Type 2 diabetes.

“I didn’t really expect the results we saw in the baboons. And then I was, like, shocked because, like, this is way better than I thought. This is kind of amazing,” Peterson said, recounting how he felt after performing the first procedure on a human in November 2019.

The patient in his mid-30s saw results, even though the surgery was only at about 30% removal.

Mata’s surgery was just three weeks ago, and Peterson attempted to remove 60% of the fat in that organ.

“I took my sugar two hours after I had breakfast, and I was already at one or two. I’ve never even been at one or two,” she said.

Mata said she had lost seven pounds without trying and no longer craves sugar.

Peterson is looking for more patients to volunteer. More information on the study can be found on the Texas Diabetes Institute and University Health websites.

About the Author:

Ursula Pari has been a staple of television news in Texas at KSAT 12 News since 1996 and a veteran of broadcast journalism for more than 30 years.