Not long ago Terry Crews was so unwell that a round of golf was out of the question, but now he wants to regain his four handicap.

"Life was pretty ordinary," says the Melbourne engineer, who has had type 2 diabetes for 12 years and was gaining weight at a rapid rate.

By April this year, Mr Crews, 67, had reached 126kg and could no longer complete a round of golf, even with a cart.

"I needed my wife to put my shoes and socks on. I needed help to get out of bed."

Then he found out about a device called EndoBarrier, a 60cm plastic sleeve inserted into the small intestine to help people lose weight and get their insulin level under control.

So far, about 1000 patients around the world have had the procedure, with most reporting life-changing results.

Mr Crews says he stopped taking medication and injecting himself on the first day and has not looked back.

He has lost 20kg in body fat and managed to add 3kg of muscle.

The concept has taken many years to develop, says Professor John Dixon, head of obesity research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne.

"This is another tool that we can add to a pretty lean tool kit," he says.

He says the device helps stimulate hormones that suppress the appetite and cause insulin production.

The downside is that it costs the patient up to $10,000 and, under Australian medical approval regulations, must be removed after 12 months.

"But we see it as 12 months of opportunity for people to get their sugars under control, get their weight under control and adjust their lifestyle," says Professor Dixon.

The device is potentially a good option for people who have not been able to manage their diabetes or weight with lifestyle changes or medication, says Dr Harry Frydenberg, who performed the procedure on Mr Crews.

"There is a significant need for new therapies to help patients effectively manage their diabetes and prevent diabetes-related complications."

Mr Crews agrees.

"I am playing golf again. Before I developed diabetes I was a four handicap. I dropped to 22 and now I am back to 18.

"I reckon I can get back to four."

 

Advertisement