Disorders of the Nervous System Arising out of Nutritional Insufficiency after Bariatric Surgery

Authors: Z. Kadaňka
Authors‘ workplace: Neurologická klinika LF MU a FN Brno
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2014; 77/110(4): 419-422
Category: Review Article

Podpořeno MZ ČR –  RVO (FNBr, 65269705).


In developed countries, nutritional deficiency only rarely causes polyneuropathy or other disorders of the nervous system. When it does occur, it appears in alcoholics or in the malnourished – people with long-term psychiatric disorders, with gastro-intestinal system disorders or on extreme diets. Paradoxically, certain initially obese patients may become malnourished. Pathological obesity is addressed in various ways, with the shared target of restricting food intake. Bariatric surgery is one of the options. However, such a profound diminution of nutrition may induce unpredictable imbalance or insufficiency in nutrients important for normal functioning of the nervous system. The number of bariatric operations is steadily increasing, both in the Czech Republic and elsewhere; in the USA, they already outnumbered cholecystectomies. Complications associated with bariatric surgery include polyneuropathy, plexopathy, radiculopathy, myelopathy, encephalopathy and optic neuropathy, all of which may appear both early as well as many years later. The aetiology of these disorders remains unclear, although vitamin insufficiency (thiamine, B12, E), copper deficiency and hypoglycaemia are often held responsible. However, many factors remain hidden and supplementation of the “missing” factors sometimes fails to affect the course of the disease. Damage to the immune system or inflammation may contribute to the aetiology. Weight loss, gastro-intestinal complaints, albumin and transferrin decrease and rehospitalisation for digestive symptoms are considered risk factors. Regular post-surgical monitoring in nutrition centres together with specific treatment of complications is recommended.

Key words:
bariatric surgery – nutritional insufficiency – polyneuropathy


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Paediatric neurology Neurosurgery Neurology

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Czech and Slovak Neurology and Neurosurgery

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