"Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 64 percent of adult Americans are overweight or obese. As more people elect to have bariatric surgery for morbid obesity, it's important to monitor our experience with these surgeries and make them as safe as possible," said Dr. Dyck, associate professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. "We found that people were at risk for neurological complications (peripheral neuropathy or PN) following bariatric surgery. Nutritional support before and after surgery seems to a key factor in determining whether people had PN complications."
"Diseases of the peripheral nervous system, PN, can be focal, like carpal tunnel syndrome which affects fingers and hands; or more generalized, causing wide spread pain or weakness," Dr. Dyck said. "The peripheral nerves are the 'wires' that go throughout the body and conduct motor and sensory information."
Dr. Dyck spoke today at an American Medical Association's 23rd Annual Science Reporters Conference in Washington D.C.
In the study, the charts of 435 people who had one of two types of bariatric surgery approved for treatment of the morbidly obese by the NIH (gastric bypass and 'stomach stapling') were compared with the charts of 123 obese patients who had gall bladder surgery to determine whether bariatric surgery or abdominal surgery in general was associated with PN. All patients were obese, and were compared on indices including age, gender, rate of weight loss, degree of
Contact: Lisa Lucier
American Medical Association