Loss of nutrients following gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls

Oct 03, 2010

An increasing number of obese adolescents, particularly females, are undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Yet a case study presented Sunday, Oct. 3, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco, highlights the possible link between gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls and an increased risk for neural tube defects, which can lead to varying degrees of disability such as paralysis and mental retardation due to damage to the nervous system, in their future children.

Neural tube defects in the brain and can be due to nutritional deficiencies. The report, ": An Unforseen Consequence of Gastric Bypass Surgery in Young Female Patients?" reviewed the case of a young patient who had undergone gastric bypass surgery prior to becoming pregnant. She presented to the Fetal Treatment Center at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital to discuss the possibility of fetal surgery as her fetus had spina bifida. A literature review found six additional documented cases of children born with neural tube defects thought to be due to maternal nutritional deficiencies, particularly malabsorption (when the body cannot absorb nutrients), following bypass surgery.

It is well documented that gastric bypass surgery leads to malabsorption causing multiple nutritional deficiencies, including folate (folic acid), which is a key element in the prevention of neural tube defects. Although daily folate replacement can reverse this deficiency, adolescents often don't comply with medication regimens.

This situation is especially critical because who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are at an increased risk of unintended pregnancies.

"We postulate that the malabsorption of folate, poor compliance with nutritional supplements and a higher risk of unintended pregnancies places young women at an increased risk for pregnancies complicated with neural tube defects," said senior study author Diana L. Farmer, MD.

"Although obesity is epidemic in this country, we believe non-reversible gastric bypass surgery should be avoided in adolescent women given the potential increased risk of fetal neural tube defects," Farmer said. "If gastric bypass is performed on an adolescent female, great efforts must be made to minimize the risks of both unintended pregnancies and nutritional deficiencies. This should include extensive pre-surgery counseling and frequent post-operative follow-up, as well as consideration of highly efficacious contraceptives such as an intra-uterine device."

Explore further: Chikungunya fever identified in the United States

Provided by American Academy of Pediatrics

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gastric bypass surgery increases risk of kidney stones

Mar 10, 2010

March 11, 2010 - Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery experience changes in their urine composition that increase their risk of developing kidney stones, research from UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators suggests.

Questions remain on bariatric surgery for adolescents

Feb 09, 2010

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery can effectively treat obesity in adolescents and seems to offer a better alternative than gastric bypass surgery, but further study is needed to determine whether it's better ...

Be Aware of Blood Sugar Post Gastric Bypass

Jan 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- People with type 2 diabetes who have gastric bypass surgery often leave the hospital without the need for previously prescribed diabetes medications.

841-pound woman dies of heart attack

Mar 06, 2007

The woman who is believed to be the largest ever to have gastric bypass surgery, at 841 pounds, died of a massive heart attack in Houston, Texas.

Recommended for you

Chikungunya fever identified in the United States

1 hour ago

(HealthDay)—Chikungunya fever is being seen in travelers returning to the United States from affected regions and should be considered as a diagnosis for febrile travelers, according to an ideas and opinions ...

Boost in quest for TB breath test

3 hours ago

A simple breath test may one day show whether someone has a strain of tuberculosis that will respond to a frontline antibiotic, or a drug-resistant type, scientists said Tuesday.

Three more dead from Legionnaire's disease in Spain

4 hours ago

Three more people have died from Legionnaire's disease in Catalonia in northeastern Spain, officials said Tuesday, bringing to seven the death toll from the lung infection in the region in just over a week.

User comments : 0