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18 October 2004

Obesity ops tied to nerve damage

An unusually high number of patients who undergo surgery to stem obesity are suffering from nerve damage, according to a new study.

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An unusually high number of patients who undergo surgery to stem obesity are suffering from nerve damage, according to a new study.

The complications probably result from malnutrition, because the surgery involves making the stomach smaller and thus less able to absorb nutrients, the BBC reported.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic, reporting in the latest issue of the journal Neurology, found that 16 percent of 435 patients who had stomach stapling or gastric bypass surgery developed peripheral neuropathy. Their symptoms ranged from a tingling in a feet to pain and weakness that left them confined to wheelchairs, according to the BBC account.

The problems can be avoided, however: Those who entered nutritional programmes both before and after the operation were less likely to experience the complication.

"I'm not saying that people shouldn't have this surgery, but I am saying that there are real potential complications," Dr Jim Dyck, one of the researchers, told the news service. "This is a life-changing operation. It's like having transplant surgery - you need long-term follow-up." – (HealthDayNews)

 
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