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Gastric Bypass in Women
April 2003

Q. I see quite a few references to gastric bypass in women and a special need for increased nutritional monitoring. I also see warnings not to become pregnant between 6-24 months after the surgery is performed and an association between gastric bypass and neurological deficits in the mother and fetus/newborn. Why is this? In what way is gastric bypass related to neurological deficits?

A. Gastic bypass is a surgical procedure to treat severe obesity, usually considered when other measures have failed. There are a variety of surgical techniques for this.

Patients often do well with significant weight loss but careful follow-up and monitoring is needed. Nearly one-third of patients will develop a nutritional deficiency afterward as the normal digestive process has been significantly altered.

Patients will eat small portions several times per day rather than any large meals. Patients are advised to avoid pregnancy until weight loss has stabilized. An example of harm to the fetus would be failure of the spinal nerves to mature fully due to folic acid deficiency.

http://www.obesity.org/

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/nutrit.htm

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_home.htm

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/gastric/gastricsurgery.htm

MEDICAL ARTICLE (from a hospital library)

Balsiger BM, Murr MM, Poggio JL, Sarr MG. Bariatric surgery. Surgery for weight control in patients with morbid obesity. Med Clin North Am. 2000 Mar;84(2):477-89. Review.

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