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Rare Neurological Complications After Sleeve Gastrectomy



Bariatric surgery is considered to be the most effective treatment of morbid obesity and improvement of obesity-related comorbidities, such as type II diabetes. However, both peripheral and central neurological complications can occur after bariatric surgery. Such complications tend to occur more frequently after bypass surgery than after sleeve gastrectomy (SG). The objective of this study was to identify the patients that presented post-operative neurological complications after undergoing SG and describe the incidence, presentation, and management of these complications.


This was a retrospective study of 592 cases of SG performed between 2009 and 2014 with a special focus on patients who presented neurological complications.


Of the 592 SG cases, only seven (1.18 %) patients presented neurological complications. All patients had uneventful post-operative course, but all reported feeding difficulties, accompanied by severe dysphagia, and rapid weight loss, with a mean weight loss of 35 kg (30–40 kg) 3 months after SG. All patients were readmitted owing to neurological symptoms that included paresthesia, abolition of deep tendon reflexes of the lower limbs, muscle pain, and motor and sensitive deficits in some cases. There were two cases of Wernicke’s encephalopathy. All patients were treated for neuropathy secondary to vitamin B1 deficiency and had a significant improvement and/or resolution of their symptoms.


Neurological complications after SG are rare and are often preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms, rapid weight loss, and lack of post-operative vitamin supplementation. Re-hospitalization and multidisciplinary team management are crucial to establish the diagnosis and initiate treatment.

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Correspondence to Malek Tabbara.

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Tabbara, M., Carandina, S., Bossi, M. et al. Rare Neurological Complications After Sleeve Gastrectomy. OBES SURG 26, 2843–2848 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-016-2227-8

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  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy