Gastric bypass: a risk factor for neural tube defects?

Case report

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✓ Gastric bypass surgery has become a safe and acceptable surgical weight loss treatment for individuals who suffer from morbid obesity. Patients who undergo this procedure are subject to vitamin deficiencies due to an iatrogenic malabsorptive state. Folate, a vitamin known for its role in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs), can be part of the deficiency spectrum resulting from this procedure. The authors describe the case of a woman who was nonadherent to multivitamin treatment after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Her lack of understanding and appreciation of the relationship between gastric bypass surgery, folate deficiency, and NTDs may have contributed to her noncompliance with daily multivitamin consumption. As a result, her potential problems with folate absorption could have contributed to her subsequently giving birth to a child with a myelomeningocele. Thus, patient awareness and counseling along with aggressive vitamin supplementation among this particular population may help prevent the occurrence of NTDs after gastric bypass surgery.

Abbreviation used in this paper: NTD = neural tube defect.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: Charles C. Duncan, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, TMP4 Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510. email: charles.duncan@yale.edu.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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