The purpose of this study was to review the literature on the effectiveness of bariatric surgery for obese patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) with regard to both symptom resolution and resolution of visual deficits.
The published literature was reviewed using manual and electronic search techniques. Data from each relevant manuscript were gathered, analyzed, and compared. These included demographic data, pre- and postoperative symptoms, pre- and postoperative visual field deficits, bariatric procedure type, absolute weight loss, changes in body mass index, and changes in CSF opening pressure.
Eleven relevant publications (including 6 individual case reports) were found, reporting on a total of 62 patients. The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass was the most common bariatric procedure performed. Fifty-six (92%) of 61 patients with recorded postoperative clinical history had resolution of their presenting IIH symptoms following bariatric surgery. Thirty-four (97%) of 35 patients who had undergone pre- and postoperative funduscopy were found to have resolution of papilledema postoperatively. Eleven (92%) of 12 patients who had undergone pre- and postoperative formal visual field testing had complete or nearly complete resolution of visual field deficits, and the remaining patient had stabilization of previously progressive vision loss. In 13 patients both pre- and postoperative CSF pressures were recorded, with an average postoperative pressure decrease of 254 mm H2O. Changes in weight loss and body mass index varied depending on the reported postoperative follow-up interval.
The published Class IV evidence suggests that bariatric surgery may be an effective treatment for IIH in obese patients, both in terms of symptom resolution and visual outcome. Prospective, controlled studies are necessary for better elucidation of its role.