Foot drop as a complication of weight loss after bariatric surgery: is it preventable?

Although rare, the relationship between peroneal nerve palsy and weight loss has been well documented over the last decades. Of the 160 patients operated for persisting foot drop in our institution, weight loss was considered to be the major contributing factor for 78 patients (43.5%).
We compared patients who developed a foot drop after bariatric surgery with a control group of patients who underwent bariatric surgery (gastric banding) but did not develop peroneal neuropathy.
9 patients developed foot drop after bariatric surgery. The mean weight loss for these patients was 45 kg. Weight reduction took place during a mean period of 8.6 months. Our control group consists of 10 patients. The mean weight loss of these patients was 43.8 kg, and the weight reduction took place during a mean period of 21.7 months.
In contrast to earlier studies, we demonstrated that significant weight loss is correlated with a higher risk to develop foot drop and that the time period in which the weight loss is achieved is important. A rapid reduction of body weight is correlated with a higher risk to develop foot drop.
AuthorsFrank J M Weyns, Frauke Beckers, Linda Vanormelingen, Marjan Vandersteen, Erik Niville
JournalObesity surgery (Obes Surg) Vol. 17 Issue 9 Pg. 1209-12 (Sep 2007) ISSN: 0960-8923 [Print] United States
PMID18074496 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery (adverse effects)
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peroneal Neuropathies (etiology, prevention & control)
  • Weight Loss

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