Wernicke-korsakoff encephalopathy and polyneuropathy after gastroplasty for morbid obesity: report of a case

Arch Neurol. 2000 Sep;57(9):1356-9. doi: 10.1001/archneur.57.9.1356.


Background: Gastric partitioning is a surgical procedure for the treatment of morbid obesity that may engender neurological complications, such as Wernicke encephalopathy and polyneuropathy.

Setting: A specialist hospital.

Patient: A 36-year-old woman developed Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy and polyneuropathy 3 months after gastroplasty for morbid obesity. A magnetic resonance scan documented the diagnosis, and a clear improvement occurred after parenteral thiamine treatment. In our patient and in previously described cases of the literature, postsurgical vomiting is a constant finding that seems to be the precipitating factor of neurological complications of gastric partitioning.

Conclusion: Persistent vomiting after gastroplasty for morbid obesity should be considered an alarming symptom to treat immediately with appropriate measures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gastroplasty*
  • Humans
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*