Follow-up of Nutritional and Metabolic Problems After Bariatric Surgery

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Over the next several years, the number of patients who will have had bariatric surgery for morbid obesity will reach close to a million. Several well-described nutritional problems such as B12 and iron deficiency will be noted in these patients. Many of these patients will be lost to the original surgeon and will now be in the care of the "other physicians." These and other mineral and vitamin problems will need to be screened and treated. If these problems are left undiagnosed, severe and irreparable problems can result. Early problems, such as vomiting and dumping syndrome, will be easily recognized and treated, but other long-term problems, such as changes in bone metabolism, will need to be monitored. Again, if some of these long-term problems are not addressed in a timely fashion, then eventual treatment becomes much more difficult. This commentary will cover the common as well newer problems that are now developing in the patient who has had bariatric surgery. Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery require medical follow-up for reasons that are often determined by the type of surgical procedure performed. The majority of this review will deal with patients who have had the standard Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which is a primarily restrictive procedure with a mild component of noncaloric malabsorption. At the end of this report, a short section will be devoted to the problems associated with the malabsorptive procedures.

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