In this report, we present a case of acquired copper deficiency which initially presented as progressive pain and numbness in the patient’s lower extremities. The acquired copper deficiency is attributed to a previous bariatric surgery exacerbated by zinc toxicity. A 42-year-old female with a past medical history of type 2 diabetes mellitus, anemia, hypertension, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, pulmonary embolus, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and chronic pain as well as a remote past surgical history of gastric bypass procedure presented with progressive pain and numbness in her lower extremities. The patient reported chronic use of zinc supplements. Clinical evaluation revealed abnormal neurologic exam consistent with a myeloneuropathy and anemia. A cervical spine MRI showed increased signal intensity primarily affecting the posterior columns from C2-C6. Laboratory studies confirmed low copper, low ceruloplasmin, and elevated zinc levels. This case is an example of acquired copper deficiency due to previous bariatric surgery exacerbated by zinc ingestion. With an increased prevalence of bariatric surgery, it is important to monitor patients postoperatively for neurologic symptoms potentially due to copper deficiency.
Copyright© South Dakota State Medical Association.

References

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