MONDAY, April 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For individuals with class II/III obesity, bariatric surgery improves peripheral neuropathy (PN), according to a study published online March 14 in Diabetologia.

Evan L. Reynolds, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the effect of bariatric surgery on diabetes complications among individuals with class II/III obesity. Participants underwent metabolic phenotyping and diabetes complication assessments at baseline and two years following surgery. Seventy-nine of the 127 baseline participants completed in-person follow-up.

Participants lost a mean of 31.0 kg and had improvement in all metabolic risk factors apart from blood pressure and total cholesterol. The researchers found that one of the primary PN outcomes improved following bariatric surgery (intra-epidermal nerve fiber density proximal thigh: +3.4 ± 7.8), while cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) and retinopathy were stable. A greater reduction in fasting glucose was associated with improvements in retinopathy (mean deviation point estimate, −0.7).

“Our study demonstrates that bariatric surgery may be an effective approach to reverse PN in individuals with obesity, either through the direct impact of metabolic improvement, or other beneficial effects of bariatric surgery,” the authors write. “Given the natural history of worsening CAN and retinopathy, stability in these complications probably indicates a successful result; however, randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm these findings.”

Financial ties to Novo Nordisk and DynaMed were disclosed.

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