Embryopathy Following Maternal Biliopancreatic Diversion: Is Bariatric Surgery Really Safe?

Roberta Onesimo, Francesco Proli, Chiara Leoni, Ilaria Contaldo, Annabella Salerni, Guido Conti, Marco Tartaglia, Giuseppe Zampino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pregnancy after bariatric surgery is usually considered safe. Recently, a few studies reported that bariatric surgery represents a risk factor for birth defects. A case series of six patients, born from women who had undergone biliopancreatic diversion, is reported. The clinical pattern was characterized by psychomotor development delay (100%), microphthalmia (83%), growth retardation (66%), hearing loss (66%), and variable facial dysmorphism. Based on the clinical profile and symptoms reported by women during pregnancy, a causal association between maternal chronic post-surgical malabsorption, congenital anomalies, and neonatal outcome is proposed, with vitamin A deficiency representing a major causing factor. Educational follow-up support, continuous clinical monitoring, and appropriate nutritional assessment appear to be crucial to reduce the potential risk of congenital malformations and child disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-450
Number of pages6
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Biliopancreatic diversion
  • Embryopathy
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity surgery safeness
  • Vitamin A deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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