Phrynoderma: a rare dermatologic complication of bariatric surgery

Julia Ocón, Carmen Cabrejas, Jara Altemir, Manuel Moros
JPEN. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2012, 36 (3): 361-4
Biliopancreatic diversion is a predominantly malabsorptive bariatric procedure that can lead to the development of several nutrition complications, including fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. Routine supplementation with vitamins and trace elements and a strict medical follow-up are essential to prevent these nutrition risks. Vitamin A deficiency is common after bariatric surgery but rarely causes clinical symptoms. Case reports have described ophthalmological and fetal complications associated with vitamin A deficiency after malabsorptive bariatric surgery. Phrynoderma is a type of follicular hyperkeratosis located on the extensor surfaces of the extremities whose main cause is vitamin A deficiency. The simultaneous occurrence of phrynoderma and ocular symptoms secondary to hypovitaminosis A after bariatric surgery is exceptional. The authors describe a man who presented follicular hyperkeratosis with nyctalopia and xerophthalmia that had appeared 1 year after biliopancreatic diversion. He admitted poor compliance with diet and daily supplementation of vitamins and oligoelements. Serum vitamin A levels were decreased. Treatment with high doses of vitamin A was associated with a clear improvement of cutaneous and ocular lesions with complete resolution after 2 months. The patient was readmitted 2 years later because of the reappearance of cutaneous lesions and micronutrient deficiency. Revisional bariatric surgery was performed. The authors review and discuss the relationship between phrynoderma, malnutrition, and vitamin A deficiency.

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