Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) & Bariatric Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Maria (a patient from Ronkonkoma, NY)


I’m a 39 year old female with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and mild hypertension. I always had issues with weight like most people looking for these types of surgery. I have bounced around from 150 lbs to my current 215 lbs.

I used to run and be in decent physical shape despite my weight. I go walking now whenever I can but I have huge fatigue issues.

I’m followed by Neurology every 3 months. I’m also followed by Pain management due to the pain caused by the MS. I’m compliant with all my medications given by the Neuro and pain doctor.

I have 4 children and I have huge fatigue issues due to this disease. I use a cane to get around now and used to be a a volunteer firefighter and pediatric RN.

I was wondering is it safe to have bypass or the sleeve procedure done with my type of MS?


Bariatric Surgery Source

Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon response to "Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) & Bariatric Surgery

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy


Although there are no specific published outcome data regarding weight loss surgery (WLS) in MS patients that I'm aware of, I have personal experience caring for two patients who underwent WLS after being diagnosed with MS.

Both of these patients have had a very gratifying improvement in their overall condition and capabilities as they've lost the weight; both still have MS symptoms that have stabilized.

Consequently, I believe that barring any other medical conditions that would make WLS an excessively risky undertaking in your situation, I would see no specific reason why you should not undergo WLS.

My recommendation would be to pursue the sleeve gastrectomy as it is a much simpler and likely less complication-prone procedure than the gastric bypass in your case.

Before pursuing WLS, you should carefully discuss this option with your treating neurologist/physician staff for their guidance in your decision making.

Patients with MS have varible disease progression and your doctors' insights into your specific clinical case would be invaluable in assisting you in weighing the relative risks and benefits of pursuing WLS.

John Rabkin,
M.D. Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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Patient Responses to the Question Above


by: Sharon

Hi Maria:

I have RRMS and I underwent the Duodenal Switch procedure. Besides not be able to wake up after surgery and remain awake there were no real problems for me. Mind you I have Asthma, COPD.

You really aren't that heavy and if you only have mild HTN you may want to reconsider having surgery. What is your BMI?

I was 232 pounds and had many health issues besides the MS. Oh BTW I am also an RN. That is why they did my surgery as my BMI really wasn't bad. Today I weigh in at 125 pounds. Almost 13 months after the Switch was done.

I will admit to you it has changed my life entirely now. No more Insulin, cholesetrol meds, or Tricor, down to one BP pill daily from 3. As a matter of fact my HA1C was 9.9....for 6 months now it has been 5.8....I'll take that any day.

I wish you all the best if you do have the surgery but it really won't affect your MS. HUGS!!!!

Debating gastric sleeve but i have RRMS

by: Qiana covington

I have Relapse Remitting Multiple Sclerosis and I've been battling my CONDITION for 3 years. My weight has been up an down.

Will the sleeve be best for me?


by: Name

I was diagnosed w/ MS in 2005. In 2014 my diagnosis changed and I am now in a power chair. My MRI shows my MS is concentrated around my spine.

In addition, I have hypertension. I want to know is it still possible to inquire about WLS. If so, which would be the best option for me?

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