Bariatric Surgery May Be Linked to Intracranial Hypotension

(HealthDay News) — Following bariatric surgery, some patients are at risk of developing severe headaches, according to a study published in Neurology.

For the study, a team led by Wouter Schievink, MD, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, studied 338 people with spontaneous intracranial hypotension. They compared these people with 245 individuals with unruptured intracranial aneurysms. The researchers found that 11 of those with spontaneous intracranial hypotension had weight-loss surgery, compared with two of those with intracranial aneurysms (3.3 versus 0.8%).

Among those who had weight-loss surgery, headaches started within three months to 20 years after the procedure. Of the 11 people who had weight-loss surgery and spontaneous intracranial hypotension, treatment relieved the headaches in nine cases. Two patients continued to have headaches after treatment, the researchers found.

“It’s important for people who have had bariatric surgery and their doctors to be aware of this possible link, which has not been reported before,” Schievink said in a journal news release. “This could be the cause of sudden, severe headaches that can be treated effectively, but there can be serious consequences if misdiagnosed.”


  1. Schievink WI et al. Neurology. 2014; doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000985