Pseudotumor cerebri is a serious obesity-related disorder that can result in severe complications. The aim of this study was to compare metabolic surgery with medical management of pseudotumor cerebri at a single bariatric center.

After institutional review board approval, a retrospective review was conducted of individuals with severe obesity and pseudotumor cerebri (nonbariatric group) and patients with preoperative pseudotumor cerebri (bariatric group). The variables included demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and pseudotumor cerebri-related risk factors. Symptoms, medication use, and body mass index were analyzed during a 4-year follow-up.

A total of 86 patients with pseudotumor cerebri were included in the analysis. In the nonbariatric group (n = 77), the mean age was 34.1 ± 10.5 years and initial body mass index 37.2 ± 6.5 kg/m2. Initially, the most common symptom was headache (90.9%; n = 70), with a mean lumbar opening pressure of 341.94 ± 104.50 mm H2O. In the bariatric group (n = 9), the mean age was 36.1 ± 8.9 years and preoperative body mass index 46.1 ± 5.5 kg/m2. The most common preoperative symptom was headache (100%; n = 9), with a lumbar opening pressure of 320 ± 44.27 mm H2O. During the 4-year follow-up, both groups presented with a significant decrease in pseudotumor cerebri-related symptoms at 3 months (P < .0001). Additionally, pseudotumor cerebri medication use significantly decreased after 3 months in the bariatric group (P = .0406), whereas in the nonbariatric group decreased at 18 months (P = .023). Bariatric patients presented with a significant decrease in body mass index in ≤3 months of surgery (P = .0380), which was not observed in nonbariatric patients (P = .6644).

Metabolic surgery seems to provide a greater decrease in pseudotumor cerebri symptoms and medication use in a shorter period of time compared with medical management alone.