Biliopancreatic diversion: When a cure becomes a disease

Chiara Panetta, Giovanni Paolino, Luca Muscardin, Michele Donati, Pietro Donati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phrynoderma is a type of follicular hyperkeratosis located primarily on the extensor surfaces of the extremities. It is most commonly seen in Africa and Southeast Asia, where it is correlated with malnutrition; however, it is rare in developed countries, where it is often the result of malabsorption secondary to pancreatic insufficiency, colectomy, chronic giardiasis, and bariatric surgery. Here, we report a case of a 51-year-old white male patient, who presented to our Institute with a 1-year history of diffuse, reddish-brown asymptomatic papules associated with follicular nodules. In association with cutaneous symptomatology, the patient complained of also having night blindness. The patient, 4 years before, underwent a bariatric surgical treatment, which included a biliopancreatic diversion. Histologic examination of skin biopsy revealed hyperkeratosis and irregular acanthosis of the epidermis in association with dilated follicular infundibulum filled with keratinous material, whereas the laboratory investigations showed hypovitaminosis A. Based on the patient's history and cutaneous biopsy, a final diagnosis of phrynoderma was made. The steady increase of obesity in developed countries results in a relative increase in bariatric surgery. This must involve a multidisciplinary team to manage nutrition deficiencies and prevent possibly important complications, as mentioned in this report.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-259
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Journal of Dermatopathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Obesity
  • Phrynoderma
  • Vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dermatology


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