Weight Loss Surgery May Raise Fracture Risk
Weight loss procedures, such as gastric bypass, can greatly benefit obese people by reducing the amount of food the body takes in. But certain types of weight loss surgery may also have consequences, including increasing the risk of bone fractures.
That’s the conclusion of a new study from the College of Medicine at National Taiwan University, which found that many nutrients–notably vitamin D and calcium–can be lost when patients undergo these surgeries.
The study team identified 2,064 patients who underwent bariatric surgery between 2001 and 2009, and compared them with 5,027 similarly obese patients who did not have the surgeries. Overall, people who had weight loss surgery had a 21 percent higher risk of breaking a bone in the next five years.
The risk was most pronounced among people who underwent “malabsorptive” procedures – the kind that prevent food from being absorbed, such as gastric bypass. They were 47 percent more likely to experience a fracture during 12 years of follow-up compared to those who did not have surgery.
In the last decade, the use of bariatric surgery techniques that shrink the stomach or bypass parts of the digestive tract has increased seven-fold.
Since bariatric surgeries can reduce and reverse diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, the researchers do feel that the benefits can still outweigh the risks if people know how to compensate for nutrient loss by taking vitamin D and calcium supplements.
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