People undergoing weight loss surgery face increased risk of fractures

June 12th, 2009 - 2:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 12 (ANI): A new study suggests that people who undergo bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, have almost twice the expected risk of breaking a bone, and an even higher risk of a foot or hand fracture.

Studies conducted in the past have shown that bariatric surgery results in an increased bone turnover, the rate of bone breakdown and bone formation. They, however, have not made it clear whether this change is clinically relevant.

Dr.Jackie Clowes, assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, suspected that the accelerated bone turnover after weight loss surgery would increase fracture risk.

“This finding is unexpected. The established opinion is that obesity protects against osteoporosis and, therefore, fractures,” she said.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of patients who had bariatric surgery to treat medically complicated obesity, performed at Mayo Clinic between 1985 and 2004, and looked at data, including postoperative fractures.

Until now, the researchers have analysed data for 97 of the 292 patients, whose records are available

Ninety percent of the patients had the most common type of weight loss surgery-gastric bypass-and the other patients had either vertical banded gastroplasty (also called gastric band surgery) or biliopancreatic diversion.

The researchers found that after bariatric surgery, 21 patients suffered one or more fractures, for a total of 31 fractures.

As compared with the fracture rate expected in an age- and sex-matched population in southeastern Minnesota, the patients who underwent bariatric surgery were 1.8 times likelier to have a first fracture at any site of the body.

Especially, fractures were common at the hand and foot, with the risk of hand fracture being more than three times greater than average, and foot fracture risk nearly four times greater.

“It is currently unclear why fractures are more common after bariatric surgery, especially at the hand and foot. Although aggressive calcium and vitamin D supplementation after surgery may well help, it may still be insufficient to prevent the increased risk of fracture,” said Clowes.

The results were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (ANI)

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