Weight loss surgery may increase fracture risk

A new study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, says that weight loss surgery can up fracture risk. The study included 2,007 Swedish patients with obesity who were treated with weight loss surgery (either gastric bypass, gastric banding, or vertical banded gastroplasty) and 2,040 matched patients who did not undergo surgery.

“Our results show that gastric bypass surgery increases the long-term risk of fracture, both compared with non-surgical obesity care and compared two other bariatric surgery methods used in our study,” said lead author Sofie Ahlin from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. For the findings, the research team wanted to investigate the association between different bariatric surgery procedures and fracture risk.

According to the researchers, over a median follow-up of between 15 and 18 years for the different treatment groups, the highest incidence rate for fractures was seen in the gastric bypass group. Rates were 22.9 per 1,000 person-years in this group, compared with 10.4, 10.7, and 9.3 per 1,000 person-years for the vertical banded gastroplasty, gastric banding, and control groups, respectively, the study said. The researchers found that the fracture risk in the gastric bypass group was 2.58-times higher than in the control group, 1.99-times higher than in the gastric banding group, and 2.15-times higher than in the vertical banded gastroplasty group.

“Increased risk of fracture is a serious side effect that should be taken into account when selecting surgical procedures and it should also be kept in mind during post-operative follow-up in patients who have undergone gastric bypass,” Ahlin added.

The University of Gothenburg is the third-oldest of the current Swedish universities and with 37,000 students and 6,000 staff members it is one of the largest universities in the Nordic countries.

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