Weight loss surgery may increase risk of bone fractures

The findings highlight the need for long‐term follow‐up of bone health for patients undergoing this treatment.


A new study, recently published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, sought to determine the association between the risk of fracture after gastric bypass surgery.

The investigation included 2,007 Swedish patients with obesity who were treated with weight loss surgery and 2,040 matched patients who didn’t undergo surgery. Over a median follow-up of between 15 and 18 years for the different treatment groups, the most elevated rate for fractures was found 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 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.

Lead author Sofie Ahlin, MD, Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, said“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. 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.”

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