Watch for bone loss in adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery

June 26, 2011

Adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery lose bone in the first 2 years after surgery. Investigators from Children?s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati did a retrospective chart review of 61 adolescents (mean age: 17.3 years) who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass between 2001 and 2008 and had dual-energy radiographic absorptiometry scans before surgery (when possible) and then every 3 to 6 months for 2 years.

Adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery lose bone in the first 2 years after surgery. Investigators from Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati did a retrospective chart review of 61 adolescents (mean age: 17.3 years) who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass between 2001 and 2008 and had dual-energy radiographic absorptiometry scans before surgery (when possible) and then every 3 to 6 months for 2 years. Whole body bone mineral content (BMC) decreased by 5.2% at the end of 1 year and by 7.4% by 2 years following bariatric surgery. Although the bone mineral density (BMD) z scores decreased, they still remained above average for age throughout the 2 years of the study, likely owing to the high BMC and BMD before surgery in this population. The authors caution that these patients may still be at a risk for fracture at a later time if their bone loss continues.

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