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Weight Loss Surgery May Weaken Bones

Update Date: Dec 28, 2015 09:51 AM EST
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Certain types of bariatric or weight loss surgery aren't risk-free according to a recently conducted Taiwan-based study. Some surgical procedures may actually make your bones increasingly fragile heightening the risks for fractures.

While surgeries like the gastric bypass help extremely overweight patients kick obesity for good by deliberately lowering the amount of food the stomach can take in, patients also run the risk of getting a reduced intake of important nutrients needed to fight off osteoporosis.

"The commonly lost nutrients are vitamin D and calcium, which are related to the development of osteoporosis. And maybe there are other mechanisms associated with the development of fracture," told Dr. Kuo-Chin Huang of National Taiwan University, the study's lead author as quoted saying by Reuters.

The research involved a comparison of 2, 064 obese patients who had weight loss surgeries and 5, 027 similar patients who never had surgeries between 2001 and 2009.

The Taiwanese experts found out in their study that patients who underwent bariatric surgery had 21% greater risk of having bone fractures in the next five years according to a published article by Northern Californian.

The researchers, however, clarified that only the 'malabsorptive' type of procedures- those that block the absorption of food nutrients such as the gastric bypass- are the ones that significantly raise the risk of having weakened bones.

On the other hand, the 'restrictive' type of surgeries- those that simply limit the intake of food- are not linked to fracture risk.

But not all weight loss experts are convinced. Some critics noticed that most of the reported fracture increases were in the long bones of the arms and legs and not in areas where osteoporosis was more common.

"If you are seeing more ... leg fractures and stuff in patients that had bariatric surgery, I would argue this might actually be a result of the fact that these patients are exercising more - maybe they had fallen off their bicycles when they are trying to lose weight," remarked Dr. Andrew Duffy, of Connecticut's Yale-New Haven Health System as mentioned by Citizen Digital.

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