Bariatric Surgery Linked to Bone Density Loss in Teens

Further study needed to determine type of weight loss and consequences of changes in bone mass

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery have reductions in bone mineral density (BMD), although the level is still within the age-appropriate norm, according to a study published online March 28 in Pediatrics.

Anne-Marie D. Kaulfers, M.D., from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues investigated the association between bone loss and weight loss in 61 adolescents who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Whole-body bone mineral content (BMC) and BMD were measured and age- and gender-specific BMD z scores were assessed before surgery and every three months for up to two years after surgery.

The investigators found significant decreases in whole-body BMC, BMD z score, and weight after surgery. On the basis of regression modeling, there was a decrease of 7.4 percent in predicted values for BMC, and BMD z score decreased from 1.5 to 0.1. In the first year after surgery, a variation in weight was associated with a change in BMC, with weight loss accounting for 14 percent of the decrease in BMC.

"Although the predicted bone density was appropriate for age two years after surgery, longer follow-up is warranted to determine whether bone mass continues to change or stabilizes," the authors write. "Future studies are needed to elucidate the types of weight loss (lean versus fat mass) and molecular pathways that influence changes in bone mass, and the clinical consequences of these changes."

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