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Fracture risk following bariatric surgery

Mayo Clinic researchers are reporting that persons who undergo bariatric surgery may have a greater chance of experiencing broken bones, especially in their hands and feet.

The study is based on a review of nearly 100 surgical cases at Mayo spanning 21 years and is being presented today at the Endocrinology Society Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

"We knew there was a dramatic and extensive bone turnover and loss of bone density after bariatric surgery," says Jackie Clowes, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo rheumatologist and senior author on the study. "But we didn't know what that meant in terms of fractures."

The research team worked with Rochester Epidemiology Project records to develop the chart review of 97 of the 292 patients who underwent the bariatric procedure between 1984 and 2004. The findings, adjusted for age and gender factors, showed 21 individuals experienced 31 fractures within an average of seven years after surgery. Fractures were reported in the hip, spine and humerus (upper arm bone), with the majority of fractures in the hands and feet.

"We've shown that risk of fractures after this type of weight loss surgery is clinically significant," says Elizabeth Chittilapilly Haglind, M.D., Mayo endocrinologist and lead author, who is presenting today. "More research is needed to confirm our findings and understand the specific risk factors and mechanisms involved."

Others on the Mayo team were Kurt Kennel, M.D.; Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D.; Sara Achenbach; Elizabeth Atkinson; and L. Joseph Melton, M.D.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers and 46,000 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has sites in Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, the three locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to ( is available as a resource for your health stories.

Robert Nellis | EurekAlert!
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