Severely obese patients undergoing weight loss surgery may be more likely to have an increased fracture risk before and after the procedure, compared to obese and non-obese people who don’t need surgery.

The study, carried out by researchers in Canada using data analyzed from the Quebec Integrated Chronic Diseases Surveillance System, was published recently in The BMJ.

Participants included 12,676 patients, and 38,028 obese and 126,760 non-obese people in the control groups. The data was analyzed from the period 2001 to 2004, according to a media release from BMJ.

Before surgery, 10.5% patients in the weight loss surgery group had at least one fracture compared with 8.1% obese and 6.6% non-obese people in the control groups.

After a mean follow-up of 4.4 years, 4.1% of the weight loss surgery patients had at least one fracture compared with 2.7% of obese and 2.4% of non-obese groups. The median time to first fracture was 3.9 years.

These increased fracture risks remained high even after adjusting for fracture history, number of comorbidities, material and social deprivation, and area of residence.

The postoperative fracture risk changed from a pattern associated with obesity in the distal lower limb fracture, to a pattern typical of osteoporosis in the upper limb, clinical spine, pelvis, hip, and femur, the release continues.

The increased fracture risk may be due to falls and obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes; anatomical changes; or nutritional deficiencies induced by the weight loss surgery.

The authors conclude by suggesting that fracture risk assessment and management should be part of weight loss care, the release notes.

[Source(s): BMJ, Science Daily]