Intended for healthcare professionals


Bariatric surgery and fractures

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 27 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4057
  1. Marco Bueter, attending surgeon and head of bariatric program
  1. Department of Surgery, Division of Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland
  1. marco.bueter{at}

Surgeons should consider assessing fracture risk in post-surgical patients

Obesity is escalating at an alarming rate globally and threatens healthcare systems worldwide. Although bariatric surgery has emerged as an effective treatment, and numbers of operations performed worldwide have risen sharply,1 many commentators still question surgical means to treat obesity. Scepticism has been fuelled by some evidence of negative long term effects including increased risks for nephrolithiasis and chronic kidney disease,2 relapse of type 2 diabetes mellitus,3 4 alcohol consumption,5 and suicide.6

Bariatric surgery may also have detrimental effects on bone health, indicated by a reduced bone mineral density postoperatively.7 8 9 10 However, whether this translates into a higher fracture risk is unclear.

The linked study by Rousseau and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.i3794) aims to fill this gap in knowledge and evidence.11 The authors did a retrospective, nested case-control study including patients …

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