Examining the link between bariatric surgery, bone loss, and osteoporosis: A review of bone density studies

Lesley M. Scibora, Sayeed Ikramuddin, Henry Buchwald, Moira A. Petit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


As the popularity of bariatric surgery to treat morbid obesity has risen, so has a concern of increased skeletal fragility secondary to accelerated bone loss following bariatric procedures. We reviewed cross-sectional and prospective literature reporting bone density outcomes following bariatric surgical treatment for morbid obesity. Prospective research provides evidence of hip and lumbar spine areal bone mineral density (aBMD) reductions primarily in women despite calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Femoral neck aBMD declines of 9-11% and lumbar spine aBMD reductions up to 8% were observed at the first postoperative year following malabsorptive procedures. Mean Tand Z-scores up to 25 years following surgery remained within normal and healthy ranges. Of those studies reporting development of osteoporosis following gastric bypass, one woman became osteoporotic after 1 year. Despite observed bone loss in the hip region post-surgery, data do not conclusively support increased incidence of osteoporosis or increased fracture risk in post-bariatric patients. However, given the limitations of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry technology in this population and the relative lack of longterm prospective studies that include control populations, further research is needed to provide conclusive evidence regarding fracture outcomes in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-667
Number of pages14
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Bone loss
  • Bone mineral density
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight loss surgery


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