Sleeve gastrectomy is a common bariatric surgery, which involves making changes in the digestive system to help lose weight. Now a new study has shown that this surgery has harmful effects on bones.
In sleeve gastrectomy, about 75 per cent of the stomach is removed to restrict food intake, inducing weight loss. And the number of such procedures performed on adolescents have increased 100-fold between 2005 and 2014, sciencedaily.com reported.
Talking about how the surgery impacts bones, lead investigator Miriam A Bredella, professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and vice chair of the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was quoted as saying, “In adults, bariatric surgery can have long-term effects on bone, leading to higher fracture risk. We wanted to determine the effects of sleeve gastrectomy performed on adolescents during the crucial years when bone mass is being accrued.”
For the study, 52 adolescents with moderate to severe obesity were examined, 26 of whom underwent sleeve gastrectomy. One year following the surgery, the participants lost 34 (+/-13) kg, or 75 (+/-28) pounds. Sleeve gastrectomy patients showed a significant increase in bone marrow fat and a decrease in bone density in the lumbar spine.
Dr Bredella said the loss of bone density following sleeve gastrectomy was expected because greater weight-bearing strengthens bones. In addition to a loss of bone density, other effects of weight-loss surgery include disruption of hormones and nutrients important for bone health.
“We need to identify mechanisms that will help prevent bone loss in these patients and to make adolescents with obesity more aware of bone health. Adolescence is the critical time for bone mass accrual, and any process that interferes with bone accrual during this time can have dire consequences later in life,” the researcher was further quoted as saying.