London: Obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery are not at an increased risk of broken bones in the first few years after the operation, a new study has found.But the study, led by researchers at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton, has shown that there is a possibility of an increase in fracture risk after three to five years.Generally, a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) protects the bone against most types of fracture because a higher BMI is associated with increased bone density. Additionally there is more protection around the bones.Studies have shown that weight loss can lead to a reduction of bone density and specifically studies have suggested that bone density is lost after bariatric surgery; however no previous work has been able to investigate whether such changes might result in an increased risk of fracture relative to a control population.Bariatric surgery, or weight-loss surgery, is used to treat people with potentially life-threatening obesity and that will not respond to non-surgical treatments. The most widely used forms of weight-loss surgery are gastric bypass or gastric band. Weight-loss surgery rates have been increasing over the years with the number of hospital procedures for weight-loss stomach surgery rising to 8,087 in 2010/11 – 12 per cent higher than in 2009/10 when there were 7,214.
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