Bone Density after Bariatric Surgery

30 October 2018

Bariatric surgery such as sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and duodenal switch is an increasingly common procedure utilised as a treatment for obesity.

Morbidly obese individuals are at risk for metabolic bone disease due to inadequate calcium intake, vitamin D deficiency, chronic dieting behaviours, underlying diseases due to poor health, and the consistent use of medications to treat those diseases.

Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) can promote rapid weight loss and alleviate a range of health problems associated with morbid obesity. It is important to know weight loss surgery can result in the reduction in the amount of calcium the body can absorb, leading to calcium deficiency along with vitamin D deficiency can in the long term potentially lead to a decrease in bone density.

Calcium is essential to building and maintain bone density which is crucial for patient’s post-surgery.

A decrease in bone density can lead to further health implications, which is why it is important to ensure patients post-surgery are procuring an adequate calcium intake to prevent this from occurring.

See this table from Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee demonstrating the recommended amount of calcium intake.

How can I increase my calcium intake?

  • By consuming more dairy products including milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Including soy-based products and tofu which contain calcium into your diet
  • Eating broccoli, bok choy, silverbeet, cucumber, celery, and chickpeas
  • Calcium supplements (Speak to your GP about the calcium supplements which are right for you)

Find here a list of selected foods with their calcium content.

After bariatric surgery there is a greater risk for bone related problems due to the dramatic weight loss and restricted intake. This is why it is so important to have a thorough evaluation after your operation, and monitoring to prevent any post-surgery complications from occurring.

To stay informed and up to date on post surgery care, you can follow the Perth Weight Loss and Surgery online community on Facebook.

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