(NaturalNews) A new study conducted at the Mayo Clinic has revealed that patients undergoing gastric surgery are at more than double the risk of broken bones as compared to the normal population.
"The results of our study show that patients who have had bariatric surgery have a two-fold risk in developing a fracture or sustaining a fracture," wrote lead author Dr Elizabeth Haglind, in a report presented at the yearly meeting of the Endocrinology Society.
Dr Haglind and co-author Jackie Clowes, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the clinic in Rochester, Minnesota reviewed data from a 20 year period of procedures performed at the institution to establish the statistical risk of increased fractures in the years following surgery.
The researchers discovered that, of around 100 patients treated, 67% suffered a broken bone within seven years. Results showed that the increased risk of any type of fracture was 80%, with particularly vulnerable sites being the hip, spine and upper arm. However, most fractures occurred in the hands and feet with the risk increased by as much as 400%.
"We've shown that the risk of fractures after this type of weight-loss surgery is clinically significant", the authors concluded. 
The cause of such a dramatic increase in the risk of broken bones is not known, although previous research has suggested that the surgery is thought to effect calcium and vitamin D metabolism in the body. For this, or as yet undiscovered reasons, bones begin to break down faster than the body is able to replace deteriorating bone tissue. Drs Haglind and Clowes warned that aggressive supplementation of the nutrients may help but would not prevent the problem altogether.
Final results could prove yet more telling, as the researchers have 200 patient files still to review from Mayo Clinic records.
Despite the findings, Dr David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum, the only expert to so far respond in defense to the procedure's latest results, described the increased fracture risk
as "probably not worth worrying about".
Since the inception of gastric surgery in the 1960s, the treatment has been linked with a number of health problems including hernia, infections, bowel obstruction, pneumonia and an increased risk of death. Some studies suggest that nearly half of patients still suffer serious complications within the first six months after surgery
.  Obesity surgery has received criticism regarding the lack of evidence of proven effectiveness in comparison to non-surgical treatments and has also caused concern over increased rates of suicide in surgery participants, as previously reported at naturalnews.com 
 Abstract OR07-4. Presented at ENDO 2009: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, 10 June 2009. Dr Haglind has also recorded a video regarding the findings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZGphawbncw
 Encinosa WE et al. Healthcare utilization and outcomes after bariatric surgery. Medical care
44 (8): 706-12.
About the author
Michael Jolliffe is a freelance writer based in Oxford, UK.