Bariatric surgery is a popular and effective treatment for severe obesity but may have negative effects on the skeleton. This review summarizes changes in bone density and bone metabolism from animal and clinical studies of bariatric surgery, with specific attention to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), adjustable gastric banding (AGB), and sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Skeletal imaging artifacts from obesity and weight loss are also considered. Despite challenges in bone density imaging, the preponderance of evidence suggests that bariatric surgery procedures have negative skeletal effects that persist beyond the first year of surgery, and that these effects vary by surgical type. The long-term clinical implications and current clinical recommendations are presented. Further study is required to determine mechanisms of bone loss after bariatric surgery. Although early studies focused on calcium/vitamin D metabolism and mechanical unloading of the skeleton, it seems likely that surgically induced changes in the hormonal and metabolic profile may be responsible for the skeletal phenotypes observed after bariatric surgery.
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