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Vitamin D-ficiency common among orthopaedic surgery
Date:10/6/2010

Forty-three percent of patients scheduled to undergo orthopaedic surgery have insufficient levels of vitamin D and two out of five of those patients had levels low enough to place them at risk for metabolic bone disease, according to a study published this month in the October 6th issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is essential for bone growth and bone remodeling. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen. People can obtain vitamin D in three ways:

  • by eating certain types of food (including fish, dairy products, eggs and mushrooms);
  • receiving sun exposure; and
  • taking supplements

"Given the importance of vitamin D in musculoskeletal health and its role in bone healing following orthopaedic procedures, low levels may negatively impact patient outcomes," said orthopaedic surgeon Joseph M. Lane, MD, study co-author and chief of the metabolic bone disease service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

All 723 patients in the study had been cleared by a specialist in internal medicine for elective surgery in one of the following orthopaedic service areas: Trauma, Foot and Ankle, Sports Medicine (only ACL and/or meniscal repair), Arthroplasty (only primary total hip and knee replacement), Hand (only distal radial or ulnar fracture) and Metabolic Bone Disease (only vertebral compression fracture).

The researchers found that, of the 723 patients studied,

  • 411 (57 percent) had normal Vitamin D levels,
  • 202 (28 percent) had insufficient levels; and
  • 110 (15 percent) were vitamin D deficient.

"We found that nearly half of the patients who were considered 'healthy' enough for surgery had significantly low levels of vitamin D, placing them at risk for poor bone healing, osteomalacia (bone and muscle weakness
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Contact: Lauren L. Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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