MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who undergo gastric bypass weight loss surgery can expect to have a decline in bone mass, just as adults do, according to a new study.
Two years after the surgery, the bone mineral content of the 61 obese teens studied had declined, on average, by 7.4 percent, said Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama.
"At the moment, I do not think there is cause for alarm," Kaulfers said of the study findings. That's because the teens, who averaged 17 years old, still had bone mass within the normal range, she said. They had started with above-average bone mass for their age and gender.
The findings are reported online March 28 in the journal Pediatrics.
Kaulfers and her colleagues decided to study the teens because a loss of bone mineral content during adolescence, when they should be approaching peak bone mass, could potentially compromise future bone health.
Studies of adults have also found that their bone mass declines after the surgery.
Kaulfers did the study while at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. Some of the participants were part of the Teen-Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery Consortium supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
All of the teens, 10 boys and 51 girls, had gastric bypass, a procedure in which the stomach is reduced from the size of a football to that of a golf ball.
The researchers measured bone mineral content and density by dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry (DXA). When possible, measurements were taken before surgery and then every three to six months after the surgery for up to two years. Nearly one-third of the teens were too large before their surgery to be given DXA.
Called a "z score," the teens' average bone mineral density scores decreased from 1.5 to 0.1. A z
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