Fracture Risk After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass vs Adjustable Gastric Banding Among Medicare Beneficiaries


Elaine W Yu, Seoyoung C Kim, Daniel J Sturgeon, Katherine G Lindeman, and Joel S Weissman. 2019. “Fracture Risk After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass vs Adjustable Gastric Banding Among Medicare Beneficiaries.” JAMA Surg, 154, 8, Pp. 746-753. Copy at


Importance: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is associated with significant bone loss and may increase fracture risk, whereas substantial bone loss and increased fracture risk have not been reported after adjustable gastric banding (AGB). Previous studies have had little representation of patients aged 65 years or older, and it is currently unknown how age modifies fracture risk. Objective: To compare fracture risk after RYGB and AGB procedures in a large, nationally representative cohort enriched for older adults. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based retrospective cohort analysis used Medicare claims data from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2014, from 42 345 severely obese adults, of whom 29 624 received RYGB and 12 721 received AGB. Data analysis was performed from April 2017 to November 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was incident nonvertebral (ie, wrist, humerus, pelvis, and hip) fractures after RYGB and AGB surgery defined using a combination of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition and Current Procedural Terminology 4 codes. Results: Of 42 345 participants, 33 254 (78.5%) were women. With a mean (SD) age of 51 (12) years, recipients of RYGB were younger than AGB recipients (55 [12] years). Both groups had similar comorbidities, medication use, and health care utilization in the 365 days before surgery. Over a mean (SD) follow-up of 3.5 (2.1) years, 658 nonvertebral fractures were documented. The fracture incidence rate was 6.6 (95% CI, 6.0-7.2) after RYGB and 4.6 (95% CI, 3.9-5.3) after AGB, which translated to a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.73 (95% CI, 1.45-2.08) after multivariable adjustment. Site-specific analyses demonstrated an increased fracture risk at the hip (HR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.82-4.49), wrist (HR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.33-2.14), and pelvis (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.08-2.07) among RYGB recipients. No significant interactions of fracture risk with age, sex, diabetes status, or race were found. In particular, adults 65 years and older showed similar patterns of fracture risk to younger adults. Sensitivity analyses using propensity score matching showed similar results (nonvertebral fracture: HR 1.75; 95% CI, 1.22-2.52). Conclusions and Relevance: This study of a large, US population-based cohort including a substantial population of older adults found a 73% increased risk of nonvertebral fracture after RYGB compared with AGB, including increased risk of hip, wrist, and pelvis fractures. Fracture risk was consistently increased among RYGB patients vs AGB across different subgroups, and to a similar degree among older and younger adults. Increased fracture risk appears to be an important unintended consequence of RYGB.