Fat malabsorption and increased intestinal oxalate absorption are common after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery

Surgery. 2011 May;149(5):654-61. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2010.11.015. Epub 2011 Feb 5.


Background: Hyperoxaluria and increased calcium oxalate stone formation occur after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery for morbid obesity. The etiology of this hyperoxaluria is unknown. We hypothesized that after bariatric surgery, intestinal hyperabsorption of oxalate contributes to increases in plasma oxalate and urinary calcium oxalate supersaturation.

Methods: We prospectively examined oxalate metabolism in 11 morbidly obese subjects before and 6 and 12 months after RYGB (n = 9) and biliopancreatic diversion-duodenal switch (BPD-DS) (n = 2). We measured 24-hour urinary supersaturations for calcium oxalate, apatite, brushite, uric acid, and sodium urate; fasting plasma oxalate; 72-hour fecal fat; and increases in urine oxalate following an oral oxalate load.

Results: Six and 12 months after RYGB, plasma oxalate and urine calcium oxalate supersaturation increased significantly compared with similar measurements obtained before surgery (all P ≤ .02). Fecal fat excretion at 6 and 12 months was increased (P = .026 and .055, 0 vs 6 and 12 months). An increase in urine oxalate excretion after an oral dose of oxalate was observed at 6 and 12 months (all P ≤ .02). Therefore, after bariatric surgery, increases in fecal fat excretion, urinary oxalate excretion after an oral oxalate load, plasma oxalate, and urinary calcium oxalate supersaturation values were observed.

Conclusion: Enteric hyperoxaluria is often present in patients after the operations of RYGB and BPD-DS that utilize an element of intestinal malabsorption as a mechanism for weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcium Oxalate / urine
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxaluria / etiology
  • Hyperoxaluria / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / etiology
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrolithiasis / epidemiology
  • Nephrolithiasis / urine
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Oxalates / metabolism*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Dietary Fats
  • Oxalates
  • Calcium Oxalate