Rates of secondary hyperparathyroidism after bypass operation for super-morbid obesity: An overlooked phenomenon

Surgery. 2017 Mar;161(3):720-726. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2016.08.046. Epub 2016 Oct 18.


Background: With over 110,000 bariatric operations performed in the United States annually, it is important to understand the biochemical abnormalities causing endocrine dysfunction associated with these procedures. Here we compare 2 malabsorptive procedures, duodenal switch and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, to determine the role malabsorption plays in secondary hyperparathyroidism in this population.

Methods: Data from all super-obese patients undergoing duodenal switch or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass between August 2002 and October 2005 were prospectively collected. Postoperatively, all patients received 1,200 mg of calcium citrate and 1,000 IU vitamin D3 per American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery guidelines. Beginning in 2007, duodenal switch patients were instructed to add daily vitamin D3 10,000 IU. Statistical analyses included Student t test, multivariate, and univariate logistic regression.

Results: Of 283 patients with a body mass index ≥50, 170 (60.1%) underwent duodenal switch, while 113 (39.9%) underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Of 132 (46.6%) patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism, 101 (59.4%) had undergone duodenal switch and 31 (27.4%) had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Symptoms were more common in the duodenal switch group (33 patients [19.4%]) than Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (11 patients [9.7%]). Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that the extent of bypass and duration of follow-up were the only 2 independent predictive risk factors for developing secondary hyperparathyroidism. Although vitamin D levels improved with increased vitamin D3 supplementation in 2007, rates of secondary hyperparathyroidism increased.

Conclusion: Despite routine postoperative calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation, secondary hyperparathyroidism is common after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and duodenal switch. The degree of iatrogenic malabsorption correlates with the incidence of secondary hyperparathyroidism. These rates suggest current supplementation guidelines are not sufficient in preventing secondary hyperparathyroidism. Further work is needed to better define the sequelae of long-term hyperparathyroidism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Gastric Bypass / methods
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / diagnosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*