Zoledronic Acid for prevention of bone and muscle loss after BAriatric Surgery (ZABAS)-a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Søren Gam*, Bibi Gram, Claus Bogh Juhl, Anne Pernille Hermann, Stinus Gadegaard Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: Bariatric surgery has adverse effects on the muscular-skeletal system with loss of bone mass and muscle mass and an increase in the risk of fracture. Zoledronic acid is widely used in osteoporosis and prevents bone loss and fracture. Bisphosphonates may also have positive effects on skeletal muscle. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of zoledronic acid for the prevention of bone and muscle loss after bariatric surgery. Methods/design: This is a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Sixty women and men with obesity aged 35 years or older will complete baseline assessments before randomization to either zoledronic acid (5 mg in 100 ml isotonic saline) or placebo (100 ml isotonic saline only) 3 weeks before surgery with Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass (RYGB) or sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Follow-up assessments are performed 12 and 24 months after surgery. The primary outcome is changes in lumbar spine volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) assessed by quantitative computed tomography (QCT). Secondary bone outcomes are changes in proximal femur vBMD assessed by QCT. Changes in cortical and trabecular bone microarchitecture and estimated bone strength will be assessed by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Cortical material bone strength at the mid-tibia diaphysis will be assessed using microindentation and fasting blood samples will be obtained to assess biochemical markers of bone turnover and calcium metabolism. Secondary muscle outcomes include whole body lean mass assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Dynamometers will be used to assess handgrip, shoulder, ankle, and knee muscle strength. Short Physical Performance Battery, 7.6-m walking tests, 2-min walking test, and a stair climb test will be assessed as biomarkers of physical function. Self-reported physical activity level is assessed using International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Discussion: Results from this study will be instrumental for the evidence-based care of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04742010. Registered on 5 February 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Article number861
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 8. Oct 2022


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Bone loss
  • Bone microarchitecture
  • Gastric bypass
  • Lean body mass
  • Muscle loss
  • Muscle mechanical function
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Volumetric bone density
  • Zoledronic Acid
  • Bone Density
  • Calcium
  • Humans
  • Fractures, Bone
  • Male
  • Bariatric Surgery/adverse effects
  • Biomarkers/metabolism
  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Zoledronic Acid/adverse effects
  • Muscles/metabolism
  • Female
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Hand Strength


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