Ozempic vs. Liposuction: What’s The Difference?

Written by Cameron Craven, MD, FACS, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on January 23, 2024 2 Comments

ozempic weight loss

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a prescription medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. The active ingredient of Ozempic is semaglutide. It is classified as a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist medication. Indeed, the same active component is found in another FDA-approved drug which is called Wegovoy but at an increased dosage. It is used for obesity treatment and other medical conditions that are associated with weight.

How does Ozempic work for weight loss?

Research showed that people who were prescribed Ozempic are likely to lose weight while on this medication due to an increased release of insulin and reduced amount of glucose produced by the liver. These factors lead to the decreased hunger of a patient which results in consuming fewer calories. Due to this process, weight is likely to be reduced. However, this drug is still off-label because it was not approved by the FDA for weight loss alone. Another implication of this medication is that it has to be injected weekly.

Who is not a candidate?

Even though Ozempic is considered a safe medication, there are limitations, according to the company. Therefore, clients who are pregnant or breastfeeding, under 18 years of age, have type 1 diabetes, pancreatitis, diabetic retinopathy, problems with the pancreas or kidneys, family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) which is an endocrine system condition should not use it.

What types of results are possible?

Weight loss can be achieved when you take Ozempc. However, weight loss cannot be targeted to a certain area of the body, and weight is shed as determined by the body. Another issue with Ozempic as a medication that can help you lose weight is that it shows only temporary results. The weight tends to come back quickly once a person stops using Ozempic.

Is using Ozempic for weight loss safe?

There is not enough research done on Ozempic as a weight loss medication to prove that it is safe or unsafe for long-term usage. However, there have been proven side effects such as hair loss, upset stomach, constipation, and nausea. Another common side effect is “Ozempic body” or “Ozempic FACE” which is an increase in skin drooping and sagging that happens because of a rapid weight loss. There are also more serious side effects such as hypoglycemia, vision problems, and other complications but they are less common.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that is used to remove excess fat cells from targeted areas of the body. It is designed for patients who have unsuccessfully tried to reduce localized fat deposits through diet, exercise, and weight loss. The common myth is that this surgery is used as a weight loss procedure. In fact, liposuction is not a weight loss treatment but rather a body contouring treatment which allows for contouring or reshaping of the body.

Who is an ideal candidate for lipo?

The patients that can benefit from this surgery are those who have a stable body weight which is close to the ideal but they have specific areas of excess fat that they wish to address. The patient should have general good health, a positive self-image, and realistic expectations of the results after a consultation with a plastic surgeon. An important factor to consider is that this surgery has a post-operative care process.

What types of results are possible?

Liposuction provides a more immediate and predictable result than Ozempic medication. The provider can sculpt specific contours that will create the desired shape. There will be permanent fat loss as the fat cells that are removed will not grow back. However, it is important to maintain a stable weight to preserve the results and avoid the accumulation of new fat in other areas.

Side effects of liposuction

The most common side effects are bruising and swelling in the treated area after the surgery which can persist for several weeks. The patient can feel pain and sensation changes in the body which should not last after the recovery period. Due to the fact that liposuction is an invasive surgery, there will be scars on the body which will most likely fade and become less noticeable. Another important side effect is that this procedure can lead to asymmetric results or skin irregularities. However, all these side effects can be minimized if performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon.

Recovery after liposuction

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and does require a recovery period. There is no set time for this period because liposuction recovery differs from patient to patient but it should not last longer than several months. General requirements after the surgery are limited activity for a few weeks, scar care, and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. To see the full results of the procedure and avoid any complications, the patient should follow all of the instructions given by the surgeon and the doctor.

Liposuction Vs Ozempic

Ozempic medication and liposuction surgery are completely different in both the issues they address and the benefits they provide. Liposuction is for immediate fat loss in a localized or specific area and Ozempic is for gradual, overall (body-wide) weight loss. The results of liposuction are permanent, whereas Ozempic results are temporary and heavily rely on continued use. Another important fact to consider is that the side effects of liposuction are well understood but the long-term effects of Ozempic are yet to be discovered.

Liposuction is the more appropriate solution for people who are overweight but near their target weight and not obese. Another benefit of liposuction is that it allows the doctor and the patient to determine exactly which fat is eliminated, creating the ideal silhouette. SmartLipo, the advanced laser liposuction technology, can be used to provide a skin tightening benefit which will help to achieve the desired body shape.

Cameron Craven, MD, FACS

Cameron Craven MD, FACS is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Craven specializes in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation, liposuction and body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty, as well as reconstructive surgery for skin cancers.

2 Responses to “Ozempic vs. Liposuction: What’s The Difference?”

  1. Avatar Robin says:

    If you’ve gotten slim lipo before can you get regular liposuction? Do you all do liposuction of abdomen or hips, or inner thighs?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Robin,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting this great question! It is possible to undergo regular lipo after having the procedure previously. However, an experience provider would have to assess the treatment area to ensure candidacy. We would encourage you to visit a board certified provider for an in-person assessment to make sure the procedure is right for you!

      We also do offer liposuction on the abdomen, hips, and inner thighs (among other body areas). This post goes over common body areas for lipo:

      Please feel free to give us a call at (512) 328-3376 to setup a free consultation!

      WD Staff

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