How Ozempic may affect your upcoming cosmetic surgery

By: Dr. Sean Delaney


What to Know About GLP-1 Agonists and Surgery

We have seen tremendous success recently with GLP-1 agonists such as Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and Tirzepitide (Mounjaro) for diabetes and weight loss management. With some patients losing up to 20 percent of their body weight, cosmetic treatments like facelift, neck lifts and facial fat transfer face have becoming increasing popular to address their skin laxity and facial hollowing. Since this is a relatively new class of medication, many patients are unaware of how actively taking GLP-1 agonists at the time of their surgery can increase their risk during surgery.

How GLP-1 Agonists Work

If you are using a GLP-1 agonist such as Ozempic, it is important to understand how it works. These injections mimic a naturally occurring hormone in the body that makes us feel full. This can lead to delayed gastric emptying, which means that food and stomach acid build up in the stomach. This can increase the risk of regurgitation and aspiration during surgery. Aspiration occurs when stomach contents go down the windpipe and into the lungs, which can lead to breathing problems and pneumonia.

How Long to Stop Taking GLP-1 Agonists Before Surgery

The half-life of GLP-1 agonists is 7 days, and it takes almost 5 weeks for the medication to be completely cleared from the body. Therefore, it is important for patients stop the injections at least TWO full weeks before their planned cosmetic surgery to reverse the delayed gastric emptying. If possible, it is even better for patients to stop FOUR weeks before their planned procedure, so their bodies will be better prepared for surgery from a nutritional standpoint.

Talk to Your Doctor About GLP-1 Agonists and Surgery

If you are taking GLP-1 agonists such as such as Ozempic, Wegovy or Mounjaro and are scheduled for surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks and how to manage them.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.