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Dose-dependent link between the use of semaglutide and liraglutide injectables and body contouring procedures

There is a dose-dependent link between the use of injectable glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists (semaglutide and liraglutide injections) and an increase in subsequent aesthetic body contouring surgeries, according to researchers from Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

The introduction of injectable GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Ozempic and Wegovy has transformed weight loss in plastic surgery patients, often leading to excess skin and soft tissue amendable to body contouring procedures. Therefore, the researchers designed a study to examine the relationship between injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist use and the growing need for body contouring surgeries, focusing on trunk and extremity procedures.


A retrospective analysis was conducted using the PearlDiver database, examining prescription data for Ozempic, Wegovy, and liraglutide, and this data was correlated with body contouring procedures across 30 US states from 2011-2022. Multimodal statistics were used to compare surgery rates and assess dosage and time interval patterns among GLP-1 receptor agonist users and non-users.


The found that there were significant correlations between GLP-1 receptor agonist use (881 Ozempic, 59 Wegovy, and 4,655 liraglutide users) and increased body contouring surgeries. Ozempic showed weak correlations with brachioplasty (r=0.23) and panniculectomy (r=0.21), and Wegovy with breast procedures (r=0.28), while liraglutide showed consistent correlations across surgeries. Time to surgery varied from 87 days (Wegovy) to 1,018 days (liraglutide), with higher surgery rates among users (p<0.01) and dose-related differences, especially in Ozempic and Wegovy users. Patients were prescribed liraglutide (n=4,655), Ozempic (n=881) and Wegovy (n=59).


The proportion of patients who underwent the four most common body contouring procedures increased as dosage increased. Among patients receiving the lowest and highest dosages for each drug, the proportion who underwent panniculectomy increased from 2.3% (lowest dose) and 4.2% (highest dose) to 3.1% and 5.1%, brachioplasty from 0.9% and 1.1% to 1.4% and 2.2%, breast augmentation from 5.1% and 6.5% to 7.0% and 9.8%, and liposuction from 1.6% and 2.3% to 2.5% and 3.9%, respectively.


Significant correlations between GLP-1 receptor agonist use and increased body contouring surgeries were found. Ozempic showed weak correlations with brachioplasty (r=0.23) and panniculectomy (r=0.21), and Wegovy with breast procedures (r=0.28, p=0.01), while liraglutide showed consistent correlations across surgeries (all p<0.001). Time to surgery varied from 87 days (Wegovy) to 1,018 days (liraglutide), with higher surgery rates among users (p<0.01) and dose-related differences, especially in Ozempic and Wegovy users.


“This study demonstrates a dose-dependent link between the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists and an increase in subsequent aesthetic body contouring surgeries, highlighting the need for surgeons to adapt to the merging of medicinal body transformation and aesthetic plastic surgery,” the authors concluded.


The findings were reported in the paper, ‘Prevalence Patterns of Body Contouring Procedures Among Injectable Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist Users Get access Arrow’, published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

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