Ozempic® and Plastic Surgery An Important Precaution You Need to Know

Published: May 28, 2024
Category: General, In The News

Preparation is key to securing safe and successful plastic surgery outcomes. Preparation not only encompasses getting your home, work, and family life ready for your recovery but also taking a closer look at lifestyle factors like your diet, any supplements you use, and any medications you’re on. At Edina Plastic Surgery, you will be given a complete and thorough list of things to avoid in the weeks leading up to your procedure. You may already be familiar with many of these, like the use of blood-thinning medications, which may interfere with healing. However, a popular drug now being utilized for weight loss is becoming a hot topic in the plastic surgery world, not only for the dramatic fat loss it can achieve but also for the complications it may cause during your procedure. Let’s take a closer look at why your plastic surgeon will require that you cease using GLP-1 agonists, like Ozempic®, for at least three weeks before your plastic surgery.

Anesthesia complications with Ozempic®

If you have ever had any kind of surgery in the past, you may recall specific instructions not eat or drink any liquids the night before your procedure. Why? This precaution is taken because having anything in your stomach while under general anesthesia may cause you to aspirate while you are asleep for surgery. Aspiration is when food or liquid gets caught in your airway and travels to your lungs.

But what does Ozempic® (generic Semaglutide) have to do with aspiration? Ozempic® is in a family of drugs called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonists. Other prescriptions that fall into this family are Wegovy® and Mounjaro®. These medications induce weight loss by delaying gastric emptying and making you feel fuller sooner. They also stabilize blood sugar levels, which is why they are also used for treating type 2 diabetes.

General anesthesia essentially puts a patient to sleep for the duration of their surgery. During this time, the body’s muscles, including the ones responsible for breathing and closing the stomach valves, become relaxed. This relaxed state naturally increases the risk of aspiration, where the stomach contents may enter the throat and lungs.

Food stays in the stomach for longer when a patient is on a GLP-1 prescription. This means that the eight to twelve hours your surgeon asks you to stop consuming food and liquids before your surgery would not be sufficient because the stomach may not be empty.

When to stop taking Ozempic and other GLP-1 prescriptions before plastic surgery

Most prescriptions have a half-life. This term refers to how long a medication stays in your system after you have ceased to use it. Most GLP-1 agonists have a half-life of 2 weeks, although this will depend on the individual and whether the prescription is being utilized to treat diabetes or weight loss. Discussing when to stop a GLP-1 with your prescribing physician and your plastic surgeon is essential. Patients who are utilizing GLP-1 drugs for the treatment of diabetes must consult with their doctor regarding when and how to stop their medication before surgery.

At Edina Plastic Surgery, our surgeons are conservative with our recommendations to ensure the utmost safety for our patients. We require that the use of any GLP-1 agonists be terminated for at least three weeks before your surgery date to ensure that the medication is entirely out of your system. This requirement dramatically reduces the risk of delayed gastric emptying and aspiration in patients while under general anesthesia.

When can I start using Ozempic again after my plastic surgery?

During your recovery from plastic surgery, you must consume adequate protein and nutrients and stay well-hydrated to heal well. GLP-1 agonists significantly reduce a patient’s appetite, which may lead to dehydration, constipation, and insufficient healing from nutritional deficiencies. Caloric restriction is not ideal during recovery because your body will need copious amounts of energy to heal and repair tissues and rid itself of waste products.

At Edina Plastic Surgery, we recommend that our patients wait at least 4-6 weeks after surgery before starting up on a GLP-1 agonist prescription again. However, this may vary from patient to patient. This time interval ensures that incisions have had time to heal, swelling and bruising have subsided, and the body has been properly nourished and hydrated during recovery. Wait for clearance from your plastic surgeon before starting a prescription like Ozempic® after your plastic surgery. This short interval of time off of your medication should not put a significant stall on any weight loss efforts and is worth it to ensure you have a safe and smooth surgery!

Have you been considering plastic surgery? Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your goals with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons by calling or texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE.

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