Bariatric Surgery vs. Semaglutide: Which is Right for You?
Obesity is a prevalent health issue affecting millions worldwide. While diet and exercise are the first line of treatment, they may not be sufficient for some individuals. Bariatric surgery and semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) are two options that can help with weight loss. If you are interested to learn about more options check out the The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) website which has resources on weight loss treatments, including semaglutide.
Bariatric surgery involves making changes to the digestive system to reduce food consumption and absorption. There are various options like the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable gastric band. It’s typically recommended for individuals with a BMI of 40 or above, or a BMI of 35 or above with obesity-related health conditions. Semaglutide is a medication that mimics the effects of the hormone GLP-1 to regulate appetite and blood sugar levels. It’s administered as a weekly injection and is approved for individuals with a BMI of 30 or above.
One difference between the two options is that bariatric surgery is a more invasive procedure that physically alters the digestive system, while semaglutide works by targeting hormones and is an injectable medicaiton. Bariatric surgery has a longer recovery time and higher risk of complications, while semaglutide may cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea. Check out the The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) website for information on bariatric surgery, including risks and benefits.
Bariatric surgery can result in significant weight loss of ~60-80% of excess body weight, while semaglutide typically results in an average total body weight loss of ~15%. Ultimately, the choice between the two options will depend on the individual’s health status, preferences, and goals. Consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended to determine which is the best choice for you.
In summary, bariatric surgery and semaglutide are two options for weight loss. Bariatric surgery physically changes the digestive system, while semaglutide targets hormones that regulate appetite and blood sugar levels. The choice between the two options depends on individual factors.
Highlights – Pros and Cons Bariatric surgery vs. semaglutide
Associated with significant weight loss
Durable long term weight loss
Does not require weekly injections
May resolve numerous obesity related medical conditions
Higher risk associated with surgery and anesthesia like bleeding, infection and blood clots.
Longer recovery time from surgery
Long term complications such as bowel obstrution and hernias
Once weekly injections
No associated recovery time
Less potential complications
Modest weight loss without need for surgery
Lower up front cost
May cause side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
Requires ongoing use to maintain weight loss results
May not be effective for individuals with severe obesity or certain health conditions