The huge popularity of weight loss drugs like Wegovy is fueling another cosmetic trend: plastic surgery to lift sagging skin.
With hundreds of thousands of Wegovy and Ozempic recipes written every week in America, the number of people seeking its almost magical weight loss possibilities couldn’t be greater.
But along with rapid weight loss comes a problem: a bunch of loose skin and a skinny face. While a person’s skin becomes more elastic to account for weight gain, sometimes stretched skin may require surgical removal.
Plastic surgeons told DailyMail.com that the rise of these weight-loss drugs — along with social media stars like the Kardashians and Blac Chyna going for “thinner” looks in recent years — has sparked a huge shift in cosmetic trends.
Dr. Gary Linkov, who has a practice in New York City, told DailyMail.com that requests for tummy tucks, face, eye, and neck lifts, and buccal facial fillers have skyrocketed over the past year. Many of these patients seek these treatments after losing weight rapidly. Courtney Kleinebreil, 28 of Orlando,
Courtney Kleinebreil, 28 of Orlando, Florida is shown. People who have taken Ozempic, Wegovy, or Mounjaro lose a lot of weight in a relatively short time, leaving loose or excess skin
Pictured is Tik Tok user Tara Jay documenting her weight loss process on her page. Carrying extra weight for long periods can damage the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin, making it more difficult to regain weight after drastic weight loss
“With these drugs like Ozempic, you now have this extra fat loss,” explained Dr. Linkov out.
“So people just look skinnier. So then they come in and want more padding [to have fat] reinsert.
‘You also see a slackening that occurs when you lose a good amount of fat. So there is sagging from gravity and aging, but there is also a sagging that can occur from the loss of fat. Of course, when things go down, you’re now looking at lift-type procedures.”
Dr. Steven Cohen, who works as a cosmetic surgeon in San Diego, California, told DailyMail.com, “Probably 25 percent of our patients come in with significant leanness, losing a lot of deep fat, they get hollowing in their temples, they look in place of them having mumps.’
They look upside down [of] if you suck your cheeks together, that’s what happens when you start to lose some of the components of deep fat.”
He went on to explain that “what’s happening is buccal fat loss.”
Buccal fat is padding in the inner lining of a person’s cheeks. Operations to remove it have exploded in popularity in recent years.
Much of this weight loss can be attributed to semaglutide, the active drug behind the Wegovy and Ozempic brand names.
Dr. Gary Linkov (left), a New York-based plastic surgeon, said tummy tucks, neck lifts, and face fillers have become more common since Ozempic’s arrival. Dr. Steven Cohen (right), a plastic surgeon from California, said a quarter of his patients now come in with significant thinness
Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, a plastic surgeon at Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery in California, told DailyMail.com that the vast majority of post-semaglutide patients he’s seen are older women, who have less collagen in their skin than younger bodies whose skin recedes more easily. fit the new size of the body.
He usually performs body contouring, including tummy tucks, arm lifts, and breast lifts.
Dr. Kaplan said, “We’re seeing an uptick, there’s no question about that. Usually, people are interested in a tummy tuck.
“We don’t necessarily see an increase in fillers for weight loss. Fillers may not be enough to fix it, they don’t give the contouring result that people want.’
Manufactured by the Danish company Novo Nordisk, the drug was originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes in 2012.
It received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 under the name Ozempic.
As an unintended side effect of the drug, many Ozempic users quickly lost weight. This led to Novo rebranding semaglutide as Wegovy, an alternate version used only for weight loss.
In clinical studies, Wegovy showed that it can help a person lose 15 percent of their body weight over 68 weeks when taken alongside a diet and fitness plan.
The drug’s popularity reached the stratosphere after it was approved by the FDA in 2021. The demand for it was so high that – along with Novo’s supply problems – it was hard to come by for much of 2022.
It turned out to be a godsend for many overweight and obese Americans.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that 70 percent of the US population is overweight and 40 percent obese, the US market was huge.
It was further boosted by the hype around the drug generated by celebrities and stars on social media. Rumor has it Kim Kardashian used it to lose weight fast to fit into an iconic Marilyn Monroe dress for the 2022 Met Gala.
Tech mogul and Twitter owner Elon Musk admitted to using it for his weight loss transformation.
Now a new competitor has entered the market. Mounjaro, also a GLP-1 drug, was developed by Eli Lilly.
It was approved by the FDA in 2022 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Like Ozempic, it also has the additional effect of causing rapid weight loss – with many Americans eager to shed pounds by taking it off-label.
TikTok user Kahlin Grant said of her experience after obesity shots, “A lot of people see my thin arms and legs and question my weight loss. I can thank genetics for those areas… My stomach, not so much. Even after losing 88 pounds, you won’t be seeing me in a bikini anytime soon lol. We all have problem areas, even after major weight loss
Weight loss drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic have fueled changing trends in plastic surgery. Doctors now say ‘thin’ is in, replacing the thicker movements of the mid-2010s (file photo)
Lilly is also seeking FDA approval for the drug as a weight loss treatment.
With the rise of these drugs came a shift in beauty preferences. The “fat,” pear-shaped look that many craved in the mid-2010s has now been replaced by a thinner look.
Dr. William Koenig, a plastic surgeon based in Rochester, New York, told DailyMail.com that the rise of semaglutide goes “hand-in-hand” with an increase in tummy tucks and fillers.
He said he had seen an increase in tummy tucks in his practice over the past year.
“Being lean is more achievable with these drugs,” he explained.
“People look at themselves and decide they want to be skinnier.”
He went on to say ‘the influencers, they influence. They seem certain [to now have] more angular faces, less chest, and a smaller body.’
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, ensures a firmer and thinner abdomen by removing excess skin.
It is a favorite among people who have just lost weight, or mothers hoping to recover from childbirth.
Other procedures include face and neck lifts, known as rhytidectomies, where the skin is removed from the areas to prevent sagging and wrinkles.
In performing these procedures, which are Dr. Koenig’s specialty, he said it “isn’t unusual to see a patient named Wegovy.”
Dr. Linkov, who also runs a YouTube channel where he discusses recent plastic surgery trends, told DailyMail.com that he is concerned about this trend.
He described it as “cyclical” – with people first taking Wegovy, Ozempic, or their competitor Mounjaro to lose weight, then undergoing surgery to adjust to the impact those drugs had on their bodies.
When trends change again, many people will return for another cosmetic procedure that fits what is popular at the time.
However, he warns that chasing plastic surgery trends is more dangerous than fashion.
“It’s like having a pair of pants you want to change versus your actual body is one thing.” I think in a sense the body is much more resistant to change, and the changes, especially surgical changes, all have their risks,” he explained.
“There’s no real risk in changing your pants to a different brand or style, except maybe as a public mockery or something.”
Experts warn Ozempic is causing a wave of plastic surgeries to fix loose skin