Ozempic or Wegovy vs. Weight Loss Surgery

Ozempic or Wegovy vs. Weight Loss Surgery: What You Need to Know

You may have heard of Ozempic and Wegovy, two drugs that have been hailed as breakthroughs in the fight against obesity — a condition that the World Health Organization cites as a global epidemic. But behind the glowing headlines, there is a reality not many know about. While these medications can help you lose weight, they are not without potential health risks that usually go unmentioned. 

In contrast, bariatric surgery, with decades of research backing its safety and effectiveness, offers to not just facilitate weight loss but also improve a wide range of obesity-related conditions. 

Ozempic and Wegovy For Weight Loss

Developed by Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company, Ozempic was first approved by the FDA in 2017 for type 2 diabetes management. Wegovy, followed suit for chronic weight management in 2021. Both contain semaglutide, a compound that mimics a hormone called GLP-1, which regulates appetite and insulin secretion. 

Both Ozempic and Wegovy are prescribed as a once-weekly injection. The medication comes in a pre-filled, disposable, single-use pen that’s used to inject the drug under the skin (subcutaneously). It can be injected into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm.  

So, these drugs are not your everyday “diet pills” and neither do they act like it. They work by hijacking your body’s satiety signals so as to trick your brain into feeling full and reducing hunger. The result is a potential reduction in calorie intake and, subsequently, weight loss.

It sounds ideal, but Wegovy and Ozempic side effects can be as mild as nausea and as severe as pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. There is also the risk of gastric reflux, gallbladder issues, kidney injury, and thyroid tumors. 

In addition to these side effects of Ozempic, there is a growing number of reports about patients suffering from stomach paralysis. This has resulted in legal action, with Novo Nordisk facing a lawsuit in August over allegations that Ozempic induced this debilitating condition. 

Taking one of these drugs might help you achieve your body goals – but only as long as you continue taking them. Clinical trials have shown that when patients stop taking them, they tend to regain weight. This makes sense because drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy don’t address the underlying behaviors and physiological factors that contribute to obesity. 

Not to mention these drugs are not meant for the casual dieter. They are strictly intended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or 27 or higher with at least one weight-related condition, like hypertension. 

Yet, with obesity rates soaring — nearly 42% of US adults are considered obese — the allure of a “simple” weight loss injection is strong. 

The truth is, Ozempic and Wegovy are not one-size-fits-all solutions. They are powerful medical interventions with a highly specific target audience. For someone who is slightly overweight, looking to shed a few pounds, or not committed to a long-term health plan, these drugs could do more harm than good. They are NOT the quick fix the social media might have you believe. Instead, they require careful consideration, a doctor’s guidance, and a comprehensive approach to weight loss.

Weight Loss Surgery

When it comes to losing significant weight and keeping it off for good, bariatric surgery continues to stand the test of time. Unlike the temporary fixes promised by weight loss drugs, surgical interventions give you a tangible, long-term solution. 

Bariatric surgery covers several procedures, including gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and adjustable gastric banding (or lap band), each tailored to the unique needs of the patient. 

Gastric bypass, considered the gold standard, creates a small pouch from your stomach and connects it directly to the small intestine. The gastric sleeve procedure takes a different route by removing approximately 80% of the stomach, leaving a tube-like structure. In lap band surgery, a modifiable band is placed around the upper part of your stomach; this creates a tiny pouch that can hold less food. All these procedures limit the amount of food you can eat and reduce the formation of hunger-inducing hormones in your body. 

The reason why surgical intervention might be better for you than the latest drugs like Ozempic for weight loss is because it is permanent as well as powerful. Bariatric surgery has a track record of delivering sustained weight loss. Studies show that patients on average lose 50% to 70% of their excess weight within 12 months of surgery. This weight loss happens in stages, with most patients losing 30-50% in the first six months and more than 75% in 18 to 24 months. The majority of patients are able to maintain this change for decades after the procedure. 

For those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40, or 35 with obesity-related conditions, results from surgery can be even more dramatic. One recent study has found that people who undergo any kind of bariatric surgery are 16% less likely to die from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other obesity-related issues. 

Ozempic vs Wegovy vs Weight Loss Surgery: Comparing Risks and Benefits


  • Ozempic/Wegovy: Mimics GLP-1 to reduce appetite and control blood sugar.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: Physically changes the digestive system to restrict food intake and calorie absorption.

Intended Use

  • Ozempic/Wegovy: For people with a BMI of 30+ (or 27+ with weight-related conditions).
  • Weight Loss Surgery: For people with a BMI of 40+ (or 35+ with serious weight-related health conditions).

Duration of Treatment

  • Ozempic/Wegovy: Ongoing; requires continuous use for lasting effects.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: Permanent; results can last a lifetime with proper diet and lifestyle changes.

Average Weight Loss

  • Ozempic/Wegovy: 5% to 15% of excess body weight.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: 50% to 70% of excess body weight.

Side Effects

  • Ozempic/Wegovy: Nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, intestinal blockage, and risk of thyroid tumors.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: Potential surgical risks; but long-term side effects are generally related to nutritional deficiencies which can be managed.

Health Benefits

  • Ozempic/Wegovy: Can improve blood sugar levels and contribute to weight loss.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: Can lead to significant improvements or reversal of diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and other obesity-related conditions.


  • Ozempic/Wegovy: Wegovy/Ozempic price is $900 and $1,300 per month before insurance; recurring costs for indefinite period.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: $7,500 to $30,000 before insurance; one-time cost.

Commitment Level

  • Ozempic/Wegovy: Requires adherence to a medication schedule.
  • Weight Loss Surgery: Requires a lifelong commitment to dietary changes and physical activity.
Ozempic or Wegovy vs Weight Loss Surgery

Things To Consider Before Choosing An Option

When deciding between Wegovy vs Ozempic or a bariatric surgery, keep in mind that these drugs are very new and as such, side effects of Ozempic/Wegovy are still coming to light. 

The FDA has linked 18 cases of intestinal blockages to Ozempic so far, with two fatalities reported among users of semaglutide-containing drugs. Beyond these risks, you also need to consider your current health, including any pre-existing conditions that may get worse because of these adverse effects. For example, if you have a history of gastrointestinal issues, the risk of intestinal blockage that comes with Ozempic weight loss side effects cannot not be overlooked. 

Also, if you cannot commit to changing your diet and getting more active, it won’t matter whether you choose the drugs or surgery. Bariatric surgery is more invasive than drugs, but it’s also a more permanent solution, which can lead to sustained weight loss without the need for ongoing medication.

If you still have questions about what is Ozempic, how does Ozempic work, or which bariatric surgery to choose, consulting with a healthcare professional can help you determine the best course of action based on your medical history and potential for long-term success. 

Your Path to Transformation Starts Here!

Ready to shed those extra pounds and embrace a healthier future? Act now and contact us to start your weight loss surgery journey. Your best self is just a decision away!

Similar Posts