Addressing Ozempic Body: What It Is & How To Treat It

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Prostock-Studio/ShutterstockOzempic, while not initially developed as a weight loss solution, has gained popularity as an effective tool for shedding pounds. However, like any medication, it comes with potential side effects and considerations. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I've observed a recurring phenomenon known as the "Ozempic Body." This term refers to the noticeable shifts in body composition that individuals may undergo while using Ozempic; let's talk more about it.

Body Composition Changes in Ozempic Users: Common Phenomenon?

Ozempic and related medications accelerate weight loss and decrease body fat percentage. Areas that are most susceptible to appearance change with weight loss tend to be those that are most dependent on fat volume for structural integrity. This includes sites like the face, breasts, and buttocks. The extreme weight loss seen with these medications can lead to breast ptosis (or “drooping”) since the loss in fatty volume “deflates” the breast and can lead to a ptotic or droopy appearance.

Predicting Ozempic User Body Composition Changes

The more one’s anatomy is dependent on fat volume for its appearance, the more susceptible one will be to these changes. For example, if someone’s breasts have a great deal of breast tissue but not much fat, weight loss with Ozempic will change their appearance less. Alternatively, for someone whose breast volume is largely composed of fat with less breast tissue, weight loss will have a more dramatic impact on their appearance. Similarly for the buttocks, if someone has well-developed gluteal muscles and just a small volume of fat in the area, weight loss will have less of an impact on their appearance. In someone with a great deal of fat in their buttocks and less developed gluteal muscles, weight loss will have a more significant impact on their appearance.

Ozempic's Impact on Metabolism & Fat Distribution

Ozempic and related medications mimic a naturally occurring hormone, called GLP-1. Your body releases GLP-1 when you are full after a meal to signal “satiety”, or the feeling of being full. Taking Ozempic makes your body think it is releasing large levels of GLP-1. Ozempic works by slowing the rate food leaves the stomach (“gastric emptying”) and by signaling the brain that the body has enough food on board. Ozempic, therefore, leads to decreased food and calorie intake and a corresponding decrease in body fat.

Treatments to Address Changes

If you are taking Ozempic for weight loss, there isn’t much you can do to prevent the changes from occurring. This is because it is the loss of fatty volume that both decreases your weight and can cause undesirable volume decreases. There are, however, a range of procedures that can be performed to mitigate or reverse the aesthetically undesirable effects of Ozempic. These range from minimally invasive skin tightening procedures like BodyTite for mild to moderate skin laxity to tummy tucks, arm lifts, and thigh lifts for more severe skin laxity. Fat grafting can be performed to selectively restore fat volume as needed (e.g. to the face, breasts, and buttocks). The key here is to wait until the patient is stable at their goal weight, or else these procedures can essentially be “undone” with further weight loss.

When to Reevaluate Dosage

Your Ozempic treatment plan should be governed by safety above all else. As long as you are consuming adequate nutrients, your Ozempic dosing can then be adjusted to control your rate of weight loss and potentially the severity and rapidity of changes in your appearance.

Current Research and Insights

This is something that is being closely monitored by both clinical investigators and regulatory bodies. We do not yet have sufficient data to make specific recommendations in this arena, so we are very actively pursuing more information here. As these medications become more popular, our information-gathering efforts will see more rapid progress.

Long-Term Health Implications

Ozempic and related medications cause weight loss not only by decreasing fatty volume but also by reducing lean muscle mass and even potentially bone density. It is critical for people taking these medications to follow closely with a weight management physician to ensure they are getting adequate nutrients and supplementing as needed for healthy body function.

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