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A Board-Certified Surgeon Tells Us the Truth about Wegovy vs Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss is crucial if you are struggling with obesity and want to improve your health and overall quality of life. However, losing weight is not easy, and traditional methods like diet and exercise simply don’t work for everyone. If you have found it difficult to lose weight and are looking for a solution beyond diet and exercise, you have probably already heard of Wegovy or other appetite-suppressing weight-loss medications.

While there is no doubt Wegovy is a promising option if you have not been able to lose weight with diet and exercise, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, another recognized weight loss option if you are battling obesity is bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery covers a group of weight loss procedures that alter the digestive system’s anatomy and physiology, helping you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. The most common types of bariatric surgery include a gastric bypass, mini gastric bypass, gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy), and adjustable gastric banding.

Current research indicates bariatric surgery is the most effective long-term treatment for obesity, with studies suggesting patients can lose up to 60% of their excess weight in 12 months and continue to lose more weight up to two years post-op. The surgery also improves other health outcomes, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

We spoke with Dr Omar Paipilla, a board-certified bariatric surgeon, about the key facts about Wegovy and if he thought bariatric surgery is worth having.

Wegovy vs Bariatric Surgery

Dr Paipilla from Be Slim Bariatrics
Dr Omar Paipilla

Dr Paipilla has over 20 years of medical experience and is a well-respected bariatric surgeon who works with Be Slim Bariatrics (BSB). He told us:

“The development of new weight loss injection drugs such as Wegovy, also known as Semaglutide, is especially important for people who can not safely undergo surgery. This medication is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and works by mimicking the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which regulates appetite.

In one clinical trial, participants who received Wegovy lost an average of 15% of their initial body weight over 68 weeks compared to those who received a placebo. It is important to note that this medication may cause several unpleasant side effects. When compared to bariatric surgery within the same time period, patients will lose between 60 to 70% of their excess weight following all types of weight loss surgery procedures.“

Wegovy Side Effects

As with all kinds of medication, Wegovy has a number of associated side effects. Gastrointestinal Wegovy side effects were reported by around 73% of patients using the highest dose of Wegovy in clinical studies.

The most common Wegovy side effects include:

Woman with headache after using 
Wegovy

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Constipation and stomach cramps
  • Feeling bloated and excess gas
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Flu symptoms such as a sore throat or blocked sinuses
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness

Hospitalization from Wegovy SympromsAdditionally, a small number of people have reported some rare, serious Wegovy side effects, including:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Severe allergic reaction (which could be life-threatening)

If you have severe adverse reactions when taking Wegovy, seek medical assistance immediately. If you suspect a medical emergency, call 911 or your area’s emergency number right away.

*For this adverse effect, Wegovy has a boxed warning. This is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) most serious warning.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Bariatric Surgery vs Wegovy

Choosing between Wegovy and bariatric surgery depends on factors such as underlying health conditions and personal preferences. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. As with all surgical procedures, bariatric surgery has potential risks and complications, including bleeding, infection, and malnutrition. It also requires careful evaluation and follow-up by a team of healthcare professionals, including a surgeon and a nutritionist.

The crucial difference is that bariatric surgery is permanent. It’s also important to be aware that Wegovy is not available through insurance unless it is for diabetes treatment. Therefore, compared to bariatric surgery, the overall cost of taking Wegovy long-term will inevitably be substantially higher. Additionally, the maximum duration to remain on Wegovy is two years, meaning when you stop using it, your appetite will return, and you could regain all your lost weight.

Bariatric surgery is a proven and effective way to achieve lasting weight loss. Following all types of weight loss surgery, weight loss within 12 months is substantially greater than after taking Wegovy or other weight-loss appetite-suppressant medications.

There is also no long-term data on the safety and effectiveness of Wegovy, making it difficult to determine its true benefits and risks. In contrast, research has shown bariatric surgery can result in significant weight loss, and numerous studies have recorded improvements in or resolution of various health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea after all types of weight loss surgery.

However, it’s important to note that bariatric surgery is not a magic wand, and you must also commit to making significant lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise to maintain your weight loss results.

Last Thoughts on Wegovy vs Bariatric Surgery

While Wegovy and other weight loss medications may be an option for some individuals, bariatric surgery is still recommended as the more effective and comprehensive approach to weight loss, with long-term benefits for overall health and well-being. When considering weight loss options, you should discuss the risks and benefits of surgery vs weight loss medication with a doctor and a bariatric surgeon to determine the best course of action for your needs.

At BSB, we believe everybody is worthy of the opportunity to alter their nutritional habits and weight for better health and happier life. So, please contact us if you have any inquiries about bariatric surgery. Or fill out our health form to find out if weight loss surgery is right for you.

By arranging accommodation, transportation, and state-of-the-art hospitals staffed by board-certified surgeons, our team works hard to guarantee that bariatric surgery in Mexico is safe, secure, and cost-effective.

Furthermore, at BSB, our financing options cover all bariatric surgery, meaning there’s absolutely nothing to stop you.

FIND OUT IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY

 

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