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New Techniques in Weight Loss: The Skinny Shot and Plastic Surgery

Almost every plastic surgeon, cosmetic medical specialist, and aesthetic blogger will tell you that before you undergo plastic surgery, you should be at or near your goal weight. This is perhaps most important when it comes to body surgeries like tummy tuck, brachioplasty, or thigh lift, but it is also a major consideration with a facelift or neck lift. During most plastic surgeries, skin is removed, underlying tissue might be adjusted, and pockets of fat may be sculpted and contoured. In addition, sutures are delicately placed by a surgeon for optimal healing, proper skin tension, and the most minimal scarring possible. 

Now imagine if, after all those changes, 20 to 30 plus pounds are lost (or gained). The skin will stretch or deflate and change, underlying muscles and tissue may shift, and, of course, any contouring may be completely lost. Many surgeons agree that 10 to 15 pounds of fluctuation shouldn’t affect your results too much and is a safe amount of weight to lose or gain after surgery. But to keep the full integrity of your optimal results intact, it is best to be at or very close to your goal weight at the time of surgery and to stay there.

So, based on the weight loss stats for the “skinny shot,” when should you start seeking injections? First, let’s start with how semaglutide and other weight-loss injections work.

How a “Skinny Shot” Works for Weight Loss

The “skinny shot” is a catchy term for a few different medications that have become increasingly popular over the last few years to aid with weight loss. The medication called semaglutide is sold under brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, while a similar drug, tirzepatide, is sold as Mounjaro. These medications work to stimulate weight loss primarily through advanced appetite control.

Known as the very technical-sounding glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, semaglutide and tirzepatide mimic GLP-1, a hormone that regulates both blood sugar and insulin. What that means simply is that stomach emptying is delayed, and you feel full longer, which in turn means you eat less and ultimately lose weight. Tirzepatide has a second mechanism of action that increases insulin release to lower blood sugar by stimulating the gastric inhibitory peptide receptor (GIP). This helps patients to lose weight faster than with semaglutide.

Using Semaglutide or Tirzepatide to Prepare for Plastic Surgery

If you are interested in plastic surgery but need to get closer to your goal first, using semaglutide or tirzepatide through supervised medical weight loss may be a great option.

Keep in mind that depending on how much weight you need to lose, you may need to plan well ahead. In one large clinical trial with semaglutide, average weight loss was 34 pounds over the course of 68 weeks or about 16 to 18 months. If you need to lose more than 30 pounds, most surgeons recommend waiting about three months from the time you reach your goal weight to the time of surgery, so your body can stabilize.

For more extensive surgeries like tummy tuck or mommy makeover, recommendations might be to achieve a stable weight for as long as six months or more. This means if you are trying to lose a lot of weight and start receiving shots right away, you may not be able to schedule surgery for one to two years.

It’s also worth mentioning while discussing preparation that many patients do not make major lifestyle changes in terms of diet or strenuous exercise when taking semaglutide or tirzepatide. That said, certain habits like healthy eating, staying hydrated, and building muscle can be extremely helpful to the post-surgical healing process and aid in better skin elasticity.

Taking Semaglutide or Tirzepatide Ahead of Plastic Surgery

Losing weight can be a shock to the system, and especially with the aid of medications, your body has gotten used to a different way of functioning. Plastic surgery is also a shock to the body, and it’s crucial for proper healing that your body has stabilized and is healthy enough to recover. Once you reach your goal and are on maintenance therapy if needed, the medication should be paused for one to two weeks prior to surgery to lower the risk of issues with anesthesia.

Resuming Semaglutide or Tirzepatide Following Plastic Surgery

After surgery, maintaining that lost weight is important and your treatment plan may include resuming the medication to help. But keep in mind, immediately after surgery, healing is the priority and patients may be surprised how many calories and how much rest the body truly needs during recovery. This is not the time to be overly strict. Once your surgeon determines that you are fully recovered, shots could be restarted.

Medical Weight Loss and Plastic Surgery: Let’s Make A Plan

Body transformation is exciting! But the timelines and process can be confusing and complicated. The best way to ensure success is to have an aesthetic team on your side who can guide you every step of the way. After a consultation with Dr. Jeremy White and the team at ARC Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL, you can be sure to have a personalized treatment plan that offers a path to outstanding results and detailed guidance.

Your new life starts here

If you’re considering plastic surgery in Miami, Aventura or Fort Lauderdale, choosing the right plastic surgeon could not be more important. Dr. Jeremy White is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the 2021 Doctor’s Choice Award Miami, the 2016 RealSelf Top 500, and the prestigious Castle Connolly Top Doctors Award Winner since 2017. We invite you to have a consultation about the procedure you need. Schedule your consultation today.

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