Newsfeeds are flooded with the term “Ozempic Face,” which describes the rapid aging effect weight-loss patients may experience after losing fat in the face. Rising popularity of weight-loss injections has sparked the viral phrase, but what’s happening to the face is also happening to the body, say surgeons. According to body experts, changes to the face are a precursor to similar changes that will occur in the body. With this new wave of weight loss happening across the country, they predict an uptick in body-contouring procedures and some changes to how they’re performed.
Dispelling the “Ozempic Face” Myth
While it’s easy to blame the drugs for the volume loss people are noting with their goal weight, it’s actually the same process one would experience with gastric bypass surgery or any other means of massive weight loss, says Newton Centre, MA plastic surgeon Joseph Russo, MD. “People are making a mountain out of a molehill with the term ‘Ozempic Face,‘” he says. “Massive weight loss patients often complain of having a deflated appearance after losing so much weight, no matter how they lose it.”
Waistlines Will Shrink
You might think that after the face the next places to sag are the bust and buttocks, but Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD shares that the waistline will show the most change. “I personally have had a lot of people in my practice on it and I think we are about two years away from seeing a huge uptick in body procedures because of these drugs,” he explains. “The number-one change people will see is in the abdomen. They work by inducing appetite suppression and slowing gastric motility, so you’ll see a drop in excess body and abdominal fat, and an increase in the proportion of lean body mass.”
Houston, TX, plastic surgeon German Newall, MD agrees that one of the most positive effects of the recent Ozempic-fueled weight-loss story is the reduction of visceral fat. “This is the fat surrounding your organs, which cannot be removed using liposuction,” he says. “Loss of this type of fat will result in better aesthetic outcomes post- tummy tuck or liposuction surgery.”
Breasts May Need a Lift
According to Grand Rapids, MI plastic surgeon David R. Alfonso, MD many patients will notice some changes in their breasts, especially with rapid loss: “I recommend my patients be stable with their weight for at least four to six months before undergoing a breast or body-contouring procedure,” he says.
“When you’re young your breasts are mostly glandular and there is really isn’t much fat in them,” adds Dr. Russo. “As we get older, the breasts become progressively fatter and less glandular and tend to respond more to weight gain or loss.” Fortunately, volume to the breasts can be restored with breast implant surgery or fat grafting says Dr. Newall.
Less Contouring, More Tightening
For many weight-loss patients, lax skin becomes the biggest concern. “I think these weight-loss drugs used in the right manner prescribed by the appropriate physicians is going to have a great benefit for the public to improve their overall health,” says La Jolla, CA plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD. “I think it will ultimately be a boom for plastic surgery because people will look in the mirror, they’ll see more laxity and they’re going to want to put things back into position.”
“The other interesting thing, is it will change the type of contouring that we do,” adds Dr. Durkin. “Typically, we plastic surgeons are better with skin than we are with fat. Now, there’s a lot less fat to contour.”
Prior Fat Transfers May Require Revising
Rapid weight loss can also disrupt any fat transfers someone has undergone in a previous breast or butt augmentation. “Grafted fat acts like the tissue from where it was taken, this is termed ‘donor site memory,'” notes Pittsburgh, PA plastic surgeon Jeffrey Antimarino, MD. He points out that the most common donor sites for fat grafting are the abdomen and hips, which are also the most common areas affected by weight loss. “So, if a patient has undergone a BBL and then has significant weight loss, they will lose volume in the buttocks or any other area that was grafted.”
Ironically, the answer to restoring fat that was transferred to reshape the breast and butt is to put more fat back in. “Just as we would use filler and fat transfer to give the face those youthful contours lost with a rapid weight loss, we take that same approach with the body,” notes Dr. Russo.