Semaglutide (GLP-1) vs. Weight-Loss Surgery

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Patients have more options available than ever before to lose weight, including sleeve surgery and gastric bypass. Now with the advent of semaglutide – the GLP-1 receptor agonist that promotes weight loss – many people wonder if it is right for them. 

For more information about bariatric surgery and your options, call Dr. Ricardo Bonnor, MD, FACS, FASMBS  in Houston at (281) 579-5638.

Solutions for Weight Management

Obesity is a complex metabolic disorder associated with a range of health risks, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. (1) Surgical weight loss procedures like bariatric surgery and medical treatments like semaglutide give hope to those who have struggled to shed excess weight through traditional methods of diet and exercise. However, it can be challenging to know where to start or what method to choose.  Is semaglutide effective in the long run? Can a patient gain weight after stopping semaglutide? And what alternatives are there to this form of weight management?

What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, a class of medications that have long been used for diabetes management. (2) However, as well as receiving considerable media attention, recent clinical trials have shown that semaglutide can also be effective for weight loss in individuals who are overweight or obese.

Semaglutide works by mimicking the effects of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1, which is involved in regulating appetite and glucose metabolism. (3) By activating the GLP-1 receptors in the brain, semaglutide helps reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness. Additionally, it slows down gastric emptying, leading to improved glycemic control and reduced insulin resistance.

Clinical trials have demonstrated the impressive weight loss outcomes achievable with semaglutide. In one study, participants treated with semaglutide achieved an average weight loss of between 9.6%-17.4% of their initial body weight. (4) This goes beyond what has been observed with other weight loss medications currently available on the market.

Disadvantages of Semaglutide

One of the main concerns with semaglutide is the possible side effects that individuals may experience. Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation have been reported by some patients taking the medication. (5) These digestive problems can be uncomfortable and may impact the overall tolerability of the medication.

Another significant drawback of semaglutide is the long-term commitment required to achieve and maintain weight loss results. Consistency in taking the medication as prescribed, along with implementing healthy lifestyle changes, is crucial for success. It is important to recognize that semaglutide is not a quick fix, but rather a tool that must be used consistently over time.

What are “Ozempic Face” and “Ozempic Body”?

Ozempic is one of the brand names of semaglutide. “Ozempic Face” and “Ozempic Body” are terms used to describe the phenomena of hollowed tissue and sagging skin following semaglutide treatment. Many patients experience this undesirable side effect after taking the medication.

Is Semaglutide Right for Me?

Unfortunately, there is no magic solution for weight loss. While semaglutide is a useful short-term tool for weight management, there is strong evidence to show that as soon as a patient stops its use, they put weight back on. This is why many people choose weight-loss surgery as a more permanent solution.

Book a personal consultation with Dr. Bonnor to find out more about weight management solutions. Contact our Houston, TX office at (281) 579-5638. 

Benefits of Weight-Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery consistently demonstrates superior results in terms of long-term weight loss compared to semaglutide alone. With bariatric surgery, patients experience substantial reductions in excess body weight, which leads to improved overall health and well-being that lasts.

In addition to weight reduction, bariatric surgery addresses underlying metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which may not be as effectively managed through semaglutide treatment alone. In fact, bariatric surgery has the potential to induce long-term remission of type 2 diabetes. (6) By addressing these issues at their root cause, bariatric surgery can significantly improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of associated complications.

Surgical Procedures at Texas Endosurgery Associates include:

Surgery not only addresses weight loss but also various health conditions, quality of life, longevity, and psychological well-being. It offers patients a transformative and life-changing solution to their obesity-related concerns.

See our weight-loss surgery FAQ for more information.

Am I a Good Candidate for Weight-Loss Surgery?

Determining whether you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery requires a comprehensive evaluation of various factors. A crucial aspect of this process is the calculation of Body Mass Index (BMI), which takes into account height and weight. Generally, candidates for bariatric surgery have a BMI of 40 or higher. However, there is something of a misconception that only very obese people can receive this type of treatment. In fact, individuals with lower BMIs between 35 and 40 may also be considered if they have comorbidities related to their obesity, particularly metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes. (7) 

Commonly Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is semaglutide as effective as weight-loss surgery?

Semaglutide has been successful for many people around the world, however, its results only last as long as you are taking the medication. Weight-loss surgery is a more permanent and effective solution for long-term weight management.

Who is prescribed semaglutide?

Semaglutide is typically prescribed for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with the presence of weight-related medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.

What is sleeve surgery?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a bariatric surgery procedure where a large portion of the stomach is surgically removed, leaving behind a smaller, banana-shaped sleeve. This reduces the stomach’s capacity and helps control hunger by changing the hormones related to appetite and satiety.

What is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass involves creating a smaller stomach pouch by stapling or dividing the stomach and then rerouting the small intestine to connect to this new pouch. This procedure limits the amount of food that can be eaten and reduces calorie absorption, leading to weight loss.

How do I find out which weight management treatment is right for me?

It is essential to consult with a board-certified bariatric surgeon to find out the most effective weight loss treatment for your needs. Through a detailed personal consultation, your doctor will create a personalized treatment plan based on your unique needs.


  1. Panuganti KK, Nguyen M, Kshirsagar RK. Obesity. PubMed. Published 2022. 
  2. Andreadis P, Karagiannis T, Malandris K, et al. Semaglutide for type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2018;20(9):2255-2263. doi: 
  3. Bergmann NC, Davies MJ, Lingvay I, Knop FK. Semaglutide for the treatment of overweight and obesity: A review. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2022;25(1). doi: 
  4. Chao AM, Tronieri JS, Amaro A, Wadden TA. Clinical Insight on Semaglutide for Chronic Weight Management in Adults: Patient Selection and Special Considerations. Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2022;Volume 16:4449-4461. doi: 
  5. Li J, Cao J, Wei J, Geng W. Case Report: Semaglutide-associated depression: a report of two cases. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2023;14. doi: 
  6. Chumakova-Orin M, Vanetta C, Moris DP, Guerron AD. Diabetes remission after bariatric surgery. World Journal of Diabetes. 2021;12(7):1093-1101. doi: 
  7. Eisenberg D, Shikora SA, Aarts E, et al. 2022 American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) Indications for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Obesity Surgery. Published online November 7, 2022. doi: