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Over the past year, weight loss drugs have captured the public’s imagination but also raised existential questions about the future of bariatric surgery.

For obesity, surgery has long been — and continues to be — the most effective treatment, reducing patients’ risk of sleep apnea, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death. However, the gap between weight loss drugs and bariatric surgery is starting to narrow after Wegovy cut the risk of major heart complications by 20% in Novo Nordisk’s SELECT trial.


“Personally, I would have taken a 5% reduction,” said Angela Fitch, president of the Obesity Medicine Association, emphasizing that these results symbolize a paradigm shift in obesity medicine. With even more effective weight loss drugs already emerging and other clinical trial evidence on the horizon, the hope is that, with medication, “we would see similar sorts of outcomes that we see with surgery,” said Fitch.

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