Embarassed by Fat Ankles. What to Do?

I am so embarrassed about my fat ankles and would like to at least reduce the puffiness. I try to hide with long skirts, slacks. I want to wear pretty shoes, but feel my ugly ankles make that a useless expense.

Doctor Answers 11

Liposuction of the Ankles

Liposuction is the gold standard for treatment of ankles (and large calves) and generally provides excellent results.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Ankle liposuction

Liposuction with tumescent anesthesia and very fine instruments and/or laser assisted liposculpture (SmartLipo, Cool Lipo, Pro Lipo, etc) would offer the least trauma to the region but this is an area of the body that requires careful especially careful attention to detail and technique. This area is prone to a increased incidence of post op problems (swelling, wound healing, etc). So be sure to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon and do not be afraid to ask questions about his/her experience and see photos, possibly talk with other patients who have had it done. If necessary get a second opinion.

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Liposuction of the ankles

A few physicians actually perform liposuction on ankles. There is prolonged swelling when this location is done, and risks of infection and poor circulation causing ulceration and scars is theoretically increased at this site compared with most of the rest of the body.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Liposuction on ankles

"Fat ankles" as you refer to it is a very common complaint. Others use the slang term "cankles". Regardless of terminology, careful liposuction using a variety of techniques (tumescent, laser-assisted) can help the overall size and shape. Make sure you choose your surgeon wisely. This area of the body has a large number of nerves and blood vessels that may be at risk for injury. Also keep in mind that swellign in this area may be more significant than in other areas, and may last longer. Your improvement will be huge, but will not be instant. You should see results that you are happywith in 4 weeks, with continued improvement over the next 6-12 months.

Matthew Schulman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 324 reviews

Liposuction of the ankles

Liposuction as an outpatient procedure under I.V. sedation can easily reduce the buldge that some people have in their ankles. The skin typically retracts well and the incisions are easily hidden in the body's natural contours in the sides of the ankles. Because a procedure on such bony body parts required delicacy, I use several innovative forms of liposuction, including SmartLipo, in order to contour and resculpture the area while providing the most beautiful results with minimal scarring. SmartLipo, used in combination with other forms of liposuction or alone, is a procedure that uses laser light to liquefy fat and tighten the surrounding skin. It involves less downtime and side-effects than traditional liposuction and is particularly good for small areas of fat deposits like the ankles.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Liposuction of ankles... not so fast

Thick ankles can be due to fat, and in uncomplicated cases it is a very gratifying procedure that gives excellent results. The recovery is typically a bit longer than with other areas because of the lymphatic drainage of the leg and the dependent position of the leg.

However if the thickness is due to bone or muscle structure, removal of the fat will be disappointing when the leg looks the same, except now has a few irregularities.

And if the thickness is due to poor veins or poor lymphatics, the procedure could be disappointing since the circulation will be even further disrupted. This in turn can lead to chronic swelling, lymphedema, or chronic discoloration of the skin.

Use of the laser in this area has not been studied and may carry theoretic disadvantages to the circulation if valuable small vessels or lymphatics are cauterized by the laser, particularly in patients with an underlying condition.

A board certified plastic surgeon familiar with all these issues can guide you to which procedure may be safest and most effective.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Possibly Liposuction

Depending on the fat distribution and your particular healh, it may be that some liposuction may be just what you need.  This area has increased risk of complications, but if the patient is properly selected and the procedure is done prudently, you may realize great improvement.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Get those fat ankles Liposuctioned now

Fat ankles and calves do good with the tumescent technique with micro canulas. It is easy to go through and done under local aneshesia so it is very safe. The results are dramatic and almost no down time. Cost is roughly $4000-5000.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Liposuction of the ankles.


Most women with thick ankles can get real improvement after they have tumescent liposuction to sculpture the ankles.  Delicate technique with tiny cannulas is important.  You also need to wear compression stockings for 6 weeks.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Smartlipo for ankles

Smartlipo is a great treatment for fat ankles.  It all really depends on your anatomy, so we can not give a specific answer without examining you or viewing some pictures, but in most cases, liposuction can make a big difference.  

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.