Do I Need to Get Lipo on my Love Handles Done for my Tummy Tuck to Look Right? (photo)

I am 30 years old, 5'3 and 130 lbs. I just had my second and final child 5 mo ago (I have been at my pre preg weight since a week after his birth). I am scheduling a full tummy tuck and will obviously ask my PS what he thinks but want more than just one opinion. If I'm getting surgery, it might as well be the best option - I'm pretty happy with my general size, I just want to be firmer and smaller around my stomach.

Doctor Answers 8

Liposuction Improves Most Tummy Tuck Results

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From an aesthetic standpoint, most tummy tuck patients are going to benefit by liposuction in the flanks or love handle areas. Most women think that the tummy tuck effect goes further around the waistline than it does. So if liposuction is not done, disappointment is likely. If you have no problems further out on your sides than your hip points, then you don't need liposuction. Your pictures, however, show fullness around the sides into the back. Reducing this will help give a more shapely waistline in a near circumferential fashion.

Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

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Hi DallasKatt,

Great question! I think almost every tummy tuck patient can benefit from liposuction in the areas of the front hips and waist area. At the very least this can decease the chance of "dog-ears" at the ends of the tummy tuck scar. I include this in my fee quote.

Based on the pictures I see, I don't think it would be absolutely necessary for you to have liposuction to have a good result. So if the extra expense would be out of your budget range, I think you could still have a positive outcome without the liposuction.

Best of luck.

Stephen M. Lazarus, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon

Love handle liposuction with a tummy tuck?

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Thank you for your question and for your photographs.


I think it's very important to consider the love handle area when performing a tummy tuck. The shape and contour of the hip can often make a dramatic aesthetic difference in the overall appearance of tummy tuck surgery.

For the purpose of the tummy tuck I divide the love handle or the flank into two areas.  The frontal flank, and the posterior flank.  Some people carry their love handles on their sides (the frontal flank), and in some cases the love handle goes all the way around as part of a bulge above the buttocks (the posterior flank).

All of my tummy tucks include liposuction all the frontal flank if I think that will benefit the patient.  The frontal flank is defined by what I can reach during surgery with a patient in a face up position.

When my patients have the love handle going around to the backside I feel that the best way to approach this by performing liposuction from the backside with the patient face down before the tummy tuck.  This patient  flip flop adds more time to the surgery and costs more but gives a circumferential contouring of the entire waist.

While your photographs are helpful it is really a physical exam that will help to determine what is best for you.  If my patients feel full on the side or have specific bulge  I recommend frontal flank liposuction only.  If I can feel that fullness working its way towards the backside I recommend a combination of the two.  In some patients I don't recommend additional liposuction at all.

Based on your photograph I suspect you would benefit from some degree of flank liposuction but I would have to examine you to see if you would do better with front alone or both.

Clearly your best option is to get a candid opinion from your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Tummy tuck and love handle lipos

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Thank you for this good question and pictures. You are a good candidate for a Tummy tuck. Most patients do benefit from additional love handle (flanks) liposuction. I prefer the Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty which allows for more precise liposuction and sculpting while keeping the blood supply intact and safe. Best of luck. 

Kevin Tehrani, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Liposuction of love handles with Tummy Tuck

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Liposuction of the love handles (or flanks) is quite common during a tummy tuck procedure. Though not always necessary, it may help improve the contour that the tummy tuck will give.

Asaad H. Samra, MD
New Jersey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Do I Need to Get Lipo on my Love Handles Done for my Tummy Tuck to Look Right? (photo)

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In my practice I measure the hip/flank areas to determine if liposuction would benefit. Over the internet I can ONLY guess--- Yes lipo the area. 

Love Handle Liposuction with Tummy Tuck

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While not absolutely necessary, based on your pictures, love handle liposuction would enhance the results of your tummy tuck. Both procedures are frequently done together. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Do I Need to Get Lipo on my Love Handles Done for my Tummy Tuck to Look Right?

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This question can best be answered at a consultation since it does require more than just photos.  The photos are a bit blurry, but the love handles don't jump off the computer screen. The pull on the abdominal muscles and the abdominal skin may well provide enough improvement of the waistline that liposuction would add nothing further. 

Thanks for your question and for the attached photos. Best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.