How Effective is Liposuction on the Love Handles?

I just came back from a consult. I'm looking at getting a tummy tuck with lipo in my love handles. I'm 5'4" tall and weigh 140lbs. At my lightest of 128lbs my waist was just under 36". I want to not only get rid of my fat and hanging skin in my belly but also get rid of my love handles and back fat. My PS recommended a belt procedure with lipo for best results but this scares me and is more money than I want to spend. He said love handles are a hard area to lipo. What do you recommend?

Doctor Answers 26

Liposuction for lovehandles

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Liposuction can be an effective technique for love handles. I do have concern that, given the laxity of the skin in your abdomen that the same lack of skin tone could apply to your flanks as well. This can only be assessed in a consutation with a board certified plastic surgeon. From the photographs, it would appear that you would need an abdominoplasty to address the abdominal bulge. Every plastic surgeon makes their own assessment of whether to operate on both the abdomen and the back in the same procedure. I would encourage you not to have a procedure which your own surgeon feel would not be effective.

Liposuction On "Love Handles"

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Liposuction is usually extremely effective for contouring the flanks or “love handles”. If your plastic surgeon recommended a beltplasty procedure, you may have too much excess or loose skin in the flank region to obtain an ideal result with liposuction alone. Just as with contouring the abdomen, contouring the back and flanks may involve a lift procedure, liposuction alone, or a combination of the two.  The back and flanks are probably more likely to be successfully treated with liposuction alone, but sometimes a lift procedure is the best option. If this is more surgery than you are ready to undergo or more than you want to spend at this time, you should consider having the liposuction only with the abdominoplasty. There is really nothing to lose and you will most likely realize a significant improvement in the contour of the flanks, which may be completely satisfactory to you. If there is too much excess skin following this procedure, then you could have completion of the beltplasty at a later date. These procedures are sometimes planned to be performed in stages anyway. If the surgeon with whom you consulted did not consider this a reasonable option, then you may want to seek a second opinion to see if another surgeon would.

Max Polo, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Liposuction with an Abdominoplasty

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The answer really depends on your ultimate goals.  If you simply want to contour and do not mind a little excess skin then doing liposuction in conjunction with a tummy tuck should be great.  I think in your case that should be enough as I routinely perform this type of surgery with going into the back are with the scar.  Just remember you can always add a skin tightening procedure in the future if your goals are not completely met.

Love handle lipo

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Lipo is great for love handles!  However, if you have excess skin, you may also need to have a procedure, like  a body lift, to address that.  Sometimes, just looking at photos, instead of the whole person, does not give us as plastic surgeons enough of an idea of your particular issues, but I'm guessing from your measurements and photos that youare a little overweight.  I woudl first recommend that you try to lose 20 lbs though lifestyle modifications including better diet and more exercise.  Then if there is still residual skin excess and love handles (which nobody loves), then undergo the tummy tuck and lipo.  

David S. Rosenberg, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Liposuction is extremely effective on most love handles/hips.

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You should do great with liposuction on your love handles/hips.  Let your doc do it when doing your tummy tuck and I hope you enjoy the results. 

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Very effective

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Thank you for your question. You seem to have had a good consult and judging by the pictures, you seem to be a candidate for abdominiplasty and a belt liposuction which would include the flanks and the lower back. I would suggest that you try to lose weight prior to the surgery to optimize your results.

Teanoosh Zadeh, MD, FRCSC
Montreal Plastic Surgeon

Love handles and liposuction

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I think love handles or flanks are actually good areas for liposuction. The area is fibrous, making the removal of fat a little more difficult, so the surgeon needs to work a little harder, but the skin is thick there and shrinks quite well. I prefer to use ultrasonic-assisted liposuction there to make it easier to accomplish the fat removal. Removing the fat in the love handles will also give the buttocks a more round contour as the shoulders have been shaved down from the love handle area.It also will allow the waist circumference to go down so the waist looks narrower. 

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Muffin top/love handle treatment?

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Congratulations on what you've accomplished and thank you for the question.
Treatment of the stubborn muffin top involves excision (lipectomy) of excess skin and adipose tissue. Liposuction  surgery alone  will potentially leave you with loose skin and an  unsatisfactory result.

Patients who are undergoing a standard tummy tuck procedure  should be aware however that often an “extended” tummy tuck is necessary to treat the muffin top area. This extended tummy tuck procedure involves flank and back skin and adipose tissue excision as well as liposuction surgery. If liposuction alone is done the patient may still end up with the muffin top and require further surgery to improve the waistline in the future.
Make sure you're working with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tummy tuck and liposuction love handles

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Love handles are usually straight forward to treat with liposuction but your mid flanks are full too and they are pushing down on the love handles.  So in your case, you will see a shelf of fat hanging down over the area of the love handles once the swelling of the surgery goes away and there is maximum retraction of the tissues.  There may be a slighlty greater risk during the surgery when a tummy tuck and liposuction are both done together, and this may increase if the upper back/flank areas are done too.  You can have each procedure done separately if you wish, but make sure you understand the risks by speaking with your surgeon.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Liposuction on Love Handles

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After looking at your photographs, I think you could achieve a very nice improvement by having a tummy tuck, tightening of your tummy muscles and liposuction over the love handle area. I think you might get some very nice improvement without having to have the belt lipectomy at this point in your life. However, I do agree with your other surgeon that over time and continued aging, the belt lipectomy would benefit you. So what your surgeon may have been thinking is that taking care of it all at once might work out better for you than a two-stage procedure. This is a personal choice issue for you and if it works better to do the posterior part of a tummy tuck in the future, I think it would be find to choose. You should consider getting a second opinion, as well.

Deason Dunagan, MD
Huntsville 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.