Are Hip Bulges or Muffin Top Common After a Full Tummy Tuck?

I noticed that alot of full Tummy Tuck after photos seem to show a lot of woman with "hip bulges" more prominent than before surgery. Why does this occur? I am not referring to dog ears but more of sides that double over the hips and give an unflattering figure. How can this be prevented and if it does happen can it be corrected? Is the proper term used muffin top?

Doctor Answers 13

Tummy tucks and hip bulges

Often, some liposuction is done on the flanks at the same time as the tummy tuck. This helps a lot with the flank area.

If loose skin extends very far to the side, as for example when patients have lost a great deal of weight, the tummy tuck incision must be extended further to remove that skin or "dog ears" will result, collections of tissue at the ends of tummy tuck incisions.

Experienced plastic surgeons will give you an idea of how long the incisions will need to be, and all the trade-offs that you might face having this type of surgery.

My advice generallly is try to remove all the dog ears at the time of surgery. They usually don't go away afterwards if the tummy tuck incision stops short of where the loose skin is.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Questions about muffin top bulge after a TT

Most standard abdominoplasty surgical procedures will take care of a muffin type problem.  It is possible that you may eventually need some touch up liposuction.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Hip bulges after Tummy Tuck

If those hip bulges aren't suctioned by liposuction then they are going to be more visible after a tummy tuck since all the extra tissue has how been removed. You'll be able to see it easier and focus on it more! If you're going to go through the trouble of doing an abdomninoplasty then you certainly should consider lipo in this area. It's done in combination very often.

Best Wishes,


Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Extra hip bulges and fat not related to Tummy Tuck

The extra hip bulges are excess fat have NOTHING to do with a tummy tuck. You needed liposuction also at the operation. The doctor made a poor and incomplete diagnosis.

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

"Muffin Top" after tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

The skin excess that occurs with pregnancy does not effect the tummy alone. IT effects the trunk circuferentially as well as having and effect on the skeleton; this can result in alterations in the pelvis and secondarily in posture.

Therefore, a full tummy tuck alone does not address these issues. Although a circumferential belt lipectomy may treat the muffin top, it is more surgery than most women desire and so we generally treat these areas with liposuction alone.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Excessive Hip Fat CAN look more prominent after a Tummy Tuck

It is VERY important to asses the back and hips when being evaluated for a Tummy Tuck. A mild to moderate fat excess along the sacrum ("V zone") and hips will become VERY accentuated when the waist just above it becomes narrower as part of the tummy tightening,

Although the pictures above demonstrate more of the physics of compression and fluid dynamics as well as a lack in judgment in choosing clothes than in hip fat accumulation, (esp. on the left), any such fat deposits SHOULD be liposuctioned at the time of a tummy tuck to get the best results.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Liposuction and tummy tucks

Usually, the area in question (flanks or love handles) can be addressed with liposuction. While the tummy tuck will flatten the abdomen, the scar is usually limited to the lower front abdomen to avoid a visible scar. The remaining area, flank or love handles, can be treated with liposuction to blend the area and contour the body.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Preventing Post-Tummy Tuck Muffin Top

Thanks for your question.

The issue is tummy tuck or abdominoplasty addresses the anterior area of the abdomen -- not the sides. This means that the improvement on the abdomen can actually highlight the problem with the hips.

Typically, in our San Francisco area offices, we address this issue and discuss ways to treat it either at the same time or at a second surgery. The most common way we improve the flanks is with liposuction.

Be sure to talk to your plastic surgeon about the entire mid section to avoid the muffin top problem!

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Liposuction of love handles together with tummy tuck.


What you are seeing are love handles that were not corrected with liposuction at the time of the tummy tuck.  In Manhattan, we not always but very often treat the two areas together. 

Tummy tuck does not make love handles worse. They are just more noticeable when your stomach is flat.

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

Tummy tucks and hip bulges

Often the extra fat that is present around the hips becomes more noticeable after a tummy tuck: the tummy tuck narrows and flattens the waist, and if the extra fat on the hips is not treated, it can be more noticeable than before the procedure. One way to address this is to perform some liposuction either at the time of the tummy tuck or as a separate procedure a few months later. This will create a nice contour and balance between the waist, hips and buttocks, for a more balanced look.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 149 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.