My PS recommended not doing lipo on the flanks along with the tummy tuck. Is this the norm?

My PS recommended not doing lipo on the flanks along with the tummy tuck. Is this the norm?

Doctor Answers 7

Good Idea

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When performing a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), two of the four blood supplies are lost when removing the excess skin and tissues.  Much of the blood supply now has to come from the upper flanks to the tissues.  Liposuctioning in this area can cause a further compromise to the skin and tissue, leading to necrosis.

I would recommend SmartLipo about three months after your tummy tuck to improve the contours to your flanks.

If you are talking about lower down on the flanks where the incision is to be made, then it should be safe to perform some liposuction in this area.

Abdominoplasty and liposuction of the flanks

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Timing and planning of multiple surgical procedures is a common question and patient concern.  Combining an abdominoplasty and liposuction is not an unusual request.  There is a slightly higher risk of complications with this combination.  The main concern is over suctioning of the upper abdomen as this can compromise the blood supply to the lower abdomen and cause wound healing problems.  As long as you are in good physical health and have no overriding medical conditions you should be a good candidate. With this combination the highest priority has to be safety and the prevention of DVT and PE.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Flank Liposuction and Tummy Tuck

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As noted below, without a photograph it is impossible to give you perfect advice. Generally speaking, it is safe to perform some element of liposuction along the posterior hips and flank region during a tummy tuck.  I routinely offer this to my patients to contour the outer aspect of their hip/flank region so that there is an overall improvement in the shape (more of an hourglass figure).  Because liposuction does not involve cutting blood vessels, the blood supply is not going to be damaged to the same degree as a skin removing operation (tummy tuck).  However, the surgeon should be very careful with liposuction of the upper abdomen in combination with a tummy tuck because this is the area with the least blood supply once it is moved into its new position and liposuction in that region can increase complications.  There is certainly nothing wrong with splitting the procedures apart, but that means more than one surgery and anesthesia, more cost, and more recovery time.  You should revisit the discussion with your board certified plastic surgeon to make sure that you are doing what is best for your specific situation.  Good luck!

Liposuction of the flanks is common with Tummy Tuck

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I perform liposuction of the flanks and/or saddlebags at the same time as tummy tuck in the majority of my patients because it allows the entire lower torso to be in better harmony at the end.  However, about 25% of patients do not need this area contoured because they may have a more athletic build or be slimmer in the hips and waist. 

Tripti Burt, MD
Plainfield Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Liposuction of the flanks and tummy tuck

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Flank liposuction is commonly performed when indicated in patients undergoing tummy tucks. Howeever, not everyone needs it.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Lipo on the flanks along with the tummy tuck

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Liposuction of the flanks if often done at the time of TT, provided that it is needed. Without a photo or a comment as to why your surgeon recommended not to do it, I wouldn't what to guess as to what you should have done.

Did the surgeon think you don't need it or that it should be done at another time?

A little more info and some photos will increase your chances of getting useful responses on RealSelf.

Thanks and best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon


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Without a picture it would be hard to give you adequate advice. Without seeing you It's hard for us to say why he would decide not to do lipo of the flanks. In our practice it usually comes together tummy tuck and liposuction of the flanks.

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills 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.