Can Liposuction of the abdomen and flanks be done going only through the belly button?

My PS did my surgery one year ago completely through the belly button. I feel like my flanks are the same from behind. She said she cannot redo the lipo because of scar tissue but can do sculpting for an additional 2500. Is it possible to reach my flanks via the bellybutton? I only had minimal fat to begin with. I am 117lbs then and now. If its i possible to reduce my flanks from the bellybutton i think she should redo that area.

Doctor Answers 8

Liposuction of the flanks

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It would be difficult to reach most of the area of the flanks from the belly button. Only the front end of the flanks might be reached from the belly button. Most of the flanks are on the back of your body and to properly perform liposuction of the flanks, the incisions would have to be on the back. 

Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon

difficult to get good results

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It would be very difficult to get good results on your flanks through a belly button incision.  The best location to access the flanks is actually through a posterior incision just above the buttocks.  Redo liposuction or liposculpture is usually possible but as I mentioned earlier, the flanks are best reached through posterior incisions.

Vijay K. Bindingnavele, MD, FACS
Corpus Christi Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction of the flanks - what approach

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Thank you for asking about your liposuction.
  • It sounds as though your surgeon removed the fat in the front of the flanks from a belly button incision.
  • One cannot remove fat from the back of the flanks through the belly button.
  • What do the before photos look like?
  • Even though you are very slim, unless you lose weight after liposuction, the fat will return to new areas.
  • Is it possible that there is more fat in this area because of the previous liposuction?
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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Too good to be true

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It is not possible to reach all of these areas from one incision.  You will have a terrible outcome.  If it sounds too good to be true it is. Sculpting is lipo.  You are being conned.


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The incisions used for liposuction are very small, and usually heal very well. It is better to use several well placed incisions to achieve your desired results. Best of luck.

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

Liposuction of the "Flanks"

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The "Flanks" refers to the love handles on the side of your waistline to your back.   Most commonly people refer to the low back area overlying your kidneys as your flanks.  There is no way to reach this area of the back safely from the belly button.  Secondly, Liposuction definitely can be redone in the same area if needed.   I see many patients who have had prior liposuction elsewhere who come in for touch up lipo of the same areas.   The only ones that are difficult to do due to scar tissue are those that had Smart Lipo or any version of Laser Lipo.   These machines tend to cause MUCH more scar tissue and make revisions much more difficult.  But, that doesn't mean it cant be done.   It's just a lot more difficult.And Sculpting and Liposuction are basically the same thing!

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon


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Hello and thank you for your question. It is difficult to reach the flanks fully from the belly button alone and certainly not the posterior flanks, where most patients desire the greatest change.  I usually make two small incisions, below the bikini line, in addition to the belly button.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Liposuction via umbilicus

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For liposuction of the flanks, I would use two small incisions in that region and not try to tunnel through from the umbilicus.  The scars ultimately heal so as to be invisible.  It is possible that the back was not addressed in the initial procedure. In terms of scar tissue, many patients find a need for subsequent or additional liposuction in the same area and scar tissue is not a major concern.

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.