Will a Tummy Tuck Help Sagging Love Handles?

I have lost a lot of weight (205 to 155), and now I have a lot of loose skin in my love handle area. This is extremely noticeable at night more than day time. I have a lot of stretch marks on my love handle area. I am fine with my stomach and how it looks, just not my love handles, which is mostly excess skin sagging. What can I do?

Doctor Answers 18

Tummy tuck will not help love handles but liposuction may.


Be careful about surgery, because you may find the scars unacceptable. Tummy tuck will not help. Tne back half of a body lift would help, but there are prominent scars. Usually this area is treated with liposuction with superficial tunnelling, which tightens the skin some. But your skin may be too loose for this approach. So I am afraid you don't have great options.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Not an easy problem

The stretch marks are signs the skin has lost some elasticity and lipo alone may not correct the problem. A tummy tuck will not address the flanks unless you extend the scars into the flanks, however this does leave a significant scar imprint. I would probably start with lipo to see what your skin can do with springing back into place.

Sergio Alvarez, MD
Doral Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 339 reviews

Male tummy tuck

It is important that you accept and understand the scars associated with the type of operation that requires you to get the results that you are looking for. For optimal results I would recommend an extended tummy tuck with a scar that would go from hip to hip. You will rid yourself the sagging skin in return for a scar. 

Payman Danielpour, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Loose skin treatment

Congratulations on your weight loss. Losing a lot of weight can often leave you with saggy skin that is unable to firm back up to your leaner contour. The only way to safely and effectively remove this skin is by a tummy tuck. You can try nonsurgical treatments, but they tend to be unpredictable and can take long to achieve results. In addition, they may not achieve the results you want.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Male tummy tuck candidate

I would recommend an extended lower tummy tuck to tighten the skin on the flanks and abdomen.  Any less and you will not have the best results.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Weight Loss and Sagging Love Handles

  • Plastic surgery, with direct excision of the excess skin and fat of your love handles, will leave you with long and noticeable scars.  This is a trade-off: scars vs. excess ("flabby") flank skin.
  • Only you can decide whether or not you can live with long scars extending from your lateral abdomen extending around onto your back.

Please visit with an experienced plastic surgeon who can help you weigh the risk vs. the benefits of this surgery.

Best Regards,

Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews


While a tummy tuck is a possibility, you will have a trade off of loose skin for scars which may be unacceptable.  Consult with 2 - 3 surgeons in your area who can do a thorough consultation including physical examination so you have a clearer idea of the possibilities.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Love handles and excessive skin

I completely agree that you will be trading one concern for another. I would really think about how much this bothers you. If you determine the trade-off is worth it, consult with a reputable board certified plastic surgeon in your area. The surgeon will examine you and discuss the benefits and risks for the appropriate treatment option.

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Understanding the trade you would be making....

Hi there-

In situations like yours, I always explain to my patients that what they have to be comfortable with is making a trade:

You must be comfortable trading the loose, excess skin you have, as well as money and time recovering from surgery, for a body shape that is improved, with less skin and which has scars on it...

I wholeheartedly agree with some of the other surgeons that it is vital that you understand that while the QUANTITY of your skin can be reduced, the QUALITY of your skin will never be restored.

So surgery will only offer you an imperfect solution.

Consider these thoughts- if the skin bothers you enough that this seems to be a reasonable trade to you, find a surgeon you like and can trust and discuss your options after a consultation.

Here's some advice on finding a surgeon:

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 160 reviews

Love handles. Liposuction or tummy tuck?

Great question and the photos help. It appears you have minimal to moderate fat and the fact that you have stretch marks in this area you can assume your skin is permanently damaged. Your options as I see it are liposuction first to see if you can thin the area out, though this will not improve your skin laxity, therefore ultimately you would be looking at an outer thigh lift to remove this area. You are trading scars for the stretch marks though the scars can be hidden under clothing. You would really need a consultation from a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options after the area of concern is evaluated.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Trussler

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 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.