Liposuction to love handles: good results vs great results

I do a lot of Liposuction to the love handles, or as we refer to it, flanks. Although males will sometimes ask for lipo to the love handles as an isolated procedure, most women rarely ask for it. If they want to look trimmer, women will usually ask for lipo to the belly. That is because they will look at themselves from the side and think their belly pokes out.

Yet, most people look at you as they are facing you. Otherwise, if they want to look at you at ease, without having you ask why they are staring, they will look at you from the back. The back is the area you know least about yourself because you seldom, if ever look at it. I have a three way mirror in the consultation room, and whenever I’m discussing lipo or Tummy tuck I have patients look at their back. Patients are invariably surprised at how their love handles impact the way they look, and immediately understand why I think lipo to the love handles is so important to the way they look.

Surgical markings for Liposuction to love handles

Below is a picture of markings for Liposuction to the love handles. On the left, in blue, I have reproduced the markings for lipo to the love handles as it is taught in plastic Surgery residency programs and as you probably have seen it marked out in the TV plastic Surgery shows. With my technique in red, I focus on wider area, marked in red on the right side of this photo.

An illustration showing preoperative markings for a lipo to love handles procedure.
Blue- markings for lipo to love handles. Red- markings for reshaping waist

The traditional design for lipo to the love handles (blue marking) is based on eliminating the appearance of the love handle or muffin top as it appears to you when you look at yourself in the mirror head on.

The first thing you will notice with my method ( red marking) is that there is a lot more effort to Liposuction and contour the area above the buttock and to incorporate that into the normal area of lipo to the love handle. It is more of a 360 degree approach to the problem. We are not shaving down the love handle, we are reshaping the entire waist and upper buttock.
The best way to visualize this in the 3/4 view.

An illustration showing better lipo to love handles techniques.
Extended area of lipo improves the “shelf”, or transition area between lower back and buttock

Here you can see how the additional area of lipo (the red area) to the love handles impacts not just the view from the front, but also the back, and the oblique views. The waist is narrowed all the way around, and as an added bonus a curvy transition from the lower back to the buttock is created. This is also sometimes referred to as a shelf, and it gives the buttock a more compact and perky look.

See the photo below, where we see the right waist area improve, before lipo on the left, and after lipo on the right, as seen in the operating room table. The pictures have been rotated to appear upright.

An illustration showing preoperative markings for a lipo to love handles procedure.
Red line follows waist contour before (left) and after (right) lipo

The difference in result is remarkable. First of all, the traditional way of Liposuction (majority of plastic surgeons) to the love handles has a visual impact limited to the outline of the waist when viewed from the front or back. The extended Liposuction technique which I use has a visual impact in all 360 degrees. It improves the shelf, or transition between lower back and butt–and this makes a significant difference! My technique helps better define the buttocks area.

Extended Liposuction love handle technique defines buttocks

The traditional technique does not help to define the butt. Because the fat accumulation of the love handles sits above the butt, the visual impression is that the love handle and butt cheek are one long and continuous volume. Thus from the back the butt appears to sag and from the side or oblique view to have no projection.

The extended love handle lipo technique which I use gives a better definition to the upper pole of the butt. The waistline becomes smaller and the butt appears perkier. All of this makes for a more sculpted and sensual body profile.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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16 thoughts on “Liposuction to love handles: good results vs great results”

  • Daniel Simms says:

    Hello, I'm interested in liposuction of my flanks and possibly under my arms. Could I have some information, such as approximate cost and recovery time? Thank you, Daniel
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Daniel: Sorry for the delay in answering, I do not check the blog often. We will have Kelly at get in contact with you. Thanks for checking in!
  • Mercedes says:

    Interested in getting laser lipo with local anesthia In flanks lower and upper abdomen. Bra rolls and creating upper shelf
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Mercedes: I do not like Laser lips. It leaves too much internal scar tissue and is very difficult to correct. I have done many corrections of laser fat grafting and it usually requires very difficult procedures and fat grafting. I stopped doing it myself years ago. We do what is called "Total Intravenous Analgesia" in which you breathe by yourself, but you have no memory of what happened. If there is one thing I can tell you, it is that our liposuction results rarely ever need a revision, and the last revision I did for lip was years ago. The amount of areas that you want liposuctioned would need too much local anesthesia and would in fact be dangerous. I'll let Kelly know of your interest. You can contact her at
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Ayanna: I am glad that you did the bariatric surgery and advancing on to this new stage in your life. Contact Kelly at and she will help you do the necessary things so we can have a virtual consult or see each other in the office. We would love to help you!
  • Lynette Clarke says:

    I had lipo suction of the tummy and flank area in May 2011. When I look in the mirror today i feel that i wasted my money. The doctor promise that my love handles/flank area will be completely gone within a few months after surgery but all he did was make the skin on the flank area appear looser and somewhat gigglie. I told him that I didn't see any changes to my flank area and he stated that its all skin and their is nothing he can do about it. My tummy on the other hand still has a lot of fat. I am a muscular female and expected a lot more from the surgery i had. No one noticed that I had surgery so you must imagine my frustration. If you are a doctor that specializes in lipo of the flank, can you help me get rid of them and how much will they cost me. Please respond-desperate.....
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Lynette: You are right, we do a lot of it. Please contact Kelly at, she'll be happy to get you set up for a virtual consult. We'd love to help you and I am confident that we will make an improvement!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Natalie: You can contact Kelly at for pricing information. She would love to help you out. Pricing depends on how many areas are being treated and the length of surgery. Have a great weekend!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Daniela: That's wonderful! And if you are blessed with love handles, so much the better for you! Every Plastic surgeon I know does both breast augmentations and breast reductions. Go figure! Maybe soon people will start asking me to increase their love handles :)
  • carrie says:

    I wish I could come see you but you are so far away!Gracia por la repuesta!I sent the video to the lol.Hope he sees it..I need the fat injections to fill out the flab.I lost weight and I have a flabby behind and I hate it.My hips are the worst,im Cuban so you know that goes.Have a great day,Ill email you if I get a response from the doctor.
  • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

    Dear Carybcary: Flank liposuction takes about an hour. It is commonly done with other procedures. I think flank liposuction is one of those things that goes together well with breast augmentation because it alters the body proportions. If you augment the breast and you have large flanks, you run the risk of looking large overall. If you reduce the flanks, the breasts have more of a "pedestal", and the whole figure itself gets a better hourglass profile. I am looking forward to seeing you in my office.
  • carybcary says:

    Wow. Beautiful work. How long does it take you to do this? Can it be combined with another procedure such as breast augmentation and performed during the same session. I'm coming in for a consult next month for replacing my implants (capsular contracture), but i'm so impressed with your sculpting, I'd like to have you reshape me too! You are very artisitic. Cary in Richmond
  • Alex says:

    Great read, and such an obvious fact that I havent thought of is the fact that most women look at their body from the side and thats why they ask for lipo from the belly. Informative read!