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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