Does My Tummy Tuck Need Liposuction Of The Love Handles To Get The Best Result?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am 35 years old and am 5’ 4” and weight 138 lbs. I had my last child one year ago and am back to my prepregnancy weight but can’t get rid of this loose tummy skin and fat. I went to a plastic surgery consultation and, in addition to a tummy tuck, was told that I needed liposuction as well. Do I really need to get liposuction on my love handles with my tummy tuck to get the best result? Since I am going for surgery I want the best result. I'm pretty happy with my general size, I just want to be firmer and smaller around my stomach.

A: It is a common misconception as to how far the effects of a tummy tuck reach. The main effect of a tummy tuck is seen between the hip points, it is essentially a 180 degree procedure of the trunk.. One must remember that waistline reshaping is closer to a 270 or 300 degree procedure. To extend the benefits of a tummy tuck, whose tissue excision and scar stops at the hips, fat removal by liposuction must be done to continue the narrowing benefit around the corner of the hips and into the back. This liposuction effects what most people call the love handles or the flanks. This not only flattens or indents the love handles but also decreases the risk of dogears or fullness at the ends of the tummy tuck incisions. I would estimate that about 2/3s of abdominal reshaping patients in my practice need the combined tummy tuck and flank liposuction procedures for the best result.

Dr. Barry Eppley