Muffin Tops, Love Handles and Liposuction

Muffins and their tops are very appealing in this colder weather. On a brisk wintry day the thought of warm coffee and a muffin is hard to resist. But indulging in too many will likely give one a permanent addition of their own. While they are cute and crispy on an actual muffin,  they are less than flattering on one’s body. Both men and women grapple with the muffin top fat deformity. Most know this name as it provides a clear picture of unsightly rolls of fat that pop out and over one’s waistline.  Muffin tops seem to be a feminine description, in men they are better known as love handles.

Why fat deposits want to settle in this area is not known. Certainly genetics plays a major role in where and how the body distributes its fat. While diet and exercise helps control how much fat is deposited, such efforts don’t always prevent it from accumulating on the waistline. I have seen many fit patients, who exercise regularly and are weight conscious, but still developed a bit of a muffin top. This is especially true as one ages where these stubborn pockets of fat develop even if one is fairly weight appropriate for their height. The fashion world has contributed to this problem in women where waistbands are becoming lower and tighter, exposing and emphasizing these fat bulges.

The muffin top has always been an ideal area to treat with liposuction. It is considered ideal because of two important treatment considerations. It can be maximally reduced with liposuction even though it is a curved surface that is being treated. Aggressive liposuction can be safely done because if the area becomes over-resected, no aesthetic harm is done. There is probably no such thing as a waistline that tapers in too much. Fat in the muffin top or love handle comes out very easily with liposuction. Secondly, it is not a big area to treat so fat removal is fairly quick and recovery is relatively easy. One may only need a few days off work and the wearing of a compression garment for a week or two to get back to a normal lifestyle.

As liposuction as evolved, many patients wonder what is the best method and does one work better for the muffin top problem. The technology has evolved in liposuction with different ways to help break and loosen the fat for it then to be suctioned out. My current preference is the use of the laser probe. Known by the brand name of Smartlipo, laser liposuction helps heat and melt the fat. This not only does a better job of destroying the fat in the too fatty araes, but contributes to less pain and bruising afterwards.

While muffin tops can appear in isolation, most of time they are part of a more global waistline problem. Muffin top reduction is often part of abdominal and hip liposuction as well as tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery. For most patients, the muffin top is just part of a near 360 degree waistline fullness. But whether they appear alone as side bulges or just part of the ‘spare tire’, today’s liposuction techniques can successfully rid one of these less than flattering protrusions…in just slightly more time than it takes to drink that cup of coffee and finish off that muffin.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana