How to get rid of love handles….it’s one of the great questions in life. The muffin top is one of the most stubborn fat collections in the body. Almost everyone dreams of a smaller waist, so how can you get it? There are many different options for reducing the love handles or flanks area.
Diet and Exercise:
Weight loss will always help in reducing stubborn fat pockets such as the love handles. Unfortunately this is often not enough, and people with healthy habits can still have extra volume in the love handles. There is no exercise that will lead to spot fat reduction. You will need to burn more calories (typically through aerobic exercise), leading to general weight loss to decrease all fat deposits.
Noninvasive fat reduction options for love handles:
- Coolsculpting uses cryotherapy technology to freeze your fat cells. The process typically takes several treatments to get a nice result and results take several months to fully appreciate.
- Sculptsure uses lasers to gently heat the love handles, disrupting the fat cell membranes and destroying the fat cells. Similar to CoolSculpting, the process usually requires multiple treatments and results can take months to fully appreciate.
- There are several other noninvasive treatments on the market that purport to reduce fat volumes in the love handles. Most of these treatments do not work well enough to be considered worth the expense of the treatment.
Minimally invasive fat reduction options for the love handles:
- SmartLipo is a great tool for reduction of the love handles. The laser liquefies the fat before the liposuction removes it. This leads to a smoother result with less downtime than traditional liposuction (most of our patients are back to work in just 2-3 days). Liposuction is more customizable than any of the noninvasive treatments and the results can be seen immediately.
- Kybella/Lipodissolve can be used off label for treating areas other than the chin. However, treatment of a large area like the love handles would require large amounts of product, making the treatment rather expensive. Furthermore, lipodissolve has been associated with significant complications such as inflammation or infection in the area, lumpiness in the treated area or even issues with liver function.
Surgical fat reduction options for the love handles:
- Traditional liposuction uses larger cannulas than laser assisted liposuction. General anesthesia is commonly used. It achieves results similar to SmartLipo, but with more downtime and higher risk for complications and contour irregularities.
- Back/Body Lift removes some of the excess skin. If you have significant amounts of skin laxity in the lower back or love handles (usually a result of significant weight loss), you may get better results with a lift. This will have more extensive downtime and is a more invasive procedure.
Which procedure or treatment is best for you depends on what your current body shape is, how much fat you are trying to remove, whether or not you can tolerate scars or downtime and what your budget is. Always talk to a surgeon with extensive experience and the ability to offer you several different treatment options…love handles are not an area where a “one treatment fits all” mentality will work.