In this time of New Year’s resolutions, the thoughts of many turn to their bulging waistlines and muffin tops when wearing those new jeans that came for Christmas. Not only is it the tummy, but also the hip rolls. How to lose those bulges? For those under forty, it may be a matter of too much fat alone, but for those who are older or who have lost significant weight, it may also be a matter of loose skin +/- excess fat. What is the optimal treatment?

Too much fat = Liposuction or other methods of fat removal such as injection lipolysis (injecting the fat collection with a fat dissolving agent), Zerona laser, or fat reduction by means of CoolSculpting.

What about those folks who have a bit of loose skin in addition to their excess fat? Liposuction alone is not going to correct the loose skin, even if done with laser liposuction. Some type of skin removal procedure is also required.

Why is there loose skin in these type of situations? Certainly a large weight loss often results in loose skin because the skin that remains is not elastic enough to shrink down to the point that it is taut. Furthermore, as we all age, our spinal column tends to shrink as the disc spaces compress. This will also produce loose skin that will not resolve with liposuction alone. Unless you have great skin tone, you will still have a muffin top after liposuction. The jeans will press inward on the hips and the skin that bulges out above will tend to hang over the jeans at the waistline.

How to treat that loose skin? A hip lift involves the removal of the hanging skin, leaving a scar that is well hidden in clothing. The procedure is done under sedation anesthesia. It does not require the use of drains after surgery since internal sutures are used to hold the skin down to the fat in much the same way as in a drainless tummy tuck. Recovery takes about 1 week before returning to a desk job, and exercise is permitted after 2 weeks.

How’s your waistline? For questions about the above, please contact my office.

George Sanders, M.D.