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What Is Flank Liposuction?

Article Details
  • Written By: Melanie Smeltzer
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Flank liposuction is a cosmetic procedure used to remove fat from the sides and lower back. This procedure may be done on males and females, but is more commonly performed on men because they are more likely to develop fat tissue in this area than women. Although this procedure is sometimes recommended for health reasons, it is mostly done for cosmetic purposes, as these small patches of fat are thought to be unflattering.

Flanks, sometimes known as love handles, are small areas of fat located just above the top of the hipbone. What is referred to as the female flank typically lies under the bra strap, while the male flank is generally just above the belt line. In both genders, flanks are usually on the sides and lower back. Despite the fact that procedures are mostly the same regardless of gender, male flank liposuction is thought to be more difficult, as the fat content in males often contains more fibrous tissue.

Although many procedures may be performed under general anesthesia, most people feel that flank liposuction should be done under a local anesthetic. This preference is due to health concerns and the desire to acquire the best possible results. Since flanks may be found on both the sides and lower back, the patient may be required to turn over during the operation. Turning the patient while under general anesthesia may cause the breathing tube to loosen, which can scrape the trachea and cut off the flow of oxygen.

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Given the need for local anesthesia during flank liposuction, tumescent procedures have become a popular option. This involves injecting the flanks with a solution of a diluted capillary constrictor and anesthetic. When this is done, the tissue becomes firm and is then extracted with micro-cannulas. The tumescent method is often preferred for this location, as it not only eliminates the anesthesia problem, but is also thought to be more effective on men, as the smaller cannula are better able to break through fibrous fat.

Depending on the type of flank liposuction, the patient may be required to wear well-secured absorptive pads to help soak up any fluids or blood from open incisions. When incisions have been sutured, patients are often encouraged to wear compression garments. These garments are meant to help healing by slowing down blood flow and reducing swelling.

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