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Love Handles, Ways To Beat The Bulge

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Love Handles, Ways To Beat The Bulge
July 14
13:16 2016

Almost any woman would agree that love handles were wrongly named. These protrusions of fat that appear on the sides of our waist are anything but adored. Women can work tirelessly to get rid of them by adhering to a healthy diet and exercise regimen, but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, they don’t seem to vanish. When physical activity fails to produce the results we want, it might be time to explore surgical and non-surgical methods of fat removal that can eliminate love handles.

“Women are genetically designed to store fat in the hips and thighs,” said Dr. Ryan Neinstein, a plastic surgeon in New York. “Love handles, hips and thighs are programmed to be hard to get rid of. The fat is designed to survive in that location. It likely has an evolutionary advantage that does not apply anymore.”

According to a 2007 article in the British Journal of Nutrition, “fat and reproduction are intimately linked in women.” The authors continued by describing how in the past, food insecurity would have had a significant impact on female fertility and reproductive success, leading to “an adaptive advantage”, where females could store body fat in areas where it could be easily metabolized. This may have been useful at the time, but today, many women find these areas of fat undesirable. The question is: are there any sure ways to eliminate love handles?

“To get rid of them, there are three ways,” Dr. Neinstein continued. “First is caloric restriction and exercise. The second is non-surgical devices, which are getting better, but are not at a place yet to have consistent results. Third is surgery, which is typically liposuction.”

Some of the non-surgical devices Dr. Neinstein mentioned include ultrasound, heat, radiofrequency and cooling technology. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery listed possible side effects of these non-invasive procedures, such as redness and localized bruising that clear after a few hours. Dr. Neinstein also listed redness and mild pain as side effects.

Love Handles, Ways To Beat The Bulge

Love Handles, Ways To Beat The Bulge

According to Dr. Neinstein, though there is no downtime for non-surgical procedures, the effects are inconstant.

“These devices take a few months to take effect as the body remodels. The results are modest, if any.”

Similarly, the Mayo Clinic advised that liposuction alternatives are intended for those who are already mostly in shape, but still have certain areas of fat that diet and exercise have been unable to get rid of.

When it comes to surgical liposuction, the main benefit is that its effectiveness has been proven, said Dr. Neinstein.

For the treatment of love handles, he uses SAFELipo®—a three-step procedure where fat is separated, removed and then equalized. Equalizing involves smoothing out the light layer of fat leftover after the first two steps, which is done to prevent waves, lumps and divots in the skin, according to the SAFELipo® website.

“I feel it is important to sculpt entire units,” Dr. Neinstein explained. “Patients will typically have their entire torso operated on. In some areas, I am not removing fat but sculpting the tissues that are present. I can deliver much more dramatic results and reduce the chance of having a disproportionate look when small areas are treated. This takes a lot longer to do but minimizes asymmetry, lumps, bumps, bruising and gives a cleaner, more sculpted result.”

According to Dr. Neinstein, post-procedure, patients might experience asymmetry, bruising and swelling. They will need to take five days off work and abstain from exercise for three weeks. The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons listed possible complications of traditional liposuction as temporary skin numbness (which could persist), skin discoloration of the treated area, infection, bleeding and reaction to anesthesia.

Love Handles, Ways To Beat The Bulge

Love Handles, Ways To Beat The Bulge

In terms of preventing love handles from developing, the most common advice is to maintain a healthy diet and physical activity, and Dr. Neinstein agrees in one sense.

“Caloric restriction and strength training are really the only things you can do,” he said, but added that sometimes, even marathon runners have persistent love handles and many women, regardless of what they do, can’t get rid of this extra fat.

It’s always advisable to combine healthy eating and exercise as a way to lose weight. However, sometimes this can only go so far. It should be reassuring to know that if this isn’t working for you, you aren’t the only one. Procedures that can specifically target the love handles are available for those who find diet and physical activity are just not working.

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