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Love Handles And Flanks: Is There Any Difference?8 min read

Love Handles
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Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

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Most people love to look their best. They eat well, take care of their bodies, and dress well so that they can show off the fruits of their hard work. Call it vanity, if you will, but people have a right to be proud of their genetic gifts. This is why stubborn fatty areas are so troubling. Unwanted fat undermines the efforts of people who work so hard on their bodies.

There is one particularly stubborn trouble spot for many people — which they just cannot seem to get rid of no matter how hard they try. This area is called the “flanks” or “love handles.” Both terms are used interchangeably to refer to the waist side areas, under the ribs, and above the hips. Though they are both used to mean the same area, did you know that there is a slight difference between the two terms?

Are Love Handles and Flanks the Same Thing?

Love handles and flanks are similar. That is why most people use both terms to mean the same area. However, if we want to be scientifically correct, the term “flank” refers explicitly to the sides of the waist for men. Therefore, in this case, “love handles” for men would genuinely have the same meaning as the word “flank.” For women, it is a little bit more complicated. The anatomical flank in a woman refers to the fatty area right under the bra line and above the waist, which is always a trouble spot. Therefore, the correct term for love handles for women is actually “lower flank.”

Whatever you call them, flanks and love handles can cause physical and psychological discomfort either way. Though love handles are harmless, they may look awkward in photographs and cause low self-esteem in some people. This is precisely why numerous people go through the trouble of having their love handles surgically removed. The flank can be a stubborn fatty area immune to exercise even for reasonably fit people. Opting for cosmetic surgery is nothing to be scared or ashamed of, especially if the results can bring you confidence and joy.

What Causes Love Handles?

Age, genetics, lifestyle factors, and hormones can affect the way our bodies store fat. As we grow older, our bodies tend to distribute fat around the belly area. In addition, aging causes the body’s metabolism to slow down, increasing your chances of storing fat in unwanted areas. Fat from your limbs is also redistributed down to your belly as the years go by.

Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and too much alcohol can also contribute to fat storage. Stress can cause belly fat as well, since cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, causes fat to accumulate around our stomach area.

There are many contributing factors to stubborn belly fat and love handles, yet our options for fat removal seem to be so limited. We cannot do much about our age and genetics, but we can control our lifestyles. If you find your stubborn love handles too much, start changing your diet or try a new cardio routine. This may reduce some of the unwanted fatty areas you have. Still, if you find that your love handles seem to love you a bit too much, there is always the choice of cosmetic surgery to turn to.

Getting Rid of Love Handles

Love handles are difficult to remove for several reasons. Bad posture is one cause of stubborn flank fat. Another reason is that exercises do not target the area effectively enough. To address this, you can try targeted workouts to strengthen the muscle underneath your flank.

Try doing exercises that target the back and obliques, including Pilates moves like the side plank. Doing this may flatten out the area and improve your posture for a slimmer look. However, we cannot “spot reduce” these bulges when we exercise. A well-rounded, healthy diet, consistent cardio routines, and an overall healthy lifestyle are necessary to lose fat everywhere.

It is hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, cosmetic surgery is one way to get rid of love handles if nothing seems to work. Fat reducing technology like liposuction or cryolipolysis will work wonders for your stubborn flank area. Just make sure that you choose a reputable plastic surgeon to get the best possible results. Unfortunately, not all doctors are trained or skilled enough to perform fat reduction procedures. However, Dr. Phillip Chang from Aesthetica Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center is more than capable of helping you with your love handles and achieving your aesthetic goals. Make sure that you schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang to learn how his expertise and aesthetic approach can help you get rid of your flanks or love handles in a pleasant, painless manner.

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For those wondering whether removing flanks or love handles might be the best cosmetic solution for you, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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