Introduction: What is Thigh Lift?
A thigh lift is a procedure performed to remove loose and sagging excess skin and fat from the medial thighs to restore a more youthful and pleasing body contour. This usually occurs due to a lack of skin elasticity related to aging or a major weight loss.
During a thigh lift, small amounts of fat may be removed along with the excess skin, but it is not meant to remove significant fat deposits. A combination of liposuction and thigh lift techniques may be recommended in cases where there are small local fat deposits with poor skin elasticity. To target loose, sagging skin on the lateral thighs and posterior thighs and buttocks, a lower body lift would need to be done.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Thigh lift
Patients with loose, sagging, excessive skin of the medial thigh above the knee are ideal candidates for thigh lift.
- Healthy patients without significant medical comorbidities
- Patients who are at their goal weight and who have been stable there for some time
- Physically active patients
- Patients with realistic expectations of what a thigh lift can achieve for them
Before your procedure, a detailed medical history is obtained, and a thorough physical examination is performed. During your consultation, your doctor will advise you to stop smoking, if you smoke, to avoid post-surgical complications and delayed healing. You should eat a healthy diet and avoid any restrictive dieting during this time. You should inform your doctor of all medications that you are taking and about significant medical conditions, allergies and previous surgeries if any.
Photographs will also be taken during pre-operative consultation to submit for insurance, to be used in surgical planning and for before and after comparison. Your goals will be discussed, and realistic expectations will be set. After discussing surgical options, we will make an individualized surgical plan together that best suits your goals.
This is the best time to ask all your questions so that you can feel comfortable and confident going into surgery.
Procedure: Thigh lift
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Depending on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, incisions may vary in location, length, and pattern.
- For an inner thigh lift procedure, the incision is made in the groin area and could potentially extend down the inner thigh from the groin to above the knee.
- A lateral thigh lift procedure may require an incision extending from the groin around the upper hip and across the back
- To address the lateral or posterior thigh/ buttocks patients may require a full lower body lift
- The excess skin is removed and then the remaining skin is pulled to its new position.
- For the most part in each of these procedures your incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures that will be under the skin and you will have either surgical glue or surgical tape over your incisions which take about 1-2 weeks to fall off.
- You will have drains in place after surgery that will be removed in 1-2 weeks.
Risks and complications of Thigh lift
Although a thigh lift is considered safe, there are certain risks and complications associated with any type of surgical procedure. Some of these include
- Anesthesia risks
- Blood clots in the lungs or legs, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Delayed healing
- Fluid collections (seroma)
- Fat necrosis
- Numbness or changes in skin sensation
- Asymmetries or suboptimal aesthetic results
- Recurrence of loose skin
- Possibility of revision surgery
Recovery after Thigh Lift Procedure
After a thigh lift there will be some temporary pain, discomfort, and swelling. Medications will be prescribed to relieve pain. You will be advised to rest with your legs only slightly abducted to minimize tension on the repair and have your legs elevated when laying or sitting down. You will wear a contoured elastic garment for extra support around the legs and lower abdomen. Most patients can undergo thigh lift as an outpatient procedure. Some patients may stay overnight for observation which will be discussed in your pre-operative appointment. Upon discharge, patients will be instructed about proper wound care and how to manage their drains at home. Stitches are usually dissolvable and internal. Specific post-operative care regimen to minimize scarring will be discussed with each patient. Strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting over five pounds is discouraged for six weeks post-operatively – details of this limitation will be discussed with you specific to the surgery that you will be having. You will likely be able to resume work in 2 to 3 weeks depending on what kind of job you have and how you are feeling. Full recovery may take a couple of months and you need to have follow-up appointments to ensure a positive surgical outcome.
The results of a thigh lift are evident almost immediately; however, it may take some time to see the full results allowing for time swelling and settling of the tissues to occur. Some amount of bruising, swelling and numbness after surgery is normal and will disappear in a few weeks or months. The final result may not be fully recognized for up to a year after surgery.