A thigh lift is a procedure that aims to reshape the thighs by reducing excess skin and in some cases fat, resulting in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body. This surgical lift is right for candidates who have not achieved their goals for a body that is firmer, more youthful-looking and more proportionate through fitness and weight loss efforts.
Thigh lifts are not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. A combination of liposuction and thigh lift techniques is recommended in cases where skin elasticity is poor.
Types of Thigh Lift
There are several different types of thigh lifts that target certain areas for specific results:
- inner thigh lift
- bilateral thigh lift
- median thigh lift
The Inner Thigh Lift
Targeting the inner thigh, as its name suggests, this procedure helps people who failed to eliminate excess fat from this area through diet and constant exercise. The inner thigh lift can also be used to treat reduced skin elasticity resulted from extreme weight loss or aging. An incision is made at the junction of the thigh and pubic area, followed by removing a wedge of skin and possibly fat. Next, the skin is tightened to provide an enhanced skin elasticity and improved contour.
The Bilateral Thigh Lift
Designed to tighten skin on the front and outside of the leg, this procedure starts with an incision at the top of the leg and continues with removing a certain amount of skin, before the surgeon pulls the remaining skin up and attaches it to the same area. The bilateral thigh lift is recommended for those who have excess skin after an extreme weight loss. It serves to tighten skin along both the right and left side of the leg.
The Median Thigh Lift
Reducing excess skin and fat on the upper portion of the inner thigh, this procedure is also recommended for those who underwent extreme weight loss. An incision is made in the groin that spans to the back of the crease of the buttock. Skin is lifted and excess skin and fat are removed, resulting in a tightening of the skin and an improved shape of the leg.
If you are considering a thigh lift, consult with your surgeon. He or she will discuss with you your goals for treatment and determine if you are a candidate for thigh lift surgery.
Thigh Lift Procedure Steps
A thigh lift includes the following steps:
- the incisions
- closing the incisions
A thigh lift is usually performed with general anesthesia. Small incisions will be made in the inner thigh and groin area, carefully determined where to make them as to minimize scar visibility when you are wearing a wide variety of clothing and to meet your personal desires. Sometimes a thigh lift may also involve the area around the outer thigh and the buttocks, and, in these cases, the incisions are longer and may extend from the buttocks over to the abdomen and groin. Excess skin is removed and remaining skin will be stretched and repositioned to create a firmer contour and smoother appearance.
During recovery time, all patients must wear a supportive garment that helps compress the surgical area, reducing swelling and promoting the skin around the surgical area to return to its natural tightness. Inner thigh lifts are usually done on an outpatient basis, but thigh lifts that involve the outer thighs and buttocks may require a one-day hospital stay. Pain and discomfort can be controlled by medications prescribed by the plastic surgeon. Swelling and bruising will disappear within several weeks and in most cases, within 5-6 weeks, patients can resume most normal activities. The final results will be visible in 4-6 months and your plastic surgeon will monitor your recovery during several follow-up visits.
Risks and Safety
All surgical procedures carry some risk, but in general, thigh lift surgery is a safe and effective solution to get rid of sagging skin. Possible side effects or complications from thigh lift surgery include:
- blood clots
- poor wound healing
- fluid accumulation in the legs
- changes in the sensation of the skin
- anesthesia risks
- persistent pain
- deep vein thrombosis
- cardiac and pulmonary complications
It is important to follow your plastic surgeon’s directions about caring for the incision area, changing your bandages and taking prescribed medications. All risks and recommendations for the recovery period will be discussed prior to your consent. Be sure to ask the doctor your questions regarding the procedure and the recuperation process.
Preparing for Consultation and Surgery
Preparation for your thigh lift includes discussing a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle with your surgeon. He or she will need to know your surgical goals, medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments, whether you are on medication or not, your intake of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol and tobacco use and previous surgeries. Your answers will help determine the surgeon if a thigh lift surgery is a viable option for you.
After sharing your information with the surgeon, he or she will proceed to evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors. Next, the surgeon will examine and measure your body, taking photographs for your medical records. At the end of your consultation, the doctor will discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment, which best fits your health status, goals and needs. Also, you will learn about the likely outcomes of your surgery and any risks or potential complications that may arise.
When preparing for thigh lift surgery, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, stop smoking, and avoid taking aspirin, herbal supplements and anti-inflammatory drugs, as they can increase bleeding. You may also be asked to take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
Am I a Candidate for a Thigh Lift?
In general, candidates for a thigh lift are people whose weight is relatively stable. Non-smokers, healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that impair healing or increase the risk of surgery, individuals with excess soft tissue along the inner or medial thigh region and/or the outer thigh are also candidates for this procedure. Also, people committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what thigh lift can accomplish stand a better chance to receive thigh lift surgery.