What is a thigh lift?
Enhancing your appearance with a thigh lift. If fitness and weight loss efforts have not achieved your goals for a body that is firmer, more youthful-looking and more proportionate to your overall body image, a surgical thigh lift may be right for you. This surgery reshapes 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.
Candidates for thigh lift are:
- People whose weight is relatively stable
- Individuals with excess soft tissue along the inner or medial thigh region and/or the outer thigh
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what thigh lift surgery can accomplish
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness
What to expect during your consultation
The success and safety of your thigh lift procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
- The options available in thigh lift surgery
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries
Your surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Examine and measure your body, including detailed measurements
- Take photographs for your medical record
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of thigh lift surgery and any risks or potential complications
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the day of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your thigh lift
- Post-operative care and follow-up
Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Thigh lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient of ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.
What happens during thigh lift surgery?
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
Incision patterns vary based on the area or areas to be treated, degree of correction and patient and surgeon preference. One common technique used for a thigh lift places incisions in the groin, extending downward wrapping around the back of the thigh. The underlying tissue matrix will be reshaped and tightened, and skin will be reduced and redraped resulting in more proportionate and smoother body contours. You may qualify for a minimal incision medial thigh lift which involves an incision only in the groin area. Your surgeon will determine what’s appropriate.
Improving the contours of the outer thigh may require an incision extending from the groin around the hip. Through these incisions your plastic surgeon will tighten tissues for a smoother, better-toned lower body contour. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits. However, incisions may be extensive.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Deep support sutures within underlying tissues help to form the newly shaped contours. Sutures close the skin incisions.
Step 4 – See the results
The smoother tighter contouring that result from a thigh lift are apparent almost immediately, although initially obscured by some swelling and bruising. You may be required to wear a compression garment for several weeks following your procedure to minimize swelling and support the tissues as they heal. Following a thigh lift, skin quality is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.
Important facts about the safety and risks of body lift surgery
The decision to have thigh lift surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
Possible risks of thigh lift surgery include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Blood clots
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Anesthesia risks
- Skin discoloration and/or swelling
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Major wound separation
- Pain, which may persist
- Unsatisfactory results such as highly visible surgical scar location, unacceptable visible deformities, bunching and rippling in the skin near the suture lines or at the ends of the incisions
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Recurrent looseness of skin
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Possibility of revisional surgery
When you go home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
When your procedure is completed, dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your new contours as you heal. One or more small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood that may collect.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? If so, When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?