If you’re considering a thigh lift…
A thigh lift is a surgical procedure that reshapes the thighs by reducing and removing excess skin, and in some cases fat. It’s not a replacement for weight loss, or even the fat removal procedure liposuction, but for suitable candidates it results in smoother skin and nicely proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body.
Every patient’s needs and expectations are different, so your best source of information is your accredited plastic surgeon, but read on for a detailed overview of the thigh lift procedure.
The best candidates for a thigh lift
Sometimes healthy diet and exercise isn’t enough to achieve the body you deserve, especially if you feel you aren’t proportional. If you’re at a relatively stable weight but find you have excess soft tissue along your inner thigh or outer thigh regardless of what you do to decrease it, a thigh lift may be right for you. Thigh lifts are also greatly beneficial to individuals who have lost a lot of weight and find they have excess skin. Those suffering from a loss of skin elasticity in the thigh region due to the natural aging process would probably also benefit from a thigh lift.
As with any surgical procedure, the emphasis is on your safety and on achieving the best possible results. As such, the best candidates for a thigh lift will be relatively healthy non-smokers who enjoy a healthy lifestyle and have realistic expectations for what this procedure can accomplish.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk
Though thigh lifts performed by an accredited plastic surgeon are normally successful, potential complications like hematoma, infection, fluid accumulation and blood clots are common to all surgical procedures. Your doctor will go over these risks with you in detail.
What you need to know about the thigh lift procedure specifically is that there will be scarring, and there is a slight chance that your results will not be entirely symmetrical. Only you can decide if the rewards of the surgery outweigh the potential risks, but your doctor will provide you with the best possible information to help you make your decision.
Planning your surgery
The planning process begins with a consultation with the doctor who will actually be performing your thigh lift. This is just one of your chances to ask your doctor about anything and everything. It’s also his or her chance to ask you about your lifestyle, medical conditions, medications, and desired outcome and expectations. Be open and honest. This information will be used to plan the best possible treatment course for you and to achieve optimal results.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation of your health. He or she will also examine your body and take detailed measurements for use in planning and conducting the surgery. If you’ve experienced a major weight loss, you may also want to talk to your doctor about additional body contouring procedures like an arm lift, tummy tuck or breast lift as it will be easiest on you to get these procedures done at one time. A thigh lift can also be done in conjunction with liposuction for a more dramatic reshaping of the thighs.
Preparing for your surgery
Your doctor will give you detailed instructions to help you prepare for your thigh lift. If you smoke, you’re going to be asked to stop for a significant period of time prior to the surgery. You may need to adjust your medications and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal supplements as they may increase bleeding.
Because a thigh lift can be an extensive form of plastic surgery, it’s typically performed in an accredited surgery center or hospital. The duration of the operation generally ranges from two to four hours. Your doctor will detail the location of your procedure as well as the expected duration during your consultation. Because of the sedation and anesthesia, if your thigh lift is an out-patient procedure you’ll need to arrange for someone to take you home, and it would be best if you had someone to stay with you for at least the first night following the surgery to help keep you comfortable.
Types of anesthesia
The majority of thigh lift patients opt for general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep for the entire operation. If you and your doctor agree general anesthesia would be best, a specialized nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist will be called in to monitor you and make sure you remain completely asleep during surgery.
Thigh lifts may also be performed with intravenous sedation to keep you awake but relaxed and pain-free during the procedure.
Once you’re comfortable and your anesthesia has been administered, your surgeon will begin with the incisions. If the bulk of the tissue being removed is coming from your inner thighs, your surgeon will make a small incision on either side of your groin area in the crease where the leg meets the pelvis, which will help disguise the scar.
If you’re in need of an outer as well as inner thigh lift, a more extensive incision will be made, running from the groin over the back of the thigh.
After the incisions are made, the underlying tissue will be reshaped and tightened with deep support sutures helping to form your newly shaped contours. Over those newly shaped contours, the skin will be reduced and redraped for smooth, proportionate thighs. Your skin incisions will be closed with sutures.
After your surgery
Many thigh lift patients opt to remain in hospital the first night after the procedure for maximum comfort. Pain is managed with medication. Dressings and bandages will be applied, and you may have one or more small drainage tubes placed. You’ll likely wear a compression garment for a couple of weeks after the surgery to minimize swelling and help support your tissues as they heal.
Getting back to normal
You’ll be able to return to work after one or two weeks, but it will probably be another month or so before you’re able to return to any strenuous activity.
Thigh lift results are apparent immediately after the procedure, however, because of bruising and extensive swelling, it may be several months before your final results are visible. Incision scars will continue to fade and flatten for up to two years after the procedure.
Your new look
Whether your thigh lift was completed as a stand-alone surgery or as a component of a complete body-contouring procedure, your results will be dramatic. Your thighs will be smooth, sculpted, more youthful-looking and better proportioned with the rest of your body. If you can maintain a fairly stable weight and healthy lifestyle, outside of some minor loss of firmness that comes with age, these results will be permanent.