A thigh lift is a procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the inner thighs. This is often desirable after significant or bariatric weight loss or in individuals for whom dieting and exercise have failed to reduce excess skin in their upper thighs.
Liposuction may be used in addition to help with contouring of the inner thigh. If you are committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and an appropriate weight, a thigh lift can help you regain the youthful thigh contours you desire.
When to Consider a Thigh Lift
- If you want your thighs to have a better, more youthful contour and a firmer look and feel.
- If you have undergone bariatric surgery or massive weight loss.
- If you are distressed about loose, flabby skin on your inner thighs.
- If you have difficulty fitting into clothing because of wide thighs.
Many people who consider a thigh lift also consider a tummy tuck or a mommy makeover. Thighplasty may be combined with a buttock lift in a procedure called a lower body lift.
- Clothing and swimwear will look and feel better.
- Your body will appear more shapely and proportional.
- Your thighs will be tighter and more youthful, with a curvaceous appearance.
- There may be visible or wide scarring.
- Where fat has been removed by liposuction, the skin may appear dimpled.
- A secondary procedure may be required to correct any unevenness, scars or bumps.
These are the top three pros and cons to consider when thinking of a thigh lift. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with Dr. Jensen.
Am I a good candidate for a thighplasty?
The following the most common reasons why patients may want to consider a thigh lift:
- The effects of aging have led to sagging, cellulite and loose skin on your inner thighs.
- You have succeeded in a weight reduction program and you now desire thinner thighs that reflect your more proportional, toned figure.
- Clothes do not fit properly because of your wide thighs.
- Your thighs make you feel self-conscious and you want to restore your self-confidence regarding your body.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
How is the procedure performed?
Medial (inner) Thigh Lift: An incision is made from the groin area along the inner thigh down to just above the knee. Excess fat and skin are then excised along the inner aspect of the thigh. Liposuction is typically included in this procedure. The area from the groin to the knee is contoured and the procedure is repeated for the other thigh.
Lateral (outer) Thigh Lift: This is a more complex procedure, usually involving contouring of the buttocks as well as the outer thighs with liposuction and removal of more tissue. Scarring is more extensive, and the skin will be less elastic after the surgery, so weight should be optimal.
Thigh lift addresses sagging skin and fullness.
What are my options?
There are two different types of thigh lift procedures: medial (inner) thigh lift or lateral (outer) thigh lift.
A physical examination, a thorough medical history and a discussion with Dr. Jensen will help determine whether a medial or lateral thigh lift is most appropriate, or whether you will best served from a combined lower body lift.
What will my thigh lift incisions and scars be like?
Medial Thigh Lift: The incisions are made from the groin to just above the knee along the inner thigh.
Lateral Thigh Lift: The incisions will extend from the abdomen, around the hip, and possibly along the upper buttock. Dr. Jensen will attempt to place the incisions where the scars can be hidden by clothing, but the incisions will be more extensive than for a medial thigh lift.
How do I prepare for Surgery?
Dr. Jensen and his staff will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, Dr. Jensen will ask you to:
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery.
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
- Hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
- Dr. Jensen will ascertain that you have maintained a stable weight for a significant period of time, since regaining weight can jeopardize the outcome of the thigh lift.
What can I expect on the day of thigh-lift surgery?
Your surgery will be performed in our certified freestanding ambulatory facility. Most thigh lift procedures take at least two hours to complete and rarely take longer.
- Intravenous medications are administered for your comfort during and after the surgical procedure.
- Sedation with local anesthesia is most commonly used during the procedure, although general anesthesia may be desirable in some instances.
- For your safety, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Dr. Jensen will follow your surgical plan as discussed before surgery.
- After your procedure, you will be taken into our recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. You will have drainage tubes in place. You will have a compression garment over abdomen and thighs. A surgical dressing will be placed over the surgical site.
- If your procedure was performed under sedation and local anesthesia, you may be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and Dr. Jensen have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery.
Dr. Jensen will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions from the recovery room nurse about your post-operative care, including information about:
- Normal symptoms you should expect
- Potential signs and symptoms of complications
Immediately after your surgery
Although your new smooth contours will be apparent immediately after surgery, there will be a period of bruising, swelling and discomfort. If your pain is extreme or long lasting, contact our office. Contact our office to find out if your pain, bruising and swelling is normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame after a thigh lift
It is important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by our staff. This will include instructions about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic, and the level and type of activity that is safe. Dr. Jensen will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The first two weeks
- During the first ten to 14 days you should only engage in light activities as described in your post-operative instructions.
- This is a critical period for healing and you should be watchful for any signs of infection or nonhealing and report these to our office immediately.
- The pull of gravity and the actions of walking, sleeping, sitting, and bending put stress on the suture lines, so you should make careful and deliberate movements.
- It will be helpful to have someone staying with you for the first few days of your recovery.
Weeks two to eight
- You will be asked to wear a compression garment for the first month to reduce swelling and optimize contouring of the thighs.
- Swelling should subside in three to eight weeks.
- You may resume driving and walking for exercise after the first two to three weeks, when these activities do not cause pain and when you are no longer taking narcotics.
- Avoid heavy lifting and jogging for eight weeks.
If you maintain a stable weight, healthy lifestyle, and fitness program, your results will be long lasting.
Maintain a relationship with our staff and Dr. Jensen. For safety, as well as the most successful and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to our office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in your thighs. Do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jensen when you have any questions or concerns.
Fortunately, significant complications from thigh lifts are rare. Your specific risks for thigh-lift surgery will be discussed during your consultation and pre-op visit.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection or bleeding
- Loss of sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of Dr. Jensen and his staff, both before and after your thigh-lift surgery.