Weight loss and aging can affect the skin and superficial tissue just about anywhere on the body. One of the areas that can create concern is the thighs. Here, muscle and skin can become droopy and unattractive with wrinkles and folds. To restore the smooth contours of the thighs, many people consider thigh lift surgery.
What Is a Thigh Lift?
A thigh lift, or thighplasty, is a surgical technique that is performed to improve the appearance of the thighs. Various methods may be considered to successfully correct loose, sagging skin on the inner or outer thigh area.
Who Is a Candidate for Thigh Lift Surgery?
Thigh lift surgery is often sought by adults who have lost a substantial amount of weight. Good candidates for this procedure are:
- At a stable weight
- In good general health and do not have medical conditions that may affect healing
- Committed to avoiding tobacco use several weeks before and after surgery
- Aware of what can and cannot be achieved with their lift procedure
A thorough consultation and examination with the Drs. Carlotti can help you understand what thigh lift surgery can do for you and how to make the most of this beneficial procedure.
What Are the Benefits of a Thigh Lift?
Thigh lift surgery can correct loose, sagging, and redundant skin. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis so patients do not need to stay overnight in the hospital. The recovery time from thigh lift surgery is only a few weeks, and results from the procedure change the shape and overall appearance of the legs indefinitely. A thigh lift can be the final achievement in major weight loss, providing a satisfying sense of completion.
How Is Thigh Lift Surgery Performed?
Overall, thigh lift surgery takes approximately 2 hours. Thighplasty is performed in an accredited surgery center under general anesthesia. There are several thigh lift techniques that may be employed during the outpatient procedure. Common methods include:
- An inner thigh lift or medial lift is the technique in which the inner aspect of the thigh is lifted.
- Bilateral thigh lift surgery tightens the skin on the outside and the front of the thigh.
Before administering anesthesia, the Drs. Carlotti will mark the thighs when the patient is standing. After the patient is anesthetized, an incision is made in the groin area where the resulting scar will be easily hidden. The tissue of the thigh is lifted and excess is trimmed. Sutures are placed in the deeper plane of tissue to secure muscle and fat. Stitches are also placed to close incisions.
Will I Have a Noticeable Scar After Thigh Lift Surgery?
Incisions for a thigh lift are placed as inconspicuously as possible. Some remnant scarring does remain after incisions heal. However, this can usually be hidden by clothing. Once incisions are no longer scabbed, patients may apply scar cream or silicone strips to facilitate optimal healing of scar tissue.
Recovery After Thighplasty
Recovery from thigh lift surgery depends on several factors, such as the patient’s level of health and fitness before surgery and the addition of any complementary procedures. Immediately after surgery, a compression garment is applied around each thigh. Some patients may have drains in place to prevent fluid accumulation within the surgical area. If drains are placed, they are typically removed a week to 10 days after surgery. At this time, stitches may also be removed.
Swelling and bruising are expected side effects of thigh lift surgery. These may not be noticed due to the compression garments covering the thighs. Garments need to be worn for two to three weeks. By the time they are removed, much of the swelling and bruising that have occurred will have disappeared.
Patients are provided with detailed instructions that outline how to care for incisions and drains, if these are placed. Post-operative instructions also discuss medication use, specific concerns to look for and when to return to our office for a follow-up visit.
Can a Thigh Lift Be Combined with Other Procedures?
Thigh lift surgery may be one aspect of a larger body lift. Patients may combine their thigh contouring procedure with liposuction to remove stubborn pockets of fat on the thighs or surrounding area. A buttocks lift, abdominoplasty, arm lift, or other contouring procedure may also be performed in combination with this surgery to improve the general shape of the body.
What Are the Risks of a Thigh Lift?
The surgical risks of thighplasty are similar to any surgery, these include:
- Fluid accumulation in the surgical area
- Blood clots
- Lingering numbness or pain
- Poor wound healing
How Soon After a Thigh Lift Can I Return to Normal Activity?
Patients will begin walking right away after their thigh lift and will need to walk short distances each day to prevent blood clots from forming. We prepare patients to expect a week to 10 days of recovery at home before returning to work. As comfort improves, walking can increase. Patients can safely drive when they are no longer taking prescription pain medication. Many normal activities can be resumed within a few weeks, minus strenuous exercise. By 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, most normal activities will be possible.
How Soon After a Thigh Lift Can I Work Out?
Understandably, exercise is an important aspect of maintenance after your lift procedure. To protect healing tissues from unnecessary trauma, we advise patients to postpone aerobic exercise and heavy lifting for at least 4 to 6 weeks after a thigh lift.