A thigh lift is a cosmetic surgery performed to tighten sagging thigh muscles and remove excess skin from the thighs to restore a more youthful and pleasing body contour. Thigh lift is particularly beneficial for individuals with large amounts of loose hanging skin on the thighs. This usually occurs due to lack of skin elasticity related to aging or a major weight loss.
During a thigh lift, small amounts of fat may be removed along with the excess skin, but it is not meant to remove significant fat deposits. A combination of liposuction and thigh lift techniques may be recommended in cases where there are small local fat deposits with poor skin elasticity. Moreover, thigh lift surgery is often performed in combination with other body lifting procedures such as breast lift, arm lift, tummy tuck or body lift to enhance the overall results.
A good candidate for thigh lift should have good general health, stable weight at or near ideal weight and have a realistic expectation of their results. Moreover, one should also be a non-smoker. If you smoke and are considering a thigh lift, you need to quit smoking well in advance of surgery to ensure adequate healing with minimal complications.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. Depending on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, incisions may vary in location, length and pattern.
- In inner thigh lift procedure, the incision is made in the groin area which may sometimes extend into the buttocks crease.
- In an outer thigh lift, the incision extends around the front and side of the hip or outer thigh.
- For a circumferential thigh lift, both incisions of an inner and outer thigh lift may be used. However, in case of a large amount of loose skin extending to the knee area, a vertical incision is made along the inner thigh extending from the groin to the knee.
The excess skin is removed and then the remaining skin is pulled to its new position. Finally, the incisions are closed with sutures. A compression garment should be worn for the first few weeks to help keep the swelling under control. Sometimes, small tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to help drain any excess blood or fluid from the surgical area. The whole procedure may take up to four hours. Some amount of bruising, swelling, and numbness after surgery is normal and will disappear in a few weeks or months. The final result may not be fully recognized until a year after surgery. The scars will fade gradually over a period of time.
Risks and complications
Although a thigh lift is considered safe, there are certain risks and complications associated with any type of surgical procedure. Some of these include infection, bleeding, fluid build-up and open wounds.