Last updated date: 19-Jun-2023
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sharif Samir Alijla
Originally Written in English
Many women, and some males, have chubby hips or dimpled, sagging thighs. In many cases, diet and exercise alone are insufficient to counteract the body's inherent tendency to deposit fat in this area disproportionately. A thigh lift is a surgical technique that aims to restore the shapes of the hips and thighs by removing excess skin and fat in these areas. As a result, the shape is leaner and more defined, and it is proportional to the remainder of the body. Aging, genetics, and weight swings can all produce areas of fat and dimpled skin on the hips and thighs that diets and weight loss alone cannot eliminate. The surgical team will collaborate with you to obtain naturally shaped thighs that are sustainable and look amazing in a swimsuit. Thigh and hip shapes should ideally produce an hourglass shape with indents toward the waist and a smooth outward curve at the outer thighs. Furthermore, the contour should be proportional to the buttocks, torso, and legs. Your doctor can advise you on which operation and outcome will best suit your frame and body type.
What is Thigh Lift?
A thigh lift, commonly referred to as a thighplasty, is a cosmetic surgical operation used to tighten and enhance the appearance of the thighs. Excessive, sagging skin on the thighs might be caused by aging, pregnancy, or severe weight loss. A thigh lift is intended to elevate and shape the thighs so that they appear slender and in proportion to the rest of the body. To give the thighs a better, more toned look, a combination of thighplasty and liposuction methods may be used. People thinking about having thigh lift surgery should understand that it is not a surgical way to lose weight. It is a surgery for people who are close to their desired weight but are dissatisfied with their sagging appearance produced by excess skin.
Types of Thigh Lift
The incision patterns are placed differently based on the size and position of the affected area. A thigh lift is frequently performed as a component of a lower body lift, which is a more comprehensive surgery that addresses areas of fat or loose skin in the abdomen, buttocks, hips, and thighs.
Medial (inner) thigh lift. The most common type of thigh lift is an inner (medial) thigh lift. It requires incisions in the groin crease and is best suited for persons who have a considerable amount of skin and fat in this area. To tighten the thigh skin and tissue, the doctor performs an inner thigh lift.
Vertical thigh lift. A vertical thighplasty includes making a vertical incision from the groin crease to the inner knee. While the inner thighs are uncovered, such as when wearing a swimsuit or a miniskirt, the scar is noticeable. The doctor removes a wedge of skin from the inner thigh during a vertical thigh lift. Individuals with excess fat and loose skin may benefit from a vertical thigh lift.
Outer thigh lift. An incision from the groin to the hip is required for an outer thigh lift. A wedge or strip of skin from the outer thigh will be removed, and the skin around the hips will be tightened.
Spiral thigh lift. A spiral thighplasty is a relatively recent operation that addresses the front, back, inner, and outside thighs all at once. The incision begins below the buttock fold and extends over the groin crease at the thigh-pubic area junction. This plastic surgery technique is suitable for persons who have lost a large amount of weight, such as bariatric surgery patients.
Combination thigh lift. Several forms of thigh lifts are sometimes done at the same time. Which thigh lift or set of thigh lifts is best for you is determined by a variety of factors, including the amount of fat and skin to be removed, the quality of your skin, and your preferences.
Thigh Lift Indications
The upper thighs are an area of the body that many individuals dislike. It is a place where fat tends to build up, and the look of cellulite, in particular, can be annoying for women.
Weight changes. Gaining a lot of weight can cause the skin to stretch. Extra skin may become lax and sagging after losing weight.
Aging. Sagging skin is a natural part of aging for some people, as time and gravity take their toll.
Cellulite. Some people may be predisposed to storing fat in their thighs or developing cellulite.
These physical changes can be upsetting for some people and have a bad impact on their self-esteem and confidence. Excess fat or loose skin may impair your movement or range of motion in some cases, or they may trigger skin concerns such as chafing or rashes. If excess skin, fat, or cellulite on your inner thighs is causing you concerns, a thigh lift may be a viable option. For many people, it might imply not just a better appearance but also more movement freedom and confidence.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Thigh Lift?
If you have excess skin in your inner or outer thighs, the thigh lift operation may be ideal for you. This could be due to significant weight loss or physical changes caused by pregnancy or aging. A good overall surgical candidate for a thigh lift is also in excellent health, with no preexisting medical issues that may influence the outcome of surgery. If you smoke, you must cease smoking before surgery as well as during your recovery. Because weight changes can have an impact on your long-term performance, it is also preferable if you maintain a healthy weight.
What happens before Thigh Lift?
You will first have a personal consultation with one of the expert cosmetic surgeons before undergoing a thigh lift. This is an important step in the operation because it allows you to learn more about the surgery and for your surgeon to undertake a physical examination.
Discussing your fitness goals. Your body goals are a crucial factor to consider. What do you aim to achieve with a thigh lift, and what can you anticipate as an outcome? Discussing these issues can help you decide whether this procedure is the right decision for you.
Assessing your medical history. Your medical history is important to your plastic surgeon since it may influence your procedure or recovery. This includes any medical issues you may have and any drugs you may be taking.
Physical examination. A physical exam is required so that your surgeon can determine your surgical needs. It also helps them in determining the ideal size and location of surgical incisions, as well as the potential outcomes of your surgery.
Asking questions and expressing concerns. If you have any concerns about the surgery or the recovery process, this is the time to ask them. Plastic procedures are big decisions, so be sure you have all the details you need to know you are making the best decision for you.
How to Prepare For Thigh Lift?
Most patients will have some preparations to make for surgery, but some may have one or more measures to do. If you do need to prepare for surgery, your doctor will tell you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Among the possibilities are:
Prescription changes. If you take blood-thinning drugs, you may need to discontinue them briefly before surgery. This is because blood thinners raise the risk of severe bleeding during surgery. If you take prescription blood thinners, your doctor may tell you to discontinue them a week or two before surgery. This category also includes over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Smoking cessation. If you smoke, your doctor will advise you to quit smoking before your operation and to avoid smoking for as long as possible afterward. This is essential because smoking lowers the level of oxygen in your blood, which increases surgical risk and impairs your body's capacity to heal afterward.
Thigh Lift Surgery
Medications are given to you to keep you comfortable during surgical operations. There are two options: intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will advise you on the best option for you.
The Surgical Incision
Incision patterns differ depending on the area or areas to be addressed, the degree of correction, and the preferences of the patient and surgeon. One common thigh lift approach involves making incisions at the groin and wrapping them across the back of the thigh and into the buttock fold. You may be a candidate for a minimal incision medial thigh lift, which requires only a groin incision. People who have lost a significant amount of weight will require a scar that extends from the groin down the inside of the leg to the knee. Liposuction is often used to improve the appearance of the outer thigh. A body lift may assist to tighten the outer thigh skin in a few persons. Your plastic surgeon will straighten tissues through these incisions for a smoother, more toned lower body contour. Incisions may usually be placed in strategic areas where they can be covered by most types of clothing and swimsuits using advanced procedures. However, incisions might be rather large.
Closing the Incisions and Watching the Results
Deep sutures within the underlying tissues aid in the formation of newly shaped shapes. Sutures are used to seal skin incisions. The smoother, tighter contouring that results from a thigh lift is visible nearly immediately, despite some swelling and bruising. Wearing a compression garment for many weeks after your treatment may be essential to reduce swelling and support the tissues while they heal. Skin quality improves substantially after a thigh lift, both in appearance and feel.
Thigh Lift Recovery
Walking will be difficult following surgery. It is recommended that you get a walker before surgery to help you walk. An elevated toilet seat is useful in the first few days since sitting causes the thighs to swell, which can be uncomfortable. Patients may feel tired for the next 24 hours after surgery as a result of the medication given during the procedure. Patients shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or use power tools during this timeframe. Patients should also refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages, making key decisions, or smoking after surgery.
During the healing process after thigh lift surgery, dressings or bandages may be put on the incisions, and the patient may be dressed in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to reduce swelling and support the new shapes. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily inserted beneath the skin to drain any extra fluid or blood.
This might be a hard surgery for some patients to recover from. Swelling, pulsating, and throbbing are all present. The elevation is important since the edema will spread down the entire leg. Staying hydrated aids in the reduction of edema. However, there must be a balance found between the desire to walk and the need to elevate. Because of the compression clothes, the thighs can rub and stay together. Patients will be given detailed instructions on how to care for the surgery site and drains, drugs to apply or take orally to assist healing and lower the risk of infection, particular issues to watch for, and when to follow up with the cosmetic surgeon. During the healing process, the surgical wounds mustn’t be exposed to excessive strain, swelling, abrasion, or motion. Clothing options are seriously restricted during the early recovery period until the incisions heal. When the patient is resting and lifting the thighs, they must be appropriately cushioned.
The first two weeks following a thigh lift are important. The healing time for tissue removal from the inner or medial thigh is 3-4 weeks. Small separations in the incision are typical and necessitate additional healing time. The majority do not require surgical sealing as a second follow-up procedure. Larger thigh lifts may necessitate a 4-6-week recovery period. The longer the cut, the longer it will take for it to heal.
In general, patients should take at least one month off from work. Skin quality improves substantially after a thigh lift, both in appearance and feel. Some obvious scars will persist, but the overall results will continue as long as the patient maintains a healthy weight and overall fitness. It is natural for the body to lose some firmness as it ages. The majority of the early improvement, though, should be fairly permanent. Although positive outcomes are anticipated, there is no promise. In some cases, a single surgical treatment may not be enough to provide optimal results, and additional procedures may be required.
Thigh Lift Scars After 1 Year
Thigh lift scars will usually have diminished to be much lighter and flattened out after about one year. If your thigh lift scars are still visible after two years, you may want to pursue cosmetic surgery like microneedling to help diminish their appearance.
Thigh Lift Risks
Patients will be informed of the risks of the operation and will be required to sign consent forms to confirm that they fully comprehend the procedure. The following are the risks of thigh lift surgery:
- Anesthesia risks
- Inadequate wound healing
- Infection from Bleeding
- Buildup of fluid
- Significant wound separation
- Deep vein thrombosis, heart and lung complications
- Deep under the skin, fatty tissue may atrophy (fat necrosis)
- Persistent discomfort
- Discoloration and swelling of the skin
- Skin loss
- Sutures may emerge spontaneously through the skin, become noticeable, or cause discomfort that necessitates removal.
- Unfavorable scarring
- Paresthesia or other changes in skin sensory perception
- Recurrent stretchiness of the skin
- Likelihood of revision surgery
Thigh Lift Cost
A thigh lift is an aesthetic operation that is not usually covered by medical insurance. However, many doctors provide financing options and payment plans, so ask your doctor if there are any ways you may reduce some of the costs. The average price of a thigh lift surgery in 2019 was $5,000. This pricing just includes the surgeon's cost. You may be asked to pay for additional fees associated with the treatment, such as anesthesia, the facility, drugs, and so on. The total cost may also vary based on where you reside, the type of thigh lift you select, and the overall experience of your doctor.
Thigh Lift Before and After
The final results of a thigh lift are typically visible after several weeks or months, once the swelling has completely subsided. The scars from the incisions will also continue to fade over time. It is important to note that the outcome of a thigh lift can depend on the patient's anatomy, the surgeon's skill, and the patient's adherence to postoperative care instructions. Below are cartoon examples of the results that are expected after thigh lift surgery.
Thigh lift surgery contours the thighs and lower body by removing excess skin and fat, giving smoother skin and better-proportioned outlines. If your fitness and weight-control attempts have not resulted in a firmer, more youthful-looking, and more proportionate to your total body shape, a surgical lift may be the solution.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sharif Samir Alijla