Most people would like to have thighs that are lean, firm, well-contoured, and proportionate with the rest of their body. For many, however, the effects of aging, gravity, fluctuations in weight, pregnancy, significant weight loss, and loss of skin elasticity can all contribute to laxity of the hip, thighs, and/or buttock areas.Thigh lift, also known as thighplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove excess thigh skin and fat from the thigh to create a tighter, firmer, more toned thigh appearance. You may also desire this procedure if your thigh skin is saggy, flabby and/or dimpled.Reasons for getting a thigh lift procedure vary from one person to the next. For some patients, the thighs reflect the aging process and a thigh lift can improve the appearance of the thighs and buttock. For others who have lost significant weight or have had bariatric surgery, they find themselves dealing with another problem: excess tissue and skin, and associated rash and infection.
Thighplasty, or thigh lift surgery, creates a more streamlined thigh by toning and refining the leg. This surgical procedure works to achieve firmer, sleeker upper legs. Thigh lift surgery is usually performed on individuals who have lost weight, which results in loose, excess skin. Many different types of thigh lifts can be performed to reach the desired goals, depending on the specific areas of the thigh that need work.
The doctor will suggest a consultation in which all of your options will be discussed. During the consultation, the type of thigh lift surgery you may benefit from will be determined. The two different types are:
A medial thigh lift targets the upper area of the inner thigh. It minimizes the excess fat and skin and is geared toward those who are either unhappy with the shape of their legs or who have just experienced significant weight loss and have excess skin. During the medial thigh lift surgery, the doctor makes an incision that goes from the groin to the back of the crease in the buttocks. The excess fat and skin are removed and the skin is lifted, thereby tightening the skin and enhancing the shape of the leg.
A lateral thigh lift targets the outer thigh and is often performed during a body lift. Liposuction often accompanies a lateral thigh lift to help remove excess fat. A condition often referred to as saddle bags, when there is excess skin and fat that causes sagging, is corrected with a lateral thigh lift. The surgical procedure recaptures a smoother, more streamlined appearance.
Spiral Thigh Lift is the signature thigh lift procedure that was developed by Orange County Plastic Surgery for those patients who have significant vertical laxity of their thighs, typically after massive weight loss. The Spiral Thigh Lift improves the laxity of thigh front, back, and the inner surface. It is more comprehensive than an inner thigh lift procedure, since it corrects the back of the thighs, the inner aspect of the thighs and the front surface of the thighs. In contrast, the standard inner thigh lift procedure only corrects for the inner thigh laxity. It is important to understand that thigh lift procedures do not correct thigh skin laxity evenly. Given the fact that the thigh incision is placed at the groin crease, the lift is best appreciated at the incision site. As one moves down the thigh towards the knees, the degree of correction becomes less appreciable. Although, a thigh lift can improve the skin excess above the knee, it does not offer complete correction of the knee area.
A vertical thighplasty is recommended for the treatment of significant thigh skin looseness that appears in a circumferential (horizontal) dimension. The procedure involves removal of a large ellipse of skin and tissue of the inner thigh through a vertical incision that starts at the groin crease and extends to the inner knee. It is a thigh reduction procedure and should not be called a thigh lift. Although vertical thighplasty remove a significant amount of loose thigh skin, it does not actually lift the thigh tissue.
A thigh lift procedure does leave scars but because the incisions are placed in inconspicuous locations, the scars are easily hidden by underwear or bathing suits.
Recovery for thigh lift surgery depends on the extent of the procedure. Recovery may take only several hours or require a hospital stay of one or two days. Walking is recommended to help minimize swelling after surgery. The first three or so days following surgery you may experience some pain and swelling. The pain can be managed with medication.
Most individuals can return to work in about two weeks but strenuous physical activity should be avoided for about a month. Support garments for your legs are required to reduce the swelling for at least a few weeks after thigh lift surgery. It will take about three weeks for much of the swelling to disappear but you may see residual swelling for several months. The doctor will give you antibiotics to prevent any infections. Stitches are removed in one week following surgery but deeper sutures do not get removed for two to three weeks.