As patients age and put on extra weight, it can become especially difficult to maintain slim and toned thighs. For those who are prone to put on weight and develop loose skin in this area, it can be downright impossible to improve the appearance of the thighs with a healthy diet and regular exercise. At Jefferson Plastic Surgery, our Philadelphia surgeons perform thigh lift surgery address skin laxity and contour.
Thigh Lift Candidates
Ideal candidates for thigh lift surgery have an excess of loose, saggy skin on the inside, outside, front, or back of the thighs. This accumulation of skin is common in patients that have lost weight due to diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. In addition to skin laxity on the thighs, patients should be healthy and not smoke.
Thigh Lift Techniques
The following thigh lift techniques target loose skin on specific areas of the thighs:
- Inner/medial thigh lift: As its name indicates, the inner thigh lift allows for skin tightening on the inner thighs. This approach involves an incision in the natural crease where the thigh and pubic area meet (the groin). Once this incision is made, the skin on the inner thigh is pulled up, excess skin is removed, and the incision is closed.
- Vertical thigh lift: The vertical thigh lift is performed to correct severe skin laxity of the inner thighs. In this approach, the groin incision extends down the inner thigh to the knee.
- Outer/bilateral thigh lift: In the outer thigh lift, the incision runs along the crease of the groin and then around the curve of the hips. This allows for skin tightening and skin removal of the outside and front of the thighs.
- Spiral thigh lift: The spiral thigh lift targets all of the skin on the thighs. In this approach, an incision is made in the groin and in the natural crease below the buttocks.
In some cases, liposuction is performed along with thigh lift surgery to improve results.
Thigh Lift Procedure
The thigh lift procedure takes two to three hours to perform and involves the following steps:
- The thighs are marked with a surgical pen to indicate where the incisions will be placed
- The patient is put under general anesthesia
- Anti-bacterial solution is applied to the incision areas
- The incisions are made
- The skin is separated from the underlying tissues and muscles
- The tissue is adjusted and tightened to create a smooth surface for the skin to conform to
- The skin is stretched over the thighs and pulled tight
- Excess skin is removed
- The incisions are closed
- The treatment area is cleaned
- Medical tape and bandages are applied
- The surgical process is completed on the other thigh
Thigh Lift Recovery
It is important that patients rest, with the head in an elevated position, for a few days after thigh lift surgery. During this time, pain medication can be taken to ease discomfort and ice packs can be applied to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising.
When patients feel up to it, we recommend taking brief, five-minute walks to encourage blood flow. However, any heavy activity should be avoided for four to six weeks after surgery.
Compression garments should be worn, day and night, for at least four weeks after surgery. Compression garments will help the skin to lay flat against the underlying structures of the body.
Thigh Lift Side Effects
Thigh lift surgery does result in side effects, which will be the most severe in the week after surgery. Side effects tend to fade quickly after the first week.
- Tingling, numbness, or an itchy sensation at the incision site
Thigh Lift Risks
Thigh lift surgery may result in serious complications, though these are rare:
- Allergic reaction
- Asymmetry of the thighs
- Slow wound healing
- Unfavorable scarring
Thigh Lift Results
In general, patients can expect to see the final results of thigh lift surgery one to three months after surgery. However, scars will take up to a year to fade.
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