Thigh Lift

Thigh Lift Surgery

As we age or lose large amounts of weight, the buttock, outer thighs, inner thighs and abdominal areas may sag. This is true for men and women. Clothes no longer fit as well so people tend to hide under larger sizes and, in some cases, stop doing enjoyable activities such as going to the beach. An outer thigh/buttock lift or inner thigh lift is like a facelift for the lower extremities. It may be combined with a tummy tuck, called a body lift, to address the front, sides and the back of the torso.

Thigh lift

Large weight gain (with or without subsequent loss), pregnancies, hereditary factors, hormonal influences and stretching are all factors that contribute to unattractive thighs and buttocks.

Although weight control through diet and exercise is most important, many structural changes cannot be corrected through any method other than surgery. In cases where a large amount of excessive skin is present in the form of folds, liposuction alone will not give satisfactory results. The excessive skin must be removed along an incision which is usually located within a bathing suit line at the level of a crease. Stretch marks may be improved, but can never be entirely eliminated.

The patient considering surgery should be in general good health and weight should be reasonable. The surgery is not a weight control measure though it may be helpful after a large amount of weight is lost and residual sagging skin remains. He or she should not smoke and should be on some type of exercise program. (Running or walking is recommended.)

Commonly during a leg lift, an incision is made in the upper inner thighs (possibly into the lower inner thigh), and the excess skin and fat is lifted at the surgeon’s discretion. He or she will determine how much can safely be removed. Once the excess is removed, the remaining skin is closed with sutures that can be removed in about a week. The type of incision and a patient’s resulting scar will be determined by the location and amount of excess skin and fat. It may be limited to the upper groin crease or possibly extend to the knee area if this region

You should wear loose fitting clothing that will wash easily in the event they are soiled. Do not wear jewelry, contact lenses, or bring valuables to the operating room. Remove all jewelry from pierced body parts, as this can interfere with the procedure and may represent a safety threat to you because of the use of electrocautery during the procedure.

Thigh lifts are performed by making an incision in the inner groin crease, along the underwear line, so that the skin can be tightened without a scar on the leg itself. The skin is lifted down to the muscle layer, peripheral excessive fat is excised away, loose excessive skin is removed and the skin is pulled upwards like a pair of stockings.

The tissues are meticulously closed with several layers of specialized stitches. Stitches placed under the skin are usually absorbable. Those on the surface of the skin are removed at ten days.

An inner thigh lift procedure takes approximately two hours. Usually the procedure begins with liposuction and is followed by the removal of excess skin.

Sterile dressings are placed on the incisions followed by an elastic garment that goes from the waist to just above the knees. Patients are usually ready for discharge from the recovery area approximately 4-6 hours following the procedure

Surgery Length3 hours
Side EffectsTemporary pain. Swelling, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising, tiredness for several weeks or months.
Recovery PeriodBack to work: 2 to 4 weeks. More strenuous activity: 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of scars: 3 months to 2 years.
Stay in Hospital2 days
Stay in Thailand10-15 days

Recovery normally entails one to two days in bed, three to five additional days of relaxing and convalescing (during which the patient may begin to get up to shower, etc.), and another three to five days of progressive activity. (Driving, sex, etc. may gradually be resumed during this period.) Twelve to fourteen days is the usual length of recovery. Once the incisions have had some time to heal, you should wear tight bicycle pants to help the skin heal in position.

Dependent on the extent of tissue excess and laxity, considerable improvement in contour and profile can be seen. Discomfort is much less than most patients expect. Any soreness is easily controlled with analgesics.

For two days, try to rest as much as possible and stay on a soft diet. Eat lightly, but drink plenty of fluids and eat fruit to prevent constipation. Slight oozing of your incision lines is normal for a day or two, but if you notice excessive swelling or large amounts of blood on your dressings, call the office.

During the first several days after surgery, it is not unusual to have drainage from your incisions. At the time of surgery, fluid is injected into your thighs to decrease blood loss and facilitate the liposuction. Much of your drainage will be this fluid. Walking during the first 48 hours is strongly recommended as tolerated. Climbing stairs or activities that produce tension across the wounds such as squatting should be avoided for the first three days.

You will be seen back at the office in two to three days for removal of dressings and evaluation of wounds. Wearing the elastic garment is optional at this point. Some patients feel more comfortable with it, while others, especially in the summer, find them unpleasant. There is no data to suggest wearing a garment improves overall outcome. Showering is permitted 48 hours after surgery.

The next visit will be at 10-12 days after surgery. This time, the doctor will reassess the incisions and verify that appropriate healing is taking place. Non-absorbable stitches along your inner thighs will be removed. Your thighs will feel “tight” and will be swollen. Most of the swelling should be gone by six weeks after surgery. Individuals with desk-type employment may resume work in one week. Lifting should be limited to 25 lbs. for four weeks. Others with work involving prolonged periods of standing, walking or heavy lifting may need to wait from three to six weeks. Vigorous activities or aerobic exercises should not be resumed for six weeks.

The scars will tend to become increasingly red after two weeks and begin to fade after two to three months. The scars will never completely disappear and will take from 12-18 months to reach their final appearance.