Loose, hanging skin around the thighs can cause aesthetic and functional problems. Many people end up with it after losing significant weight. However, in order to get rid of it, they have to undergo a surgical procedure known as a thigh lift.
It is also possible to combine a thigh lift with other surgical procedures to achieve a better body contour. It is important to remember that even though a thigh lift can remove excess fat from the area, it is not specifically intended for that purpose. You’d need another fat removal procedure for that.
What Is A Thigh Lift?
A thigh lift, also known as thighplasty, is an invasive body contouring surgery that involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the thighs. The procedure aims to tighten the dimpled and crinkled skin around the thighs so that they appear firm and smooth.
Loose skin can be a result of ageing, genetics, or weight fluctuations. The skin loses the elastin protein – which makes it elastic – with age. This can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle factors and weight changes. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reverse stretched skin with diet or exercise.
The appearance of the hanging skin makes many people uncomfortable. Because of that, they want to avoid wearing swimsuits, sportswear, and shorts. However, a thigh lift can effectively reshape and contour the thighs so that people can feel more confident in their bodies. You can also combine this procedure with a tummy tuck and buttock lift. If skin elasticity is an issue following liposuction, a thigh lift is recommended with the procedure.
Who Is A Good Candidate for Thigh Lift Surgery?
You are suitable for a thigh reduction surgery in the following cases:
- You are at your ideal weight since a thigh lift is not a weight loss procedure.
- You are in good physical health with no pre-existing medical illnesses that slow down the recovery or make the surgery risky.
- You do not smoke or have quit smoking.
- You want to get rid of excess skin around the different areas of your thigh.
- You want to get rid of cellulite and stretch marks on your thighs.
- You have infection and rashes as a result of sagging skin.
- You are committed to a healthy lifestyle.
- You have realistic expectations from the surgery.
How Best To Prepare for A Thigh Lift Surgery?
Before getting a thigh surgery, you need to make the following preparations:
- Discontinue any blood-thinning medications or supplements as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not consume any foods or beverages after midnight before the surgery.
- Continue maintaining a stable weight.
- Ensure personal hygiene.
What Is A Thigh Lift Procedure?
Before the surgery, it is possible that an X-ray and ECG are done. To check for any blood-borne illnesses, a blood test might also be done. If you’re cleared for the surgery, you’ll have a face-to-face consultation with the surgeon so that you can discuss your needs and expectations with them. Following that, you will undergo surgery.
A thigh lift usually takes place under general anaesthesia. The site of the incisions varies depending on the type of thigh lift you’re undergoing. The surgeon will try to hide them in the bikini line when possible. The excess skin and fat are removed from the thighs, and the skin is stitched back up. The whole procedure takes 2-3 hours.
Types of Thigh Lift
Depending on the target area, your needs, and the extent of the problem, your surgeon may perform one of the following types of thigh lifts:
Inner Thigh Lift
Inner thighplasty removes excess skin and fat from the lower portion of the inner thighs. Either incisions are made from the groin towards the back of the thigh or along the inseam. It will be determined by your surgeon.
Outer Thigh Lift
An outer thighplasty addresses the excess skin and fat on the outside of the thighs. For this, incisions are along the groin, but they extend outwards towards the hips and the lower back.
Medial Thigh Lift
A medial thigh lift addresses the skin and fat cells on the upper portion of the inner thighs. Incisions are made similar to that of an inner thigh lift.
Bilateral Thigh Lift
A bilateral thigh lift mainly focuses on the excess skin on the front and outer sides of the thighs. Incisions are made similar to that of an outer thigh lift.
Mini Thigh Lift
Depending on your concern areas, your surgeon may recommend a mini thigh lift. This surgery targets the upper, inner thighs, while the incisions for this are only made in the groin region.
What To Expect After Thigh Lift Surgery?
Depending on the type of thigh tightening procedure you have, it may be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Regardless, you’ll leave the clinic with sutures in place and maybe even drainage tubes.
You will also be wearing compression garments for a few weeks (4-6) to help with the swelling. Make sure to change your dressing (ask your surgeon how) and keep it clean. In order to recover normally, you may be expected to take 1-2 weeks off work.
You may be prescribed antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-swelling tablets. It’s important that you take them. Also, you should avoid taking any baths for at least 2 days after the surgery. It’s important that you avoid any strenuous physical activity for at least 4-6 weeks.
However, you will have to move around a little to ensure sufficient circulation of blood in that area. Only resume it after consulting with your surgeon. You might also have to sleep on your back for at least 1-2 weeks.
How Long Does A Thigh Last?
The results of a thigh lift surgery are permanent, but you need to maintain a stable weight. Any weight fluctuations due to life changes (pregnancy) can alter the results of the procedure. It is also important to keep in mind that your skin will lose elasticity as a result of ageing. This can slightly affect the final results of the surgery.
What Are the Side Effects of A Thigh Lift Procedure?
You may experience the following post-op side effects:
- Scarring (the surgeon tries to keep them inconspicuous, and they fade with time)
Although you’ll notice a dramatic change in the appearance of your thighs immediately after the surgery, keep in mind that you won’t see the final results until the swelling has gone away. You will start to see the results after 1.5 months, and they’ll continue to get better over the course of the year.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or arrhythmic heartbeats, you should immediately get in touch with your doctor. Also, if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, oozing, warmth, increasing pain, or swelling, you should get help.
It’s important that you follow the aftercare instructions of your surgeon to avoid poor healing and scarring. Every surgery has some risks and complications. It’s important that you ask your surgeon about the more serious complications of this procedure. Make sure that you choose a qualified and experienced surgeon. In some patients, unequal amounts of fat cells and skin are removed from both the thighs, which can result in visible asymmetry.
What’s the Recovery Timeline of Thigh Lift?
Below we have summarised the things that you might experience during the recovery process of your thigh lift and how long it might take for your body to overcome those complications. In any case, your surgical area should be kept safe from any sudden movements or excessive force.
|Expected Side Effects
|What To Do
|1 Day After Surgery
|Tiredness, soreness, and/or nausea
|Have someone accompany you. Avoid driving, take ample rest and stay hydrated.
|2-28 Days After Surgery
|Swelling and bruising in the surgical area. This may be accompanied by leakage and small wound openings.
|Make sure you’re wearing your compression garment.
Regularly, carefully, and properly change your bandage dressing.
Avoid activities that require too much movement. Take short walks, though. It can help improve blood circulation to the wound, which can help in faster recovery.
To reduce the swelling, avoid any foods that are salty. Stick to a low-sodium diet.
|1-2 Months After Surgery
|You might still have swelling around the surgical area. However, you will notice that the scarring has started to fade.
|You can continue with your day-to-day activities at this point in your recovery phase.
|1 Year After Surgery
|You will see the final results of your thigh lift surgery after a year.
The swelling usually lasts for around 6 months after the surgery. Still, you might have some swelling after a year.
You will also notice that your scar has largely faded away. It will take some time to completely go away.
|To get rid of the swelling, make sure that you exercise.
You can try to reduce the appearance of the scars by using bio oil (ask your doctor before using it).
How Much Does Thigh Lift Surgery Cost?
A thigh lift might not be available on the NHS or on health insurance if you’re getting it for cosmetic reasons. So, you’ll have to get it privately. In the UK, a thigh lift can cost anywhere between £5,000 to £7,500. The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the location of the clinic, the experience of the surgeon and the type of the surgery.
Summing Up the Discussion
Thigh lift surgery can contour your legs in the way that you desire. For some time after the surgery, you might experience some difficulties. But it’s only temporary and part of the recovery process.
In order to improve the results of the thigh lift, you can also combine other surgeries with it. Regardless, it is important that you take good care of yourself after the surgery to ensure good results. If at any point you feel like you’re not recovering normally, you should get in touch with your surgeon.