What is a thigh lift or thighplasty?
Thigh lift (similar to an arm lift) is a procedure for removing unwanted fat and skin from the inner thigh. This most often occurs when individuals have lost a large amount of weight through exercise or weight loss surgery. Incisions run along the inner thigh from the knee area to the groin and are well-hidden. After removing skin and fat, the remaining tissues are tailored extensively to produce an excellent contour and skin tightening effect.
How is a thigh lift performed?
A thigh lift is performed through an incision placed along the inside of the thigh. This incision usually starts near the knee area, then extends toward the groin. The length of the incision is usually dictated by the degree of flabbiness and redundant skin present. Once the incision is made, the redundant fat and skin is then excised. Extensive tailoring is then performed to limit the length of scar. The scar itself is kept along the “inseam” of the thigh so that it is well-hidden. The contour is touched up with liposuction to create an aesthetically pleasing form to the thigh. A small drain may be placed at the end of surgery.
What is the recovery?
A thigh lift can take between 2 and 4 hours to perform, depending on the degree of skin redundancy. It is routinely done in an outpatient setting. However, when combined with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck, breast reduction, or arm lift, then an overnight stay in an aftercare facility is highly recommended. Long-acting local anesthesia is used in combination with general anesthesia to limit pain substantially in the postoperative period. You should have a friend or relative assist you in the first 24 hours when you go home. Your initial dressings will include gauze and either an elastic bandage or a compression garment. Any external stitches or drains (if used) will be removed during the first visit. A compression garment will need to be worn around the clock for the next 3 to 4 weeks.
Your thighs may be bruised and swollen for the first week following surgery, however, pain is minimal. As with other body contouring procedures, you should plan on staying home for the first week, with very limited activities including walking, reading, and light duty around the house. Driving should be avoided during this time as well as heavy lifting or squatting type activities.
In 2 weeks, you may begin to gently increase your activity including more extensive walking, but avoid aggressive exercise or weight lifting. Running and other high impact activities are also to be avoided for 6 weeks.
There may be some diminished sensation along the inner part of the thigh. Much of this will go away as the swelling subsides over the next 6 weeks. Occasionally, the decreased sensation may be permanent.
What are the risks and complications?
A thigh lift is a relatively simple surgery, but it does take a trained aesthetic eye to limit the length and visibility of the scar and to produce an excellent contour. Basic risks include sensitivity or reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, or infection. A hematoma can be drained in the office with local anesthetic. An infection may require oral antibiotics and possibly open drainage, if it occurs. In more severe cases, a bad infection may require intravenous antibiotics and a brief hospitalization.
Scars are commonplace for any surgical procedure. In a thigh lift, the scars can sometimes be quite extensive. They can be raised or can stretch or widen over time. Dr. Panossian has developed his own technique for improving the appearance of scars with a combination of products and timing that have provided consistent fantastic results.
Slight asymmetry is always a risk in plastic surgery. After a thigh lift, there may be subtle differences between the thighs in terms of scarring, shape, or decreased sensation. Once again, these are relatively rare occurrences in experienced hands. In inexperienced hands, injury to the nerves of the thigh can also occur, resulting in temporary or permanent weakness or numbness.
Dr. Panossian has vast experience in minimal-scar plastic surgery and will be happy to go over your options during consultation. He spends a large amount of time with his patients going over the details and customized plan before any surgery. His staff is also available at all times to answer your questions and address problems, should they arise. Call today for a consultation.