Thighplasty (thigh lift) is performed to tighten the skin of the thighs, with the goal being to produce slim, contoured thighs that look more proportionate to the rest of the body. Thighplasty may be performed alone, or in combination with other cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction, that slim the lower body.
Candidates for thighplasty are individuals:
- in good general health
- who have excess skin and/or tissue on their thighs as a result of aging, pregnancy or significant weight loss
- who are at or near their ideal body weight and have maintained a stable weight
- with reasonable expectations regarding the results of the procedure
Thighplasty is not considered a procedure for losing weight; it is performed only on those who are close to their ideal weight but unhappy with the appearance of their thighs.
The Thighplasty Procedure
Thigh lift surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure is usually performed with a combination of excisional surgery and liposuction. In the event that there is not a significant amount of excess skin liposuction may be utilized with or without a smaller incision within the medial (inner) thigh. In cases where there is significant excess, loose or redundant skin, a medial incision is designed beginning in the groin crease and extending down to the knee. Liposuction may be performed throughout the rest of the thigh and the excess skin is trimmed and removed in the inner thigh. In excisional thigh lift, skin and/or fat is removed; underlying tissue is reshaped and tightened with support sutures; and the remaining skin is lifted and smoothed, and sutured into place at the incision site. The incisions are closed in multiple layers with dissolvable sutures. Drains are placed to keep fluid from building up at the site where excision was performed. These are usually removed within the first 1-2 weeks. Compression dressings are placed at the conclusion of the procedure. Postsurgery, a compression garment is worn to minimize swelling and promote healing.
Recovery From Thighplasty
Patients are usually discharged the same day as surgery. Dressings are left in place for the first 48 hours. After dressings are removed patients may shower even if drains remain in. Bruising, swelling and soreness are common after thighplasty; pain medication is typically prescribed. Drains are managed at home and are usually removed within the first 1-2 weeks. Patients are advised to continue wearing their compression garment for the first month. Bruising and swelling are usually gone within a month. Patients can return to work within 7 to 10 days, and resuming most physical activity is permissible at 6 weeks. Although there are scars, they are hidden in the body's natural creases, and will fade over time.
Risks Of Thighplasty
In addition to the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, those related to thighplasty include the following:
- Fat necrosis
- Skin loss or discoloration
- Separation or widening of incisions
- Loose skin
- Unattractive scarring
- Persistent lower extremity swelling or edema
Revision surgery may be necessary to correct some of these problems.
Results Of Thighplasty
The smoother, tighter contours provided by thighplasty are apparent almost immediately, although in many cases they are significantly obscured by swelling. Thighplasty's results are long-lasting, as long as patients do not gain significant amounts of weight and they maintain a healthy lifestyle.