Factors such as age, genetics, and weight fluctuations may cause visible body changes, including sagging skin, excess fat, and decreased muscle tone in your thigh area. Such issues may impact your body image and, in turn, your self-esteem.
Making healthy lifestyle changes can help make your upper legs appear smoother, more shapely, and more youthful-looking. However, in some cases, a thigh lift may be the ideal solution.
What Is a Thigh Lift?
A thigh lift, also known as a thighplasty, is a cosmetic surgery that removes excess skin and fat from your upper leg.
The procedure tightens and contours your inner and outer thighs, which reshapes them and makes them appear smoother. Moreover, it also reduces the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.
You may opt to have a thigh lift in itself or in combination with other procedures that target additional areas of your body, such as your abdomen and buttocks.
When you combine a thigh lift, abdominoplasty, and butt lift into a single procedure, it’s known as a lower body lift or 360-body lift.
Ideal Candidates for Thigh Lift Surgery
Do you dislike the appearance of your thighs due to loose skin and excess fatty tissue? Are you wondering whether you’re eligible for a thigh lift? Here are the general characteristics of a suitable thighplasty candidate:
- Has excess skin and fat in the inner and outer thigh region
- Doesn’t smoke
- Has relatively stable weight
- Has realistic expectations for the procedure
- Is committed to making healthy lifestyle choices
- Has good health overall
Preparing for Thigh Lift Surgery
Before your thigh lift surgery, your plastic surgeon may ask you to get a medical evaluation to ensure you’re fit for surgery. He/she may also instruct you to:
- Stop taking blood thinners, i.e., medications that reduce your blood’s ability to clot, resulting in excessive bleeding. They include aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, and herbal supplements.
- Adjust the medications you’re currently taking or start taking certain medications.
- Quit smoking.
Additionally, it’s advisable to have someone drive you to and from your thigh lift surgery. And if performed on an inpatient basis, ensure to arrange for a friend or family member to stay with you at the hospital for at least one night after surgery.
Types of Thigh Lifts
Your surgeon will make any of several incisions to perform a thighplasty, depending on your individual needs. Here are the different types of thigh lift:
- Inner (medial) thigh lift: removes excess skin in your inner thighs through an incision in your groin that runs down toward the back of your thigh. Alternatively, your surgeon can make an incision that extends from your groin down to your knee along your inner leg.
- Mini thigh lift: this technique involves making an incision in the groin area only. It results in a more discrete scar and is ideal for patients looking for more upper-inner thigh definition.
- Outer (bilateral) thigh lift: focuses on tightening your outer thigh skin via an incision that starts in your groin and extends around your hip and across the back.
If you also have excess fat in your inner or outer thigh area, your surgeon may perform liposuction before removing excess skin and repositioning the remaining skin.
What Does a Thigh Lift Procedure Involve?
Each of the above techniques used to perform thigh lift will require that they first put you under using general anesthesia or intravenous sedation.
Your plastic surgeon will then proceed to make the most appropriate incision for you based on:
- The thigh area requiring correction
- Degree of excess skin and fat
- Your’s and your surgeon’s preference
He/she will then remove excess skin and fat before embedding deep sutures in the underlying tissues to create and support your new thigh contours.
Next, the skin sutures are closed using sutures, skin adhesives, or clips. The procedure alone will take about 2 hours.
However, counting the time you spend in pre-op and post-op, the entire process will likely take up your whole day.
Risks and Potential Complications of a Thigh Lift
During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will discuss with you the risks of a thigh lift procedure before giving your consent. Risks and possible complications you should be fully aware of include:
- Anesthesia side effects
- Fluid buildup
- Delayed wound healing
- Severe wound dehiscence
- Persistent pain
- Skin discoloration
- Excessive scarring
- Skin loss
- Fat necrosis
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Possible revision surgery
What to Expect During Recovery
The newly formed smoother and tighter thigh contours are noticeable immediately following surgery. However, these initial results are obscured by swelling and bruising.
To help ease any swelling and discomfort, your surgeon may apply compression garments to your incisions.
You are to wear these dressings for four weeks post-surgery. Surgical drains may also be inserted near your incision to prevent excess fluid from accumulating by removing it.
Your plastic surgeon will give you instructions that are crucial to your surgery’s success. These include:
- Proper care for incision sites
- Oral medications to take and topical medications to apply to aid healing
- Incision site and overall health concerns to watch out for, such as worsening pain, fever, and wound dehiscence
- When and how many times you need to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Important questions you should consider asking about your recovery period include:
- When will the dressings and surgical drains be removed?
- When can I start exercising?
- How long till I can go back to work?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- How can I help minimize scarring?
- When can I shower?
What Results Can I Expect and How Long Will They Last
The results of a thigh lift may be evident immediately, but it will take several months to see the final outcome, usually after the swelling subsides.
If all goes as expected, you will notice improved skin quality in regards to appearance and feel.
A thigh lift will result in scarring. However, an experienced surgeon will place incisions in areas able to be hidden by most clothing and swimwear.
Overall, your thigh lift results will be long-lasting if you follow your surgeon’s instructions and maintain weight and general fitness stability.
How Much Does a Thigh Lift Cost?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a thigh lift cost $5,171 on average in 2019.
Keep in mind this is only part of the price and does not include costs for anesthesia, operating room, and the like.
How much you end up paying for your procedure will depend on factors such as your surgeon’s level of experience, the type of thighplasty performed, and the geographic location of the facility.
Will my insurance pay for my thigh lift?
A thigh lift is a cosmetic procedure. For this reason, your health insurance will typically not cover it. However, most plastic surgeons offer their patients several financing plans.
Finding a Qualified Plastic Surgeon for a Thigh Lift
The success of your thigh lift surgery largely depends on the plastic surgeon you choose. Use this checklist when vetting potential candidates to ensure you select a surgeon that’s a proven expert.
- Has the expertise required to perform a thigh lift; check whether he/she is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
- Has experience performing thigh lift surgery; ask to see before and after photos of their work.
- Has consistently produced exceptional results for past patients; check the surgeon’s ratings and reviews.
You can use our cosmetic surgeon locator to find the right surgeon for your surgery.
Thigh Lift Alternatives
If you decide you do not want to proceed with getting a thigh lift for whatever reason, there are other procedures you can consider. These include:
- Vanquish Me: a non-invasive body contouring and fat removal procedure that uses radiofrequency energy.
- Liposuction: removes unwanted fat from your thigh area by suctioning it out.
- Arasys: a slimming system that works by increasing your metabolic rate.
- Laser lipolysis: uses lasers to liquefy excess fat under the skin before removing it through liposuction.
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- What to Know About Thigh Lifts.(November 23,2020). healthline.com/health/thigh-lift