Also known as a thigh dermolipectomy, a thigh lift refers to the tightening of the skin and fatty tissue around the thighs. Unlike liposuction, there is no removal of fat or change in thigh shape. Instead, a thigh lift tightens and improves the look of the skin. It can be performed under local or general anesthesia. It is typically combined with thigh liposuction.
Different incision patterns are possible and result in different scars.
An inner (medial) thigh lift involves incisions in the groin fold. This is the most popular type of thigh lift. It is best for people with a moderate amount of skin and fat in this area. For an inner thigh lift, your surgeon basically lifts up the thigh skin and tissue, tightening it.
A vertical thigh lift involves a vertical incision that starts at the groin crease and extends to the inner knee. The scar is visible when the inner thighs are exposed such as when you are wearing a bathing suit. During a vertical thigh lift, your surgeon removes a wedge of skin from the inner thigh. Individuals with more fat and loose skin may need a vertical thigh lift.
An outer thigh lift requires an incision that extends from the groin around the hip. A newer procedure called the spiral thighplasty targets the front, back, inner and outer thigh. The incision is below the buttock fold and continues over the groin crease at the junction of the thigh and pubic area. This plastic surgery procedure is ideal for people who have lost weight.
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Who is a candidate?
Candidates for a thigh lift are physically healthy and have realistic expectations about the range of cosmetic outcomes possible from the procedure. They should be at a stable weight, but still have excess soft tissue along the inner and/or outer thigh that they are bothered by.
Who is not a candidate?
Candidates who smoke or have serious conditions that interfere with the regular healing process are not good candidates for thigh lift. Patients that have not been able to maintain their weight are also not good candidates for thigh lift.
Like other procedures, thigh lift requires certain general surgery procedures such as preoperative blood testing, medications, and cessation of smoking or use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
During initial recovery, pain is generally mild and mainly due to any liposuction. Complete healing is achieved in 2-3 weeks, but scars will require special dressing for 2-3 months to reduce their appearance. Some physicians recommend a daily anticoagulant therapy to reduce the risk of developing complications, and may recommend wearing a compression garment. Patients typically return to work 1 to 4 weeks after surgery, depending on how much physical activity is required. Vigorous exercise can resume after 4 to 6 weeks. Final results take 6 to 12 months, including mitigation of visible scars.
As with any surgery, there are risks of complications related to infection or adverse reactions to anesthesia. The propensity for developing a wound infection is higher for thigh lifts than other similar cosmetic procedures due to the place where the incisions are made. Excellent hygiene and wound care are essential. A proper assessment of every patient, along with complete lab work, will help prevent postoperative complications. After healing, scars are handled with special treatments to minimize their appearance.
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