William Callaghan. MD (3 Surgery)
Thigh Lift – Thighplasty
A thigh lift (thighplasty) is a procedure that reduces, or removes, excess skin and fat in the thigh and knee area, resulting in a redefined and contoured appearance.
To correctly perform thigh lift surgery the goals must be to create thighs that are proportionate to the rest of the trunk, namely, the buttocks, hips, and abdomen. Another words, a shapely and “hour-glass” appearance.
The thighs should appear smooth and reveal the underlying muscles. The inner thighs should be firm and flat.
Anyone who has saggy, flabby and/or loose tissue and skin on their thighs may be candidates for this procedure. Patients who have lost massive amounts of weight after bariatric surgery may also benefit from thigh lifts to get rid of the excess fat and flab in this area.
Types of Procedures
There are several types of thigh lift which differ according to incision pattern.
For example, 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 to tighten it.
A vertical thighplasty involves an incision that starts at the groin crease and extends to the inner knee. The scar is visible when the inner thighs are exposed. During a vertical thigh lift, your surgeon removes a wedge of skin from the inner thigh. This type of procedure is generally for individuals with more significant fat and loose skin.
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.
It is not unusual to combine liposuction to further define the thighs.
Following a thigh lift, there will be bruising, swelling and soreness, but some of the results — namely the smooth, tight contours — will be visible immediately. Most of the swelling resolves in several days to several weeks. At times a drainage tube is placed to remove excess fluid and bloody discharge. A compression garment is recommended to protect the incisions and promote shrinking and tightening of the skin after your surgery.
Follow up is generally within 1-3 days after surgery and according to the surgeon’s custom. Early ambulation is recommended, as it is for most operations.
Some of the risks associated with thigh lifts include:
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Blood clots
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Anesthesia risks
- Skin discoloration and/or swelling
- Death of fatty tissue found deep in the skin (fat necrosis)
- Major wound separation
- Persistent pain
- Unsatisfactory results
- Deep vein thrombosis, heart and lung complications
- Recurrent skin looseness
- Skin irritation from sutures (may require removal)
Possibility of a secondary surgery