Leg Renewal: Thigh Lift Overview
- 20 February 2014
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
If you live in a hot climate, no matter your age, you are likely baring your legs, or you might wish you could. A much under-publicized procedure is the thigh lift. Let me give a brief overview of what is involved.
A thigh lift is a surgical procedure whereby
skin and fat are removed to improve the shape and contour of the upper legs, making them look smoother and shapelier. The amount of excess skin and fat removed varies according to need. With good skin elasticity and a mild excess of skin and fat on the inner thigh, only a minimal incision is needed (medial or inner thigh lift). For more severe cases, for example after significant weight loss, it is necessary to remove large amounts of skin. In such cases, an incision would be needed that goes vertically down the thigh (vertical thigh lift) or all the way around the thigh (lateral thigh lift).The cost depends on the procedure, but you should keep in mind that expenses include the surgeon’s fee, hospital fees, anesthesia fee, medication, post-surgery garments, and medical tests.
To be eligible for a thigh lift you can be of any age, but must be a non-smoker, healthy, and of stable weight. Although a thigh lift can improve your self-esteem, give you more choice of clothes to wear,and make you less self-conscious in the gym or at the beach, it is vital that you have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do for you.
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Thigh lifts are normally performed under general anesthesia and take 2-3 hours. The surgeon makes the incision and gently lifts the skin and fat off the underlying thigh muscle. Excess is removed and the skin is then pulled up and replaced over the thigh muscle. The incision is carefully closed using deep sutures that are absorbed slowly and do not need removing. A thin rubber tube is placed during surgery to drain any fluid or blood that might collect. It is removed after a few days. An overnight stay in hospital is recommended to ensure that no undue strain is placed on the incisions.
There will be some swelling and bruising after surgery so a compression garment should be worn for about 3 weeks. Antibiotics and pain relief products will be needed at first. Rest is essential for the first few days but you should walk a little, even on the day after surgery, to prevent formation of blood clots in the legs. At least a week off work is necessary, but up to 6 weeks rest may be needed for larger thigh reductions. For medial thigh lifts, strenuous activity can be gradually resumed after 6-8 weeks.
Results are long-lasting provided that a stable weight and general fitness are maintained. A medial thigh lift leaves an inconspicuous scar along the groin crease. The scar resulting from a vertical thigh lift runs down the inside of the thigh to just above the knee and can be seen if wearing a short dress or shorts. A lateral thigh lift leaves a scar around the hip that is hidden by underclothes. The scars do improve with time but rarely fade completely. Most feel that this is outweighed by the benefits of a thigh lift.