A Comprehensive Guide to a Thigh Lift Procedure
- 07 April 2014
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
It seems that the legs, specifically the thigh area, are often one of the hardest parts of our bodies to firm and shape to the meet our ideal. Losing weight, although it may be a challenge, is not always the hardest part. In Miami, FL there are a wide variety of services that can help you on the weight
loss front, from diet and nutrition centers, to gyms, and in some cases, bariatric surgery. However, after the weight loss, when the thighs are still not where you want them to be, you may need to seek medical assistance.
If this sounds familiar and you have recently lost a lot of weight, you may be looking into your options to shed the extra skin that remains. A thigh lift is one of the procedures that you might be investigating, and it is important for you to know and understand the ins and outs of the procedure when making the decision. Here is a comprehensive guide to the thigh lift procedure to help you make the right decision for you.
What is a thigh lift?
A thigh lift is a surgical procedure that is done to remove excess skin from the thighs down to the knees. It is often used to aid in the recovery process of significant weight loss, and produces much smoother, younger looking thighs. Due to the stretching that the skin endures during weight gain, the skin loses its elasticity. A thigh lift can help fix this. It can also aid in body contouring by shaping the thigh area to appear proportional with the rest the body.
Thigh lifts offered can improve skin elasticity in the thighs that would otherwise appear saggy. A thigh lift may also get rid of annoying dimples that are on the inner or outer thighs.
A thigh lift is not a procedure that is used to remove unwanted fat, but instead the excess skin. Commonly, a thigh lift will be done in conjunction with liposuction if the desired results warrant it. Liposuction typically requires young, elastic skin, but if performed in addition to a thigh lift, the excess skin can be removed to get the results you want.
Thigh lift procedures can differ based on the incision used to complete the surgery.
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Types of Surgeries and Options
A thigh lift procedure can be done using a variety of approaches and techniques depending on where the targeted area is and where the incisions will be made. The overall goal remains the same: tighten and remove excess skin to achieve younger looking thighs.
An inner thigh lift can be performed and will focus on the inner thigh. This area is more commonly addressed in women since it is a more common area for women to store excess fat than men. This procedure is also called a medial thigh lift. A medial thigh lift effectively removes the excess skin that tends to accumulate in the upper area on the inside of the thighs. In this operation, the incision will be made in the groin and will go back towards the bottom of the buttocks. The same concept will be used to remove a piece of excess skin and then pulled up to tighten the area.
A bilateral thigh lift will focus on tightening and removing excess skin on the outer thigh along with the front of the thighs. The incision for this type of thigh lift will be made right at the bikini line, or where the bottom of your underwear lies on the front of your thighs. Excess skin is removed and then pulled up to tighten the area. This surgical procedure is useful after bariatric weight loss operations, or significant weight loss.
Remember, regardless of the type of thigh lift you want, it should not be used as a method to remove excess fat. Sometimes during a thigh lift small amounts of fat are removed, but if fat removal is your main goal then you should reconsider the type of procedure you would like. Liposuction may be a better option for you, as it is primarily used to remove unwanted fat from specific areas. You may also want to consider doing both procedures in combination to achieve your desired results. If you are up front with your surgeon about your goals, he or she will likely recommend this.
Top Reasons To Have Thigh Lift Surgery
Massive weight loss: The number one reason South Florida residents, and specifically those in Miami, FL have a thigh lift procedure is post-weight loss body contouring. After weight gain, the skin loses its elasticity and will usually not bounce back to the tight and young looking thighs that you had prior to the weight gain.
Post-pregnancy: Thigh lifts are also popular as part of post-pregnancy mommy makeovers. Childbearing can be hard on the whole body, and the inner thighs are often subject to much loss of elasticity during that time.
Body contouring: A thigh lift can assist in body contouring and provide a better shape to the lower body. Excess skin may leave unwanted lumps that can even be visible through clothing, not to mention in beachwear. This can be addressed with a thigh lift that can remove the excess skin to provide a smoother curve.
Aging: It is not only those who have lost a great deal of weight who are good candidates for a thigh lift. The natural progression of aging alone can cause significantly looser skin and significant sagging of the skin in the thigh area. Genetic make-up can affect where and how skin sags, and some are more prone to thigh sagging than others.
Is a Thigh Lift an Appropriate Procedure for Me?
When you are considering a thigh lift, it is important to feel confident that you are a good candidate for the procedure. Since this procedure is usually done after weight loss, it is very important for you have to be at a point where you will not be losing any more weight in the near future. You also have to be honest with yourself and commit to maintaining the weight that you have reached without having residual weight gain in months to come.
Give yourself the best chance to have the best results. This means you should make sure that you are at your peak in terms of physical fitness, and overall general health. If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you stop smoking several weeks prior to the operation and refrain from picking up the habit postoperatively for several weeks. Smoking tends to make the healing process more complicated and difficult for your body. If at all possible, quit smoking for good!
When you decide to have a thigh lift, make a commitment to yourself to maintain a healthy lifestyle after surgery. Promise yourself that you will continue the healthy lifestyle that you have initiated; surgery is a big commitment and you deserve both the procedure and the gift of a healthy life in your new, toned body.
Steps Involved in the Surgical Procedure
After your consultation, a surgical date will be booked. Your surgeon may request some pre-operative testing as well.
On the day of surgery, you will arrive a couple of hours before the procedure is scheduled to begin. You will meet your team including the anesthetist, your surgeon and nurses. Before going into the operating room, you will receive surgical markings on the thighs. The markings will be made while standing to account for the direct effects of gravity. Pay attention during this process, as it is your last chance to clear up any uncertainties and ensure that you are getting exactly what you want.
Just before the operation, you will receive sedation and anesthesia through an IV. The medications that you will get will vary based on your personal needs and the details of the procedure.
During the thigh lift, incisions will be made at the top of the thighs. The location of the incisions depends on the type of thigh lift you decide to have and the amount of correction that is needed. The incisions will be well hidden along the bikini line.
After the incisions are made in a thigh lift, a piece of skin, and possibly fat, will be removed at the top of the thigh. The skin below the incisions will be pull upward in order to tighten the loose, sagging skin. Once the skin is tightened appropriately, the skin will be re-attached. There will be sutures placed in the underlying tissue as well as on the outermost layer of skin. The underlying sutures will not be removed, but the superficial sutures will be removed in the weeks to come.
The results will be noticeable immediately following the thigh lift leaving the thigh tight and rejuvenated. However, there will almost certainly be bruising and swelling in the area. The swelling must be treated with a compression dressing that should be worn be the first several weeks while the tissue heals.
It is common for surgeons to place drains in the wound during the recovery period. The drains will be small thin tubes that allow excess fluids to drain out of the body easily.
Are There any Complications or Risks Involved?
All surgical procedures have inherent risks. However, proper care and an experienced, board-certified surgeon will greatly reduce these risks. Inform yourself of the risks and be certain that the benefit outweigh the risks for you on a personal level.
As with any surgery, there will be scarring. Hopefully, the scarring from a thigh lift will be well hidden under the bikini line, and will not be any cause for concern. The risks associated with with the surgical procedure can include, but are not limited to the following:
- loss of sensation
More serious risks that are much less common include blood clots, wound separation, and anesthesia complication such as an allergic reaction. These complications sound scary, but with early detection, can be taken care of swiftly.
Most of our patients live fast paced, active lives in Miami, FL and the surrounding areas of South Florida. Despite your busy schedule, recovery is a very important part of the surgical process. There may be external pressures to jump back into work, or start back to your normal routine sooner than you technically should. Rather than succumbing to these temptations, you should plan to take it easy for several weeks following a thigh lift. You should refrain from any excessive force or heavy lifting for several weeks. Due to the location of the incisions, you will have to limit you cardio exercise until healing is completed.
The location of the incisions for a thigh lift poses a risk of infection, and therefore, it is important to take proper care of the surgical sites. Your surgeon should provide you with specific instructions on how to care for the surgical sites post-operatively. Cleanliness and anti-bacterial soap will be important factors.
How to Choose a Surgeon or Surgical Facility?
When you are choosing a surgeon for a thigh lift, you must follow your instincts. You will be much happier with the outcome if you have a trusting relationship with the person doing the procedure. It may initially seem easier to simply go with whoever is available first since you may be anxious or excited to have the procedure. Resist this urge! Shop around to find a surgeon that best fits your needs.
When making the choice, first and foremost establish that your surgeon has the appropriate credentials. Your surgeon should be a board-certified member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Ask your prospective surgeon how many thigh lifts he or she has performed and how many he or she does on a weekly or monthly basis.
If you do not have personal referrals to a particular surgeon, consult with your primary physician and ask for a referral, or ask about the reputation of a given surgeon that you may be interested in seeing. With that information in hand, the internet can provide excellent additional resources – but it should not be your only one.
Once you have selected a surgeon, take the time to meet with him or her and establish a relationship. Together, you will develop a surgical plan, discuss expectations and both be comfortable asking any questions that come to mind. All surgeons have different opinions and suggestions. Here are three things that must be clear prior to your procedure. If they are not clear to you, it is your responsibility to ask the questions:
- You should make sure you have articulated your goal for surgery and your surgeon has articulated the same one. This will ensure appropriate realistic expectations.
- Establish what pre and post-operative care will be expected.
- Have a clear understanding of where the incisions will be and what to expect as far as scarring.
Cost of Thigh Lift Surgery
The cost of a thigh lift in the Miami, FL area varies from clinic to clinic and from surgeon to surgeon.
The national average in 2012 was just under $5,000. Prices may vary based on geographic location, facility, and the surgeon’s experience. In addition, the price mentioned does not include the cost of anesthesia or operating room fees. These associated costs can greatly increase the fee.
Most plastic surgeons offer financing and payment plans which can make any procedure much more affordable.
The cost of the procedure should NEVER determine the surgeon or clinic you choose for your thigh lift. It may be a point of consideration, but remember that fees may increase when experience increases. Be 100% comfortable with your choice of surgeon you will ultimately have a much better experience.
Most health insurance plans will not cover the thigh lift surgical procedure or related fees. Complications that may arise will also not typically be covered by health insurance.
The Bottom Line
A thigh lift procedure can be done to improve the appearance of the thigh area from the groin to the knee by removing excess skin and tissue. For added contouring and removal of excess fat deposits, liposuction in conjunction with a thigh lift is an excellent option. Before booking this procedure or any other cosmetic surgery, be sure to have a complete understanding of the surgical plan and expected results before making a commitment.