What is a thigh lift? This procedure is performed to improve contour and remove excess skin from either the inner or outer thighs after weight loss. A lateral thigh lift is performed to lift skin and improve the contour of the outer thighs. This lift is performed through an incision that is made high up on the thigh, near the outer waist and can be concealed in the underwear. It can also be performed as part of a lower body lift without any additional incisions.
A medial thigh lift tightens the skin of the inner thighs. It can be accompanied by liposuction to debulk the thighs further. The incisions used for this procedure are concealed in the groin.
A thigh lift may be combined with several other procedures after massive weight loss:
- Lower body lift. After weight loss, patients interested in sculpting their thighs may also wish to sculpt the abdomen, flanks, buttocks and lower back with a lower body lift. An incision is extended like a belt around the lower abdomen, sides and back to help address loose skin in all of these regions. This procedure can dramatically improve the contour of the waistline after massive weight loss.
- Brachioplasty (arm lift). Just as occurs in the thighs, weight loss can lead to loose and redundant skin in the arms. To obtain a more toned look, the surgeon can remove loose skin using incisions that are well concealed on the inner seam of the arm.
Anesthesia: A thigh lift is performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Length of procedure: 90 minutes to 4 hours.
Estimated recovery time: You can return to work after 4 to 8 weeks and should avoid vigorous activities for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Visible bruising should clear up within 2 weeks, and swelling begins to resolve within 6 weeks. To avoid leg swelling, we typically recommend that you wear compressive wraps on your legs for several weeks after surgery. Drain tubes lasting as long as 4 weeks may be required. To learn how to prepare for a thigh lift and what to expect afterwards, click here to download our patient instructions.
Side effects: Common side effects include bruising, swelling, some thigh numbess, and a few spitting sutures. Scars from thigh lifts are variable, but they have a greater tendency to widen or develop redness compared with other cosmetic surgery scars. An injectable blood thinner called Lovenox® may be used for 5 to 10 days after surgery to prevent blood clots. On occasion, delays in wound healing may occur. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of a medial thigh lift.
Before-and-after photos: Click here to view photos of arm and thigh lifts.