A thigh lift (thighplasty) reshapes the upper leg by removing the excess skin and tissue from the inner thigh, resulting in better proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body. Often we can improve the shape of the thighs through liposuction only. However, if the elasticity of the skin is reduced and, folds, creases and dimples appear on the thighs, removal of redundant skin is necessary.
When the skin of the outer thigh sags, it usually does so in conjunction with the buttocks. In this scenario, the thigh is lifted and reshaped as part of a buttock lift.
Small thigh lifts can be done in local anesthesia, but mostly general anesthesia or spinal block is recommended.
They differ according to the area to be treated and pattern of the incision.
For reshaping of the inner (medial) thigh, two types of incisions can be used. One is in the groin fold, and the other is vertical on the inside of the thigh. The type and the length of the incision depend on the amount of skin that has to be removed. The two incisions can be combined, but the vertical incision is preferably avoided as it leaves a rather conspicuous scar.
An outer thigh lift requires an incision along the entire top of the hip bone and inwards towards where the buttocks meet. With this procedure, the excess skin of the outer thighs is removed, and buttocks lifted.
It is possible to combine an incision for outer thigh lift with one on the inner thigh; in this case the scar goes around the leg. The procedure called circumferential thigh lift is mainly reserved for people who have lost massive amounts of weight.
If large fat deposits have accumulated on thighs, it might be the best idea to do liposuction first, especially, if skin is tight and has good tone and elasticity. Outer thighs are treated most frequently with liposuction only. If the skin of the thigh sags or is droopy, a thigh lift is recommended as it will tighten up the skin and redefine the shape of the thigh. Patients who have lost a lot of weight are also candidates for a thigh lift, usually done in combination with other body contouring procedures.
The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis; however, patients usually appreciate a day of care in the clinic. A drain may be temporarily placed under the skin to remove excess fluid or blood. There is some discomfort and soreness within in the first few days, but the pain is easily controlled by analgesics. You can return to a normal level of activity within two to three weeks, but physical activity should be kept moderate for the first three months.
Scars after thigh lift are usually long, and if the skin of the thighs is heavy and thick the scars may show a tendency to drift downward (especially if the skin was pulled tight when it was lifted). Therefore, the patient should be clearly informed about where the scars will be and what they will probably look like. Bleeding, infection and accumulation of blood or fluid can occur after thigh lift although with proper technique, these complications are rare.