People who have experienced major weight loss can feel ecstatic with their accomplishment and they should. While parts of their body will “shrink” into a nice, healthy shape, other parts may be slower to do so, or may never do so. In particular the skin on the arms, abdomen and thighs have a tendency to sag and droop. So, after all of the accomplishment, some people can be very disappointed with their “after” body.
What is a thigh lift?
Thigh lifts can remove excess skin (and sometimes excess fat if it is needed) from the inside of the thigh, the outside of the thigh, and even on the knee. Usually performed for ptosis (sagging skin), thigh lifts can include some liposuction to remove any excess unwanted fat. The first step towards a thigh lift is to meet with your physician for an exam and consultation. At the consultation your physician will determine if you are a good candidate for a thigh lift as well as the extent of surgery that needs to be performed. The amount of skin that needs to be removed in conjunction with the area that needs to be treated all determines the length of incisions (and future scarring), the length of the surgery itself, and the amount of time it may take to heal.
What is the thigh lift procedure?
Great care is taken to place incisions in the most inconspicuous locations while allowing the surgeon the best access to excess skin, fat, and other tissue. Typically the incision is placed in the groin area, above the bikini line. Depending on the extent of the procedure, the incision can move towards the buttocks, around part of the thigh, or around most of the thigh. If severe ptosis is present or if the knees need to be lifted as well, vertical incisions may be made along the inside of the leg.
During the procedure excess skin, fat, and tissue is removed. Deep sutures are placed to help to support the remaining skin, tissue, muscles and ligaments. Thigh lifts are performed under general anesthesia. Often the patient can go home the same day, but if the surgery was more extensive your physician may want you to stay in the hospital for a day or two. After the surgery drainage tubes will be put in place (to help minimize swelling and get rid of excess fluids) and you will be put into a compression garment to be worn for several days (and may extend into a couple weeks.). Compression garments not only support your new shape and contour but also help to minimize swelling.
What can I expect after a thigh lift?
You will need to take antibiotics and pain medication for several days after the surgery. Most patients take about two weeks off from work. It will be important to not drive during that time as well. You should be back to most normal activities within six weeks and strenuous activities shortly after that.
What are the potential risks and complications after a thigh lift procedure?
All surgeries come with some level of risks and complications. Thigh lifts include swelling and hematomas, however these happen very rarely. Dr. Volshteyn will go over all possible risks during your consultation, as well as answer any other questions you may have. People who may not be candidates for this procedure include people with vascular diseases, who have had varicose vein operations or who are diabetic or in poor health.
The benefits of this procedure are significant. So many who suffer from baggy, hanging skin around their thighs are incredibly embarrassed by it. After losing all that weight they usually want to be much more active and wear all of the athletic clothing they felt they couldn’t wear when they were heavier. Thigh lifts can help them reclaim their more active lifestyle and allow them a wardrobe free of “disguises.” And while thigh lifts always come with scarring, for many people the benefits of having smaller, smoother thighs is worth it.
If you would like more information or to set up your consultation for a thigh lift with Dr. Boris Volshteyn, our board certified plastic surgeon, please call our office today 732-641-3350.