Thigh lift (thighplasty) is a cosmetic surgical procedure to tighten the skin of the thigh and reduce sagging in the inner or outer thigh. This surgery will result in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body.
The incision made for thigh lift varies depending on the area or areas to be treated, degree of correction and patient and surgeon preference. Some of these variations include:
- Medial thigh lift (improves the contour of inner thighs): The incisions are made in the groin, extending downward wrapping around the back of the thigh.
- Lateral thigh lift (improves the contour of outer thighs and lower body): incisions are extending from the groin around the hip.
In some cases, there may be a combination of both techniques to improve the overall contour and skin texture of the thighs and lower body.
Thigh lifts are not designed strictly for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where the skin has good elasticity and can naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is reduced, a combination of liposuction and thigh lift techniques may be recommended. The thigh lift is a highly individualised surgical procedure for a specific individual. This surgery is ideal for candidates who are motivated and have realistic expectations on their body shape.
Ideal candidates for thigh lift
- Individuals with excess soft tissue along the inner or medial thigh region and/or the outer thigh
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals who are motivated and have specific goals in mind to improve the body image
- Individuals with stable weight
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness
Preoperative evaluation for thigh lift
Communication is vital to achieving the patient’s goals. During the initial consultation, patients will have the opportunity to discuss their goals and desired results with the plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will work closely with the patients to reach an agreement about the expectations from the surgical procedures involved and their long term benefits. Every patient is different. Therefore a specific treatment regimen is planned to suits an individual’s need. The preoperative evaluation for thigh lift includes:
- Discussion about patients’ expectations and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical or surgical treatment
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Discussion of type of anaesthesia
- Examination of the lower abdomen and lower limbs
- Photography for preoperative and postoperative evaluation
Preparation for thigh lift
- Get laboratory testing or a medical evaluation
- Adjust your medications if you have certain medical conditions
- Stop smoking and alcohol well in advance before the scheduled date for surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements before surgery
- Special instructions will be given on the day before and after surgery
The risks and safety information on thigh lift
It is essential for patients to understand that every surgical procedure has its complications and downtime. However, if a patient is appropriately assessed before the surgery and postoperative care is given adequately, these risks can be eliminated or reduced.
Some of the common risks of thigh lift:
- Poor wound healing
- Wound breakdown
- Skin discolouration
- Swelling due to a blood clot or fluid accumulation
- Fluid accumulation
- Temporary numbness or changes in the skin sensation
- Recurrent loosening of the skin
- Possibility of revision surgery
- Anaesthesia risks such as deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and lung complications
After the surgery, temporary dressings or bandages are applied to the incision sites. Small tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid that may be collected after the surgery. Once the tubes and temporary dressings are removed, the patient is advised to wear a compression garment (for 4-6 weeks) to minimise the swelling and support the thigh during the healing phase. There may be swelling, bruises, discomfort or pain at the operated sites for several days that can be controlled with oral medications. Oral antibiotics and analgesics will be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection and postoperative pain, respectively. Stitches will be removed on 7-14 days after the surgery. The final result of surgery will appear within several weeks, but it may take up to a year for incision lines to fully refine.
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- Regular application of antibiotic ointment and cleaning the operated areas for the first 1 week after the surgery
- Wear compression garments for 4-6 weeks after the surgery
- Bed rest for 7-10 days after the surgery to facilitate wound healing
- Avoid squatting for the first 3-4 weeks after the surgery
- Routine exercise may be resumed in 3-4 weeks after the surgery
- Avoid strenuous physical activities for 6 weeks after the surgery
How much will a thigh lift surgery cost?
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. The cost of a thigh lift can vary widely.
The cost of thigh lift may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anaesthesia fees
- Compression garment
- Prescriptions for medication, and
- Medical tests
The thigh lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure, and most of the health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications.