Thighs – those thicker parts of our legs up the top just under our bums that seem to be one of the most stubborn parts of our bodies to remove fat from. The ones that for most of us rub together when we walk and can cause chafing, especially when wet; are more prone to cellulite; an area of our body that we wish we could magically reduce in size. Whilst different women are genetically inclined to store more fat in different areas of our bodies, the buttocks and thighs are a universally common area where it is extra tricky to budge.
Summer and the hotter months of the year are especially good at bringing our thighs to our attention. Shorts, bikinis/swimmers, higher skirts and playsuits all require us to show off our legs. One of the surgeries growing in popularity in recent years is the thigh lift, also referred to as a thighplasty or thigh liposuction. Dr Geoff Barnett Plastic Surgeon from the Cosmetic Surgery for Women (CWFW) in Hawthorn and Berwick says, “People are more aware of what plastic surgery procedures are available because of social media and internet activity. Also, obesity is more of a problem now than it was 5 to 10 years ago. Thigh lifting and liposuction aren’t an answer to obesity but may provide an ancillary form of management. So people are asking the question more frequently and in that self-selected group there will be some patients who are suitable for surgery.”
Many of us think having liposuction might be able to help with removing some of the fat from our thighs. Sometimes it can. However, more often than not, you will require a thigh lift in order to remove and tighten excess skin. Removing the fat alone will often only create even more loose skin. It depends on the individual patient. Dr Barnett explains, “The patients who can get away with liposuction alone are those patients who have good skin tone and localised fat deposits. It depends on the demographic of the plastic surgeon’s practice. If a surgeon sees mainly younger patients the percentage (able to get away with liposuction alone) will be high but if patients are mainly older then liposuction alone will provide a sub optimal result – loose skin. In these patients liposuction can be used to reduce fat. If there’s not much fat the liposuction can be used at the same time as the thigh lift, but if there’s a lot of fat the liposuction should be performed separately beforehand. Patients are notoriously bad at being objective about the amount of fat they have.”
Are There Different Types of Thigh Lifts?
Medial (Inner) Thigh Lift
This is to remove or tighten excess skin from the inner thighs – quite often combined with liposuction to remove the fat. This is the more commonly requested thigh surgery due to the popularity of patients wanting to achieve that “gap” in between the thighs. This will also help to tighten the skin on the outer thighs to a certain extent as by pulling and tightening the skin on the inner thighs it will also stretch the skin all around the thigh.
Lateral (Outer) Thigh Lift
This is to tighten skin on the front and outer side of the thigh.
Dr Barnett says, “The term ‘Thigh Lift’ covers a lot of territory. A butt lift is a postero lateral thigh lift. If you think in terms of ‘Thigh Lift’ applying to a medial thigh lift then most people will see a better result with both procedures – but to achieve the best result liposuction (better as a separate procedure) may be necessary. A thigh lift deals primarily with loose skin be it medial, lateral, anterior or posterior. The design of the excision will depend on where the loose skin is. As people get older skin tends to sag globally not just in one area.”
Surgeons usually suggest that if you are considering a thigh lift the best time to undergo the surgery is when you have maintained a stable weight for at least 6 – 12 months beforehand. This ensures that when you have the thigh lift you achieve the optimum results and do not have to return to move any further skin should you lose more weight.
Dr Barnett clarifies, “Patients (in the baby boomer group and a little younger) look at the loss of elasticity and tone in their thigh skin and want this corrected – only a limited improvement can be achieved in reality. Most patients want thighs they feel comfortable exposing with contemporary fashion. The success of thigh lifting surgery depends on patients having a realistic expectation about the results. If patients have only a mild problem they are likely to have a good result but with major problems – really fat thighs or major loose skin extending down to the knees – only modest improvement should be expected. In fatter patients good results can be achieved with staged procedures but this involve allowing a good 3 to 6 months between procedures. Hardly any patients have an understanding of what the surgery involves when they come in for a consultation. Many will have looked in the mirror, given their thighs a bit of a pull up and thought ‘that looks better’ and arranged a consultation for a thigh lift.”
The outcome of any plastic surgery procedure can be hugely affected by having a surgeon who knows exactly what they are doing and what is, and isn’t, possible. The Cosmetic Surgery for Women has some of the most experienced surgeons in the industry, and the great thing about consulting with them is that there is a wonderful choice of surgeons to best suit your individual requirements. Choosing the right surgeon is paramount to achieving the results you are after.
If you would like more information on Dr Geoff Barnett or any of the other highly experienced and qualified surgeons at the Cosmetic Surgery for Women go here, or phone them directly on 03 9429 8363 to arrange a consult.