Thigh Lift Surgery
A thigh lift is a type of elective plastic surgery and is used to reduce the excess skin and in some cases, fat from around the thigh area.
Having larger thighs can be depressing and hard to correct. Because the legs contain a significant amount of muscle it means that they require more work in order to reduce their size. Some people spend an extraordinary amount of time working on their legs trying to create perfectly defined and toned muscles.
Why have a Thigh Lift?
Having a thigh lift not only helps to remove the excess fat, it also helps to reshape the thigh and remove some of the excess skin, which should result in smoother and more proportional thighs, so as to better suit your body.
Thigh lift surgery consists of four stages:
The first stage begins with the anaesthesia. At your consultation your surgeon will go through and describe the kind of anaesthesia you will require. You will have a choice of a general anaesthetic where you will be unconscious for the entire operation. The other choice is a local anaesthetic combined with sedation.
The next stage is the incision. The incision location depends on the areas you would like your surgeon to work on. A typical incision technique consists of an incision being made from your groin, down the inside of your leg to your knee and then round the back of the knee in order to create a flap of skin which can be worked with and reshaped to create a smoother looking appearance. Throughout your consultation prior to the surgery, you and the surgeon will discuss if you are a candidate for a ‘minimal incision medial thigh lift’. This incision is much smaller than the one mentioned above, and it is only made in the groin area.
The next stage is the thigh lift itself. This can be done in one of two ways.
1. A medial thigh lift is where an incision is made in the groin and extends round to the hip. The surgeon will then peel the skin away from the tissue, removing any excess fatty tissue and skin, as well as tightening the muscle to ensure the contours of your thighs are proportional to you and your body shape. The surgeon will also smooth out the skin to reduce any lumps and bumps forming over the top of the thigh. The medial thigh lift helps to create a healthy looking tightly toned thigh with almost perfect contours.
2. The outer thigh lift is the other kind of thigh lift surgery which focuses all the work on the outside of your thigh, working to tighten the muscles and remove the excess skin and fatty tissue.
The penultimate stage is closing up the incisions. As the incision cuts through many layers of skin and muscle there are a number of layers of muscle, which need to be stitched up before the outer layer of skin can be sealed. The inner layers of muscle are closed using deep tissue sutures and the outer wound is stitched up using insoluble stitches. This will mean that you will have to go back to the surgery a week or so after your operation, in order to have your stitches taken out.
The final stage of the surgery is to see the results. Because the surgery has removed tissue, you will almost certainly see a noticeable change in the shape and size of your thighs. However, do not be dismayed by the discolouration and swelling because as soon as the thighs begin to heal the swelling will go down and you thighs will reduce in size as the skin shrinks. You will not only notice the shape and size of your new thighs, you will also notice that the quality of the skin is noticeably better and this can be seen dramatically by the feel and appearance.
Risks and Complications
Generally, modern day surgery is considered safe.
Like with all surgeries, there are a number of risks and potential complications that follow having such a surgical procedure. Thigh lift surgery should not be taken lightly and should be seriously considered and researched prior to the operation.
The general anaesthetic risks include; suppressed breathing, low blood pressure, a blood clot in lung, a blood clot in legs, heart failure and even death. These risks will be explained to you when you go for your consultation, but also prior to having the operation. Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN).
The possible risks and complications of having the thigh lift surgery itself include:
Unwanted scaring, this is due to the incision and cutting through layer of muscle and skin. As the wound tries to heal, this can cause scar tissue to grow in unfavourable places and can even result in the scar tissue having to be removed.
Bleeding, this is caused by the body trauma itself. It is natural to have bleeding after the surgery, however if it persists then you will need to seek professional advice.
Poor wound healing or keloid scaring can occur which is where the scar does not heal properly and can become red and raised. This is not aesthetically pleasing and can result in the scar having to be cut out and re stitched.
Q. Will a thigh lift remove all my excess fat from my thighs?
A. Unfortunately, thigh lift surgery is not for removing excess fat, it can remove small pockets of fat however not in large quantities. If you are looking for fat removal surgery then you should look at having liposuction.
Q. How do I know if a thigh lift is right for me?
A. If you have lost a huge amount of weight and are left with sagging skin, which is causing you to cover up and feel self-conscious, then this is possibly the surgery for you.
Q. Will I have to stay overnight after the procedure?
A. It is normal to stay in hospital for two to three days, as this is a serious procedure. As this procedure is potentially dangerous, you will have to receive medical care to ensure that you are comfortable and that no complications arise. These two days are usually precautionary measures.
Dr Gavin Sandercoe on Body Contouring Surgery