One of the casualties of massive weight gain and loss are our thighs. It is a common area where excess skin gathers and you can be left with loose, drooping folds of skin causing you to want to cover up despite all your hard work losing weight. While a circumferential body lift or tummy tuck might assist with lifting the skin up around your thighs, depending on how much there is, you may need to have a thigh lift. Thigh lifts are notorious for being a difficult recovery because after all, not being able to walk on your legs can make things a little bit tricky! We had a chat with Dr Mayhar Amjadi, Specialist Plastic Surgeon from Sydney, about thigh lifts and what’s involved in their recovery.
Different Types of Thigh Lifts
Inner (Medial) Thigh Lift – as the name suggests, this is to remove and tighten excess skin on your inner thighs. Also commonly requested by women wanting a bigger “gap” between their thighs. Incisions can be in the groin, down the inside of the thighs, or a mixture of both. There is usually extensive liposuction around the thigh to give the appropriate shape.
Outer (Lateral) Thigh Lift – Often combined with a circumferential body lift or lower back/butt, this procedure involves incisions being made from the hips around to the back and can also lift the buttocks. The main aim of this surgery is to have a buttock lift, but the outer thighs are lifted at the same time. Most people looking for a thigh lift are concerned with inside of their thighs, and opt for a medial thigh lift.
Any of these procedures are often combined with liposuction to remove excess fat to create better contour.
Thigh Lift Recovery
Compression garments are a must after a thigh lift to maintain the shape of your legs after surgery. They also may help to reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), and to protect your incisions. They also help provide support for your thighs as they heal. You should expect swelling and bruising, especially around the incision sites and some pain and discomfort is expected although Dr Amjadi says this should be minimised and managed with rest, adequate care at home, wearing the pressure garments, and the correct pain medication.
Thigh lifts require the patient to minimise moving for at least the first week after surgery. This is extremely important for a thigh lift because any movement such as standing or walking, will increase your chances of pulling your stitches and incisions open again. You should be especially diligent in listening to your surgeon’s instructions, and take note of the light exercises and movements he or she suggests to assist in the thigh lift recovery. Although you will be restricted in your movement, gentle exercises are also essential to help minimise the risk of blood clots. Generally, calf exercises that involve flexing your muscles are recommended. Anything that can be performed while you are sitting or lying down, and don’t put tension on your incisions will be useful.
Remember, don’t overdo it too soon or you might risk setting back your recovery. On the flip side, not doing enough movement can also set you back. As mentioned above, it really is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter. A good way to know if you are overdoing it is if your legs start to swell, especially around your incision site. This is often a sign that you need to reduce your movement.
After the first week to ten days, you will be advised to get up and start walking around. This is the best thing you can do to fast track your recovery. You will usually be advised not to return to any high impact or strenuous activities such as gym work or running until at least six weeks after your surgery so take it easy and allow time for recovery.
A thigh lift can be a rewarding surgery. Especially in patients who have had massive weight loss, there is a higher chance of wound infections and openings. The greater the amount of skin that needs to be removed, the higher the risks.
If you’re interested in finding out more about thigh surgery or would like to arrange a consultation with Dr Amjadi, you can phone his clinic on 1300 589 325.