The skin of the inside of the thigh is thin and inelastic, and laxity here is often the earliest sign of ageing in the thighs. The inner thigh skin is also one of the areas most affected following weight-loss. A thigh lift involves removal of excess fat and skin.
Who is suitable?
The procedure is most suitable for patients who have sagging, wrinkled skin inside the thighs, particularly after weight loss. This can interfere with wearing certain clothes and can become unsightly. It is not suitable for patients who have very general obesity and no excess skin. A thigh lift is not an effective way to lose weight.
What areas can be treated?
The purpose of this surgery is to create a more aesthetic contour to the inner thigh. Some incisions can be extended to include the excess tissue in the buttock or groin region.
What does the operation involve?
A thigh lift commonly involves liposuction to contour the inner thigh and if necessary, surgical removal of any excess skin and fat. Patients are marked pre-operatively to ensure the resulting scar will lie inside the inner thigh extended if necessary into the buttock or groin creases where they are less noticeable. The operation is carried out under general anaesthesia. Liposuction is performed first followed by removal of the excess skin. The scar is sutured with absorbable sutures. A padded dressing is placed on the wound and occasionally drainage tubes are placed to collect the excess fluid.
What happens after the operation?
Normally patients stay for one night in the hospital. They are encouraged to mobilise after the operation, discomfort permitting. All patients wear a compression garment for 6 weeks after the operation to minimise swelling and discomfort. Patients can expect to be off work and driving for 2-4 weeks and gentle sporting activity for 6 weeks. The benefits of thigh lift should become evident fully by 3-6 months after the operation. The scars take anything up to 12-18 months to reach their final state and scar massage is encouraged from 6 weeks after surgery.
How long do the results last?
The benefits of body contouring procedures can last a life time. However, gaining weight will partially reverse the effects of surgery. Therefore, it is essential for patients to maintain their results by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
What are the risks?
Minor wound Infection and wound dehiscence are the most common complications, followed by bleeding, collections of fluid under the skin and hypertrophic (prominent) or scars. The risk of these complications as well infection and blood clots in the legs are increased by being overweight, smoking, oral contraceptives and diabetes.