What is it?
The thigh lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to tighten the skin of the thigh and reduce sagging in the inner or outer thigh.
If your inner thighs are very big and have a lot of fatty tissue it might be best to do liposuction first to get rid of as much of the excess tissue as possible. After a few months we reevaluate the inner thigh to see if you will benefit from a thigh lift. In some cases, a thigh lift is recommended.
If the skin of the inner thigh sags or is droopy, a thigh lift is ideal as it will tighten up the skin and smoothen the contour of the inner thigh. Patients who have lost a lot of weight are also ideal candidates for an inner thigh lift, usually done in combination with other cosmetic surgery procedures.
Thigh lift surgery can be done under ‘twilight’ anesthesia or general anesthesia. The procedure is performed as an out patient procedure at either GBMC or St. Joseph's Hospital here in Baltimore, Maryland. Thigh lift patients arrive at the hospital 1.5 hours prior to scheduled surgery.
Immediately before surgery Dr. Rodriguez will mark the patient’s thighs while standing up. The skin is pinched and elevated towards the groin. An estimate is made of how much skin should be removed. Dr. Rodriguez designs the surgery so the final scar is hidden in the groin crease. Excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining thigh skin is elevated and tightened. Thigh lift surgery is generally well tolerated. Following your surgery, you are advised to rest as much as possible to avoid a lot of leg motion, which can affect the scar.
Some Uncertainty and Risk
Major complications following Thigh Lift are rare. However, there is a possibility that the following minor post-operative complications may occur which do not affect the outcome (results) of Thigh Lift procedure:
- Infection at the incision site
- Delayed healing of scars
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia
Before the Surgery
Since Thigh Lift is performed as an outpatient procedure, there is no need for hospitalization however, general anesthesia is used to minimize pain and discomfort from the procedure. Your doctor will ask you to sign a consent form to perform the procedure of Thigh Lift. Make sure that you wear loose clothing when going in for Thigh Lift. Be sure to make arrangement for someone to bring you home after the Thigh Lift procedure and also to help you around the house for the next couple of days.
Your thighs will be placed in a compression garment or dressing to minimize swelling and assist in the natural shrinking of the skin, following Thigh Lift procedure. There might be some bruising, swelling and pain that will subside in about a month after Thigh Lift surgery. Do not participate in any strenuous activity for the next 4 - 6 weeks following the Thigh Lift procedure. Do not sit for long periods of time as it will increase tension on the stitches. You will be able to resume your daily activities within 4 - 6 weeks after Thigh Lift surgery.
Without a doubt, you will be delighted with the results of Thigh Lift. This procedure is successful in most of the candidates with minimum chances of complications. Provided you do not gain a lot of weight and lose it again, Thigh Lift will give you well contoured and shapely thighs for the rest of your life, of course keeping in mind that aging changes in your body are inevitable.
Thigh lift surgery usually takes three to six hours to perform, depending on the severity of your condition and the amount of correction required. After you are properly anesthetized, Dr. Revis will make the incisions necessary for removal of excess skin and fat. Depending on the amount of improvement you desire, this incision may extend all the way around the thigh or only part of the way around the thigh in the groin crease between the trunk and the thigh.
After the incision has been made, Dr. Revis gently elevates the skin and fat off of the underlying muscles of the thighs. Dr. Revis removes excess skin and fat and redrapes the skin over the underlying muscles. One or more drains may be placed beneath the incision. These slender, rubber tubes assist in draining any fluid that may accumulate beneath the incision and delay your healing.
The incisions are carefully closed in multiple layers of strong sutures to minimize your scar. Dr. Revis uses a technique in which all of the sutures are placed beneath the skin and are absorbed by your body. Not having to undergo suture removal has improved patient comfort and satisfaction.
A sterile dressing is applied to the incisions, and a compression garment is placed over your thighs. This compression garment helps support your legs during healing, decreases postoperative swelling, and helps decrease any bruising that may occur.
After the Surgery
Patients may spend their first night in an overnight care facility. Bruising and swelling are to be expected as well as a “tight” feeling in the thighs.
Thigh lift surgery must be performed as an inpatient procedure unless only a very minor lift is being performed. For anything more than just the simplest thigh lift, you must stay in the hospital at least one night following your surgery, and some patients choose to stay several nights. This is because you do not want to place undue stress on your incisions during the initial postoperative period.
After Dr. Revis discharges you from the hospital, you will need to be taken home by a friend or family member. We also have a private duty nurse available to care for you in the comfort and privacy of your own home if you so choose.
The antibiotics that were prescribed during your preoperative visit (usually Augmentin) should be taken twice daily beginning on the evening prior to surgery. Continue this medication until it is gone. The pain medication prescribed by Dr. Revis during your preoperative visit (usually Lortab or Vicodin) should be taken fairly regularly, every four hours or so, during the first twenty-four hours (when you are not asleep, of course). Most patients find that they are able to transition to Tylenol after three or four days. It is not safe to drive a car within twenty-four hours of taking pain medication, as your reflexes and alertness may be altered.
You should plan to take it easy following your surgery. No strenuous activities, heavy lifting (over 20 pounds), aerobic exercises, swimming, contact sports, tennis, or golf should be planned for the first three weeks. As Dr. Revis monitors your recovery, he will advise you when it is safe to resume specific activities.
You should plan to wear the compression garment for three weeks following surgery. Dr. Revis will remove the drainage tubes within several days following surgery.
Your New Look
You will notice an improvement in your thigh contour immediately. However, your shape will continue to improve in the following weeks as the mild swelling subsides. You should be up and walking the day following surgery to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. Your legs will be sore for several days, but this will rapidly subside. You should able to resume your normal daily activities within several days following surgery, and you should be able to resume all of your physical activities within four to six weeks of surgery.