For many people, the upper legs become an increasingly problematic area as they age, while others find that the thighs remain stubbornly resistant to diet and exercise after massive weight loss. Fat cells, cellulite, and excess skin can accumulate on the thighs, making people look heavier, older, and less fit than they actually are. Sagging skin on the thighs can also make people feel self-conscious about their appearance. While some people achieve good results with vigorous exercise and a healthy diet, others find it difficult or even impossible to tone their thighs.
Thigh lift is a way to achieve firmer and more attractive upper legs. This procedure is especially helpful for those who struggle with loose, excess skin as a result of weight loss. A thigh lift, or thighplasty, involves the removal excess skin, fat, and tissue to tone and refine the upper legs.
Candidates for the thigh lift are:
- People whose weight is relatively stable.
- Individuals with excess soft tissue along the inner or medial thigh region and/or the outer thigh.
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery.
- Non-smokers Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what thigh lift surgery can accomplish.
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness.
What is the scope of thigh lift?
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 Techniques
There are many types of thigh lifts, differentiated by the size and shape of the incision used to remove excess skin, fat, and tissue. The surgeon will evaluate your candidacy for each of these types of thigh lifts and recommend which may suit your needs and preferences. While these techniques provide a general guide for surgery, your doctor may make modifications to accommodate your unique shape and desired results. In general, patients with more skin, tissue, and fat to remove will require longer or more complex incisions, regardless of the technique used.
Inner Thigh Lift
As indicated by its name, this type of thigh lift targets the inner thigh. This procedure helps people who have trouble eliminating excess fat from this area of the body through diet and exercise. An inner thigh lift may also be used to address reduced skin elasticity caused by the aging process or extreme weight loss. During an inner thigh lift, your plastic surgeon will make an incision at the junction where the thigh meets the pubic area. This allows him or her to access the underlying tissues while making the most discreet incision possible, since the resulting scar can easily be hidden by underwear. Your plastic surgeon will then remove a wedge of skin and possibly fat from the region and tighten the remaining skin to provide improved leg contours.
Mini Thigh Lift
If you only experience sagging tissue in the upper third of the leg, your may qualify for a mini thigh lift, a modification of the inner thigh lift technique that involves only a short scar in the groin area. While this technique offers less dramatic results, it produces only minimal scarring and typically requires a shorter recovery period.
Bilateral Thigh Lift
The bilateral thigh lift procedure, sometimes referred to as an "outer thigh lift," is designed to tighten skin on the front and outside of the leg. During a bilateral thigh lift, the surgeon will make an incision at the top of the leg where the lower edge of a bikini bottom or pair of underwear would be, creating a "V" shape. Depending on your needs, this incision may wrap around to your hip or buttocks area. The surgeon will then remove a certain amount of skin, depending on your needs and preferences, before pulling the remaining skin up and attaching it to the same area so that it is smooth. In this way, a bilateral thigh lift serves to tighten skin along both the right and left side of the leg. This procedure is especially helpful to those who have excess skin after extreme weight loss, since it can be used to remove larger amounts of tissue than other techniques. This technique can also help to lift your buttocks along with your thighs.
Medial Thigh Lift
A medial thigh lift reduces excess skin and fat on the upper portion of the inner thigh. It is designed for patients who are dissatisfied with the shape of their legs or who would like to remove excess skin after extreme weight loss. During a medial thigh lift procedure, your plastic surgeon will make an incision in the groin, similar to the inner thigh lift, extending to the back of the crease of the buttock or, in some cases, to the hip region. A medial thigh lift might also include vertical scars extending down the legs from the groin for greater access to underlying tissue. The surgeon will then lift the skin, removing excess skin and fat to improve the shape of the leg and tighten the thigh.
Thigh lift surgery is a customized procedure and each patient's body is different, so your results may be different from others'. The results of different thigh lift types and techniques are also different, so the outcome of an inner thigh lift will probably look different from that of a bilateral procedure. What matters most is that you remain safe throughout the surgical process and are happy with your new thighs.
The aim of this article is to give you a general information about the surgical intervention in question. You need to make more research about possible complications and risks of this selected procedure in order to make an informed decision. Please note that complications occur more frequently with patients who are obese, smoke, and have a history or lung or other chronic underlying medical conditions.
Smokers are recognized to have a significantly higher risk of post operative wound healing problems with a subsequently higher potential of infection as well as operative and post operative bleeding. Patients should discontinue smoking for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Although it helps to stop smoking before and after surgery, this does not completely eliminate the increased risks resulting from long term smoking. Smoking also has a long term adverse effect on the skin and ageing process.