Thigh lift is a procedure performed to remove excess skin on the thighs. As with the arms, significant weight loss or normal aging can cause redundant skin over the thighs as well. Excess thigh skin in the inner thigh area can cause significant chafing when patients are attempting to exercise, and excess thigh skin in the outer area can have an unsightly appearance. Many of these patients also seek improvement in the smoothness and contour. A thigh lift reshapes the thighs by removing excess skin and fat. Depending on whether the laxity is mostly in the inner or outer thigh, the location of the incision can be on the inner thigh from the groin crease to the knee, or around the top of the outer thigh.
Good candidates for this procedure:
Bariatric patients who have recently experienced a massive weight loss either through a lap band or gastric bypass surgery
Patients who have lost upwards of 50, 70, 80, or even 100 lbs
- Patients with excess skin sagging around the inner or outer thighs and desire to have a better, more proportional contour and a firmer look and feel
Patients with difficulty fitting into clothing because of heavy thighs
What to expect: Consultation
All cosmetic consultations are complimentary and serve as a great opportunity to gain further insight by voicing your concerns and having questions answered. During the initial consultation, Dr. Hsu will ask some questions to get to know you and determine if you are a good candidate for a thigh lift.
During the consultation, Dr. Hsu will first ask about the area in question and determine what kind of goals you have for your thighs after surgery. This will include an assessment of whether there are any functional problems associated with the excess thigh skin. He will examine the areas and see whether they can be improved with the procedure. He will also ask about your medical history, including existing medical conditions, past surgeries, tobacco usage, daily medications, supplements, and allergies. If he determines that you are a good candidate for the procedure, Dr. Hsu will explain the next steps in going forth with the procedure. In order to reach your aesthetic goal, both you and Dr. Hsu will work together to decide all the necessary details that will ultimately give you the best results.
On the day of surgery, come in early to fill out paperwork, meet the anesthesiologist, and the staff will prep you for surgery. Dr. Hsu will meet you in the pre-operative area before surgery to make markings on the areas planned for surgery and answer any last questions you may have.
The surgery will usually take about two and a half hours. For an outer thigh lift, Dr. Hsu will make the incision around the hip where it will be hidden under your underwear or bikini. He will take out an ellipse of excess skin on the outer part of the thigh and pull up the remaining skin to give a smoother appearance to your thighs. For an inner thigh lift (medial thigh lift), Dr. Hsu will make an incision close to the groin line, take an ellipse of excess skin from the inner thigh, and hide the incision site in the groin line to minimize any effects to the genitalia. If the skin excess is more severe, then the incision may extend downward from the groin down toward the knee. Inner thigh lifts are more common than outer thigh lifts as weight loss patients tend to have more sagging of the skin in their inner thighs.
Recovery & Post-operative Instructions:
Following the surgery you will wear a compression garment for a couple of weeks to aid the healing process by keeping everything in place and minimizing fluid collection. Dr. Hsu may or may not use drains to remove any fluid from the surgical area depending on how the operation goes. If drains are used, the surgicenter nurse will teach you how to take care of the tubes after your operation. You will need to measure the amount of fluid that comes out of the drains every day. Once that amount drops below a certain level, Dr. Hsu will take them out. The vast majority of patients usually keep the tubes in for two weeks; however, this time frame may vary for each individual.
During this time, it is encouraged to exert some gentle walking around the house to quicken the healing process and to minimize blood clots. It is also advised that you sleep on your back for two weeks following the procedure. Most importantly, you should keep the surgical area dry until Dr. Hsu gives his approval to shower. To clean the rest of your body, you can use wipes until clean. Swelling & bruising will peak about 48 hours after surgery but will then decrease significantly in the first two weeks. Most patients can return to work after two weeks, but many patients return even sooner. The biggest limitation for post-operative patients is driving, which should be avoided while taking pain medication. Patients usually stop taking pain medication after five to seven days and plan their work schedules accordingly. Six weeks is usually an appropriate time to return to most types of exercise and activity.
Dr. Hsu will be available 24 hours following the surgery to address any immediate concerns that may arise. He will continue to follow patient progress for an extended period of time to ensure the patient is healing well. Follow up appointments are scheduled immediately after surgery and for up to a year afterward.
Dr. Hsu's view on a Thigh Lift.
Thigh lift (either inner or outer thighs) is a procedure which is most often requested by patients who have had significant weight loss. This can be from diet and exercise or from bariatric surgery (gastric bypass, lap band, or others).
My philosophy on thigh lift is similar to that for arm lift (brachioplasty) -- the best candidates are those who have significant excess skin. In some of my patients, prior to the operation, the excess skin was so severe that it was causing chafing when walking and running! This made it a functional problem that prevented them from exercising and leading a healthy active lifestyle, so the procedure was very helpful for them.
For purely cosmetic reasons, this can be done as well, but again, I reserve it for those patients who have a very large amount of excess skin. For minimal-moderate excess thigh skin, I will sometimes recommend liposuction which can tighten the skin to a small degree.