A thigh lift can remove loose skin and fat from the thighs to create a smoother, contoured and firmer leg. Most patients opt for this surgery after losing a significant amount of weight or having skin laxity issues from natural aging. When a patient is undergoing a thighplasty after weight loss, surgeons recommend they maintain their goal weight for at least six months before opting for the procedure.
There are multiple thigh lifts approaches, depending on the patient's issue.
An inner thigh lift tightens skin on the upper part of the thigh, which can extend down to the knee.
A mini thigh lift requires smaller incisions, which are made at the groin crease to target lax skin in the upper leg.
An outer thigh lift is a much more complex technique that removes fat from the outside of the thigh. It is also usually done together with a lower body lift as it can recontour the buttocks as well. Surgeons make the incision at the base of the buttocks and extend it down to the back of the thighs. Scarring is much more extensive and may still result in lax skin.
A posterior thigh lift targets the area at the back of the thigh and buttocks where cellulite is most apparent. This incision can smooth out any dimples and lax skin in that area.
The spiral thigh lift is the latest technique available to target the entire thigh. It contours the whole thigh and reshapes the butt. It requires long incisions from the hip bone all the way down to the inner knee. Although results from a spiral thigh lift are very dramatic, the time required for recovery is much more extensive with prominent scars.
A thighplasty is done under general anesthetic and can last anywhere from 2-6 hours. Once the surgeon makes the needed incisions, they will remove any excess skin and fat before lifting the remaining skin to smooth out the area. In some cases, surgeons may use liposuction in conjunction to recontour the thighs and remove any stubborn pockets of fat. The surgeon will then close the incision with sutures and drains before wrapping it up with a compression garment. Patients should avoid any leg movement during recovery and take 7-10 days off work to recover. Any bruising and swelling should subside within a month and patients can return to their regular activities after 4-6 months.
Some downsides to a thigh lift are that there will be visible scarring and the skin may look deflated if too much fat has been removed.