A thigh lift is a procedure for patients that have extra skin and tissue of their legs above the knee. Frequently this occurs after massive weight loss. The type of incision required is determined by the amount of excess tissue present. If the contour of the thigh is improved by simply pulling up the tissue on the inside of the leg, a crescent shaped removal of skin and fat at the inner thigh may be sufficient. This results in a scar that is hidden in the groin. If there is a circumferential excess, tissue is removed from the inside of the leg as well as the groin, tightening the leg in two different directions. This results in a long scar on the inside of the leg from the knee up into the groin in the shape of an L. It is able to significantly improve the shape and contour of the thigh. Generally, thigh liposuction is also performed to remove remaining fat deposits. You should realize that there is a nearly 50% chance that areas of your incisions will open up after surgery requiring wound care and dressing changes. This is because your legs are constantly in use, placing the incisions under stress and tension during healing. Usually these wounds will heal without needing further surgery. Most patients are willing to assume this risk and are happy with the final result. We ask you to purchase a compression garment before your procedure. If you need a thigh lift in Houston, visit us at Lift Plastic Surgery.
What happens during surgery? On the day of surgery, the proposed incisions and areas of tissue removal will be marked in the pre-operative area. During surgery, we generally begin by performing liposuction of the designated areas. For a limited incision lift, an ellipse of skin and fat is removed from the inner thigh so that the incision is hidden in a natural crease of the groin. The tissue is tacked to the tough tissue in the groin, and the wound is closed with absorbable sutures. In a full thigh lift, a long incision is made on the inner leg, from the knee to groin. The skin and fat is lifted off of the deeper tissues, taking care not to injure nerves. We check to see how much tissue can be removed safely while still being able to close the incision. This is marked, and the tissue is removed. The remaining tissue is tacked to the tough fascia in the groin to help prevent tension on the incision while it is healing. The incision is closed with absorbable sutures, and then covered with tapes and skin glue. A drain is usually placed in each leg which is generally removed after several days in the office. You will then be placed into a compression garment.
What will my recovery be like? You are able to go home the same days as surgery, and you will be able to start showering the next day. Postoperatively, you will have some discomfort, bruising and swelling, but it is usually not significantly painful. You must wear a compression garment at all times other than showering for the first 6 weeks to limit swelling and improve your results. You are asked to limit bending or spreading your legs as much as possible, as this increases the possibility that your incisions might open. No vigorous exercise or activity is allowed for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Expect that it will take several months for the swelling to subside before you will see your final results.
What is involved in staging the procedure? In instances where there is a significant amount of tissue and fat that needs to be removed, sometimes the best results come from staging the procedure. This involves first performing an aggressive liposuction to debulk the tissue, allowing the tissues to heal and the swelling to subside over several months, then coming back in a second operation to remove the tissue. By staging the procedures, more tissue is usually able to be removed overall.
What are the risks? As mentioned above, even if you do everything correctly, there is a 50 % chance that you may have wound healing issues after surgery. However, this is generally a manageable nuisance and we will work together to get you through it and have an excellent recovery.