In most patients the incision is transverse and designed to be hidden in the natural skin creases of the groin. In some patients, particularly following massive weight loss, a vertical incision on the inner thigh is required to deal with excess skin. Thigh lift is often combined with liposuction to give optimum results.
Who Is A Good Candidate?
You should be in good physical shape and at your target weight that is stable before embarking on thigh lift. Thigh lift patients include men or ladies that have previously experienced weight gain and are now back at a healthy weight but have excess skin that hangs around the upper thighs. Patients that have experienced massive weight loss due to diet and exercise or following bariatric surgery may be candidates for a vertical thigh lift providing you are otherwise healthy.
Who Is Not A Good Candidate?
Those with significant medical problems and smokers are not suitable. If you have not yet achieved your target weight you should delay surgery to achieve the best long-term effects. Those with unrealistic expectations or those who have been encouraged by others to change their appearance are not good candidates.
What To Expect At Initial Consultation
At your initial consultation, I spend a great deal of time getting to know you personally and taking a full medical history. The success of any cosmetic procedure relies on you being open with me at this stage. It is important for me to explore your reasons for seeking thigh lift, what you like and dislike, and your expectations of surgery. I also need to know about your general health, lifestyle and medications, prescribed or otherwise. I specifically need to know about previous operations (cosmetic or groin surgery).
I will examine your thighs and overall contours and assess what components are problematic and what can be done to address your concerns. At the end of that consultation I will describe the surgical options to address your problems and devise your personal surgical plan. I will also explain the risks and limitations of surgery to you at this stage. I always have a second consultation to answer any questions before we book surgery.
As a female Plastic Surgeon I have an intimate understanding of how a ladies’ feelings about her body can affect self-image and femininity. I want to work with ladies to achieve the desired outcome whether that is being able to fit back into your clothes, to improve your self-confidence or to simply have your pre-pregnancy body back. For men I offer a woman’s perspective on your concerns and aim to help you re-create the physique you desire.
Preparing For Thigh Lift
You should be physically fit and at or close to your ideal weight which should be stable prior to embarking on thigh lift. Your health will be assessed pre-operatively and you may need some tests that will be arranged if required. You should stop aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications and any non-prescribed medication at least a week before surgery. If there is any change in your health prior to your surgery date you should let me know. Your health and general well being are my primary concern when I am treating you therefore if you are unwell for any reason it may be necessary to postpone surgery.
What to Expect on the Day of Surgery
You will need to come to hospital starved and ready for a general anaesthetic. Surgery generally takes one and a half to two hours, and an overnight stay may be required.
During surgery liposuction is performed and the excess fat and skin are excised. Internal stitches are used to tighten the fascia (internal lining) of the thigh to produce a beautiful smooth contour. The remaining skin is then re-draped and sutured using dissolvable stitches.
You will return to the ward around an hour after surgery and be encouraged to mobilise and eat and drink. You will feel swollen and bruised and you will be given appropriate painkillers. It is unusual to require drains but you will be given a compressive dressing. You may be able to go home later the same day but many patients opt for an overnight stay.
What to Expect After Surgery
You will go home with some compressive dressings and you should keep the wounds clean and dry for the first week. You will need someone to collect you and support you at home for the first few days. Some moderate discomfort is expected for a few days and you will be given oral pain medication for a week or two postoperatively.
Short walks and deep breathing exercises are encouraged immediately after surgery to promote circulation in the legs and lungs. You will be reviewed in clinic at one-week post op and the dressings are changed. Numbness and bruising is common for a few weeks after surgery.
You can return to light exercise at two weeks but should not do anything strenuous for 4 weeks. Lower leg exercises should be avoided for 6 weeks and then you should build back up gradually. You should arrange to take a couple of weeks off work.
Once the scar has healed you can start to massage with a simple moisturiser. Bruising and swelling will start to settle over the first few weeks and you may find that one side settles more quickly than the other leaving you asymmetric (lopsided) whilst the other side catches up. This is perfectly normal and we will not start to see the final results for at least six weeks, sometimes longer. The scar will be red/pink initially and slowly fade over many months or years. It can take several months for all surgical swelling to subside and for the very final results to be evident.
Potential Risks And Complications
When you are considering any type of surgery, you should be fully educated about potential risks and complications. Most patients are delighted with outcome of their procedure. Sensation usually changes following a thigh lift. Although permanent numbness is uncommon, sensation can take a number of months to return. In addition to numbness, bruising and swelling are common. Uncommon complications include infection, haematoma, delayed healing, skin necrosis, skin loss, seroma (a collection of tissue fluid) and thickened scar. The scars will be red or pink for a number of months and often turn purple before they fade to a pale white line. Some patients develop abnormally thickened scars that may require additional treatment in the clinic. It is very unusual to have scars that require additional surgery. Complications of any general anaesthetic include potential cardiac or respiratory problems and blood clots in the leg (DVT or in the lung (PE).