A 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. 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 Dr. Charles Hsu’s Beverly Hills plastic surgery patients who come in for thigh lift surgery also want a better smoothness and contour of their upper legs, therefore liposuction is often used.
Best Candidates for Thigh Lifts
Good candidates for thigh lifts include:
Individuals who desire their thighs to have a better, more proportional contour and a firmer look and feel.
Individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery or massive weight loss.
Individuals who are distressed about loose, flabby skin on their thigh.
Individuals who have difficulty fitting into clothing because of heavy thighs.
During the consultation, Dr. Hsu will first ask about the thighs and determine what kind of goals the patient has for their thighs after surgery. This will include an assessment of whether there are any functional problems associated with the excess thigh skin and whether they can be improved with the procedure. Dr. Hsu will explain the next steps in the procedure to approved candidates. Dr. Hsu and the patient will decide on the timeline and details of the thigh lift surgery based on the patient’s needs.
Thigh lift surgery will usually take about 2-3 hours. For an outer thigh lift, Dr. Hsu will make the incision around the hip where it will be hidden by underwear. 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 the 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.
Recovery and Post-Op
Patients will be put in a compression garment for the thigh areas after the surgery that must be kept on at all times to keep the skin in place and minimize fluid collection. If Dr. Hsu chooses in insert fluid drains, the patient will be taught how to care for and monitor the drains. Patients should keep the treated area dry and minimize any pressure to the thighs. Most patients return to work in 2 weeks and their regular exercise routine in 6 weeks.
From Dr. Hsu
“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.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect in my final thigh lift results?
Thigh lift surgery results in slimmer thighs with tighter and more evenly textured skin. These results will generally last 5 – 10 years. However, large weight gain or pregnancy will affect how long the results last.
What are some recovery tips to thigh lift surgery?
During the first 10-14 days, patients should only engage in light activities. This is a critical period for healing and it is important to be watchful for any signs of infection or non-healing and report these to Dr. Hsu immediately. The pull of gravity and the actions of walking, sitting, and bending put stress on the sutured areas, so the patient should make careful and deliberate movements. It is best if someone stays with the patient for the first few days of the recovery. In 2-8 weeks, the patient may need to continue to wear the compression garment to optimize contouring of the thighs. Swelling should subside in 3-5 weeks. Driving and aerobic walking may be resumed in 3-4 weeks. Avoid heavy lifting and jogging for 6-8 weeks.
What is the different types of thigh lifts?
There are two different types of thigh lift procedures: medial (inner) thigh lift or lateral (outer) thigh lift. In a medial (inner) thigh lift, an incision is made in the groin area, and any excess fat and skin are excised along the inner aspect of the thigh. Liposuction may be but is not always included in this procedure, depending on your individual requirements. The area from the groin to the knee is recontoured and the procedure is repeated for the other thigh. In a lateral (outer) thigh lift, Dr. Hsu usually contours the buttocks as well as the outer thighs and removal of more tissue. Scarring is more extensive, and the skin will be less elastic after the surgery, so weight should be maintained.
Which procedure is right for me?
Patients will choose between an inner thigh lift, and outer thigh lift, or both based on their goals and concerns. Dr. Hsu will give his assessment and opinions to help the patient make an informed decision they are comfortable with.