A thigh lift is a surgical procedure that removes and tightens excess skin on your inner and outer thighs. Thigh lifts are often combined with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck, breast lift or arm lift.
There are three basic types of thigh lift procedures: a medial thigh lift, a bilateral thigh lift and an inner thigh lift. In many cases, a surgeon will use liposuction before or during the surgery to remove excess fat and create an even and symmetrical contour. Liposuction can also help reduce cellulite in the thighs. The type of thigh lift you are getting will determine where your doctor makes the incisions. The surgery usually takes 2 to 4 hours and is typically an outpatient procedure, although some doctors may prefer to hospitalize you overnight.
Your doctor will make guideline markings on your thighs to indicate where skin will be removed or shifted and where the incisions will be made. Some doctors have developed their own styles, but most incisions are made to be hidden in the crease of the groin, easily concealed by most clothing. Prior to surgery, you will be sedated either through general anesthetic or intravenous (IV) sedation. Fluid will be injected into your thighs to control blood loss.
Medial Thigh Lift
A medial thigh lift targets the skin on the upper portion of the inner thighs, and the incision is made from the groin around the body to the crease of the buttocks. The incision follows much the same line as a pair of bikini underwear. Liposuction may be performed to remove excess fat. Some excess skin may be removed, depending the degree of laxity in that area. The skin is pulled tight over the remaining fat and muscle to create the desired contour. The doctor uses sutures to stitch the incision together.
Bilateral Thigh Lift
A bilateral thigh lift tightens skin on the front and outside of the thighs. The incision is made in the groin at the top of the leg, but unlike a medial lift, this incision does not wrap around to the buttocks. Excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is pulled up and reattached to the upper half of the incision with sutures.
Inner Thigh Lift
An inner thigh lift is designed to tighten the skin on the entire inner thigh. The incision is made in the crease where your thigh and pubic area meet. The doctor removes a predetermined section of excess skin and may also remove some fat. Your remaining skin is then tightened according to the desired contour, and the incision is closed with sutures.
It is likely you will have some fluid drainage after surgery. Your doctor may have installed tubes to aid in the drainage and will give you instruction as to how to care for these tubes and measure the drained fluid. You will be encouraged to walk as frequently as you can tolerate to prevent fluid accumulation, but you should avoid heavy lifting and vigorous activities such as exercise. Results are immediate, but may be concealed initially by swelling. The incision typically takes six weeks to heal.