Thigh Lift Quick Facts
- Best Candidates: People who are seeking to eliminate sagging skin in the inner thighs
- Procedure Length: 2 hours
- Inpatient/Outpatient: Usually Outpatient
- Anesthesia: General anesthesia
- Results: Long-lasting
- Procedures in 2020: 9,275 (source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons)
As we age, the skin begins to lose its elasticity and the inner thighs can start to droop and sag. Poor skin tone in the thighs can also be experienced by people who have lost a large amount of weight.
A thigh lift can restore your self-confidence by reducing loose, sagging skin from the inner thighs. The procedure can be performed alone or as part of a lower body lift to address the abdomen, outer thighs, hips and buttocks.
The procedure information contained in this article will give you a good introduction to thigh lifts. Schedule a consultation with a Top Plastic Surgeon to receive a medical examination and discuss your thigh lift options.
Thigh Lift Overview
The natural process of aging can cause the skin to sag as thickness and elasticity is lost, underlying support fat thins out and levels of collagen in the skin decrease. People who have lost a large amount of weight after bariatric surgery, after pregnancy or from diet and exercise can also experience excess skin on different parts of the body. Skin that is stretched due to weight gain often lacks the elasticity to adapt to the body's new contours after the weight is gone.
A thigh lift is a surgical procedure to tighten the inner thighs by removing excess skin and fat. A thigh lift can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures to restore a more youthful appearance or achieve the look you had in mind prior to losing weight. Depending on the specific needs of the patient, a thigh lift can be performed as part of an overall lower body lift or combined with a facelift, arm lift, breast augmentation, breast reduction or other cosmetic procedures. These procedures may be performed at the same time or spread out over several months.
Removing sagging skin and excess fat from the inner thighs can dramatically improve the shape of your legs and provide a boost to your self-esteem. You will see an immediate difference in the contour of the thighs and wil probably be more comfortable wearing shorts, swimwear and other items of clothing that expose the legs.
How a Thigh Lift is Performed
During a thigh lift, an incision is made where the inner thigh meets the pubic area extending from side to side. The skin is pulled upward, excess skin removed and the remaining skin tightened and stitched into place. Deep stitches are used to fasten the skin to bone and ligament to prevent sagging as healing takes place. Any excess deposits of fat that are present are usually removed with liposuction.
A thigh lift usually takes about 2 hours to complete. It is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to go home on the same day. General anesthesia is normally administered to allow you to sleep throughout the procedure.
The best candidates for thigh lifts are people who are in good health and want to restore the appearance of their inner thighs with tighter skin and an enhanced body contour.
Generally, the best candidates for a thigh lift:
- Are in good health, both physically and mentally.
- Are well-informed about treatment options and have realistic expectations.
- Want to improve their appearance by reducing loose, sagging skin in the inner thighs.
Thigh lifts have grown much more popular in the last few years. More than 9,200 procedures were performed in 2020, a 75% jump since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This increase is a result of more people who are choosing body contouring after losing weight through bariatric surgery (extreme weight loss surgery) or by other means. People with excess skin caused by aging are also good candidates.
Liposuction can be used to contour the inner thighs if excess fat is present and the skin remains tight. However, a thigh lift is the best option if the skin is loose and saggy.
If you believe that you may be a good candidate for a thigh lift, a qualified plastic surgeon can evaluate your condition, explain anything about the procedure you don't understand, answer all of your questions and help you decide if the procedure is right for you.
Thigh Lift Risks
Thigh lifts carry the same risks as any surgery, which include infection, excessive bleeding and complications from the anesthesia. To reduce your risk, carefully follow all of your plastic surgeon's instructions, both before and after the procedure. Contact your surgeon's office immediately if you have any symptoms you believe may indicate a complication.
The most common risks associated with thigh lift surgery include:
- Blood clots
- Excess fluid collection (seroma)
- Pain, swelling or bruising beyond normal levels
- Excessive bleeding
- Numbness (usually temporary)
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Dissatisfaction with results
The scars left by a thigh lift are located in the groin area and are usually easily concealed by a swimsuit. Scars may be red and bumpy for several months before evening out and taking on their permanent appearance.
Thigh Lift Costs
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average surgeon/physician fee for a thigh lift in 2013 was $4,459, This figure does not include other costs, such as a facilities charge or anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with complete information on costs and financing options at your consultation.
The total fee for a thigh lift can vary considerably depending on the region of the country, the extent of the procedure and your specific needs as a patient. The cost of a thigh lift is usually not covered by health insurance, as it is considered to be a cosmetic procedure.
Thigh Lift Consultation
If you decide that you might benefit from a thigh lift, the first step is to locate a qualified plastic surgeon and schedule a consultation. During this meeting, you will be examined by the doctor and discuss your options in detail. Be sure to ask any questions that you have about thigh lifts and your expectations for the procedure.
The surgeon should fully address all of your questions and offer advice on how to achieve your desired results. He or she should give you the full details of the procedure, including the benefits, risks, costs and recovery time. Be sure to ask for before and after photos of the surgeon's recent thigh lift patients.
Be prepared to discuss your overall health and medical history. Bring a list of any vitamins and medications, both prescription and non-prescription, that you take. The doctor will also ask about existing medical conditions and allergies.
As the consultation concludes, you may wish to schedule your procedure, take some time to think or seek a second opinion. If you decide to proceed with the procedure, your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your thigh lift. These instructions will include guidelines for eating, drinking, and medications and vitamins to take or avoid before and after surgery.
Thigh Lift Recovery
Normal symptoms experienced after thigh lift surgery include soreness, fatigue and mild to moderate pain and swelling. Any pain should subside quickly and be controlled with medication. Swelling may last for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery before subsiding. Contact your plastic surgeon's office immediately if you experience any severe swelling or pain. Fever can be a sign of infection, so use a thermometer to take your temperature frequently in the first few days after surgery.
You will probably wear a compression garment for several days to help the skin adhere to the new contour of the upper legs. A surgical drain may be used to remove excess fluids that collect at the incision before being removed within a few days. Your stitches will dissolve or be removed in a week to 10 days.
For the first few days, take it easy, get plenty of rest and follow all of your post-operative instructions. Most patients can resume non-strenuous activities after 2 or 3 days and return to work within 2 weeks. More vigorous physical activity should be avoided for about 4 weeks.