How Is a Thigh Lift Done?

A thigh lift, known in the medical community as a thighplasty, is a cosmetic surgery that is performed to tighten loose sagging skin on the thighs. Often, liposuction is used during a thigh lift to remove excess fat deposits and to help contour the thighs. Some surgeons use a specific liposuction technique called the avulsion technique which not only creates slimmer, more proportionate thighs but also promotes proper healing by reducing the risks of incision dehiscence.

A thighplasty is often performed on individuals who have lost a large amount of weight and are left with stretched-out skin that is not only aesthetically displeasing but may be causing medical issues or physical limitations.

A thigh lift is major surgery and choosing to undergo one should not be a decision that is made without knowing what a thigh lift is and how a thigh lift is done. Patients should have a good understanding of what to expect from a thigh lift as well as the role they will play in the final results.

Thigh Lift Surgery Step By Step

Step 1: Initial Preparation

  • The Patient will change into a gown and be reminded to remove any items such as jewelry, contacts, hearing aids, etc if necessary
  • The patient’s vital signs will be checked (heart rate, body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, etc) These will be monitored through the duration of the surgery as well as oxygen levels)
  • An IV line will be placed in the patient’s arm to use for the medications and fluids used during the surgery
  • The surgeon may make markings on the patient’s body to indicate incision lines, etc

Step 2: Administering Anesthesia

Patients are sedated under general anesthesia for their comfort during thigh lift surgery usually, administered intravenously.

Step 3: Disinfection Of The Surgical Site

A member of the medical team will thoroughly cleanse the area of surgery with antiseptic to help mitigate the risk of infection and a sterile drape will be strategically positioned over the surgical target location.

Step 4: The incisions

The surgeon will make the incisions for a thigh lift consistent with the type of thighplasty being performed while adjusting the pattern/technique to accommodate the treatment area, degree of correction, and preferences of both the surgeon and patient. The location and length of the incisions will vary based on the type of thigh lift being performed.

Step 5: Liposuction

Many surgeons use Vaser lipo to remove excess fat from the thighs which provide optimal results both in appearance and in the healing process. Fat is liquefied and removed with gentle suction. through a small tube called a cannula.

Using Vaser lipo lowers the risks of trauma and bruising. Other benefits of Vaser lipo include:

  • Only targets fat cells so nearby tissue and blood vessels are not damaged;
  • Lowers the risk of seroma during recovery;
  • Eliminates the need for surgical drains;
  • Enables the surgeon to excise loose saggy skin more cleanly and with ease;
  • Delivers optimal results in slimmer, more defined-looking thighs.

Step 6: Skin Excision

The surgeon removes the excess skin and tightens the remaining skin on the thigh to create a smoother, firmer appearance.

Step 7: Suturing The Incisions

Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon will use layers of sutures, surgical tape, etc to properly close the incision locations taking care to place sutures to minimize scarring.

Step 8: Recovery Room

After the surgery, patients will be closely monitored in a recovery room until the surgeon releases them to return home.

Thigh Lift Procedure Variations

Crescent Thigh Lift Procedure

During a crescent thigh lift, an incision is made in the crease where the groin and thigh meet. Fat and loose skin are removed from a section of the inner thigh (resembling a half-moon shape) Then the rest of the skin is pulled until it appears tight and smooth and secured with stitches.

Medial Thigh Lift Procedure

A T-shaped incision is made on the inside thigh area from the groin to the knee with the horizontal top of the T located in the pubic area. Fat is liposuctioned out and excess skin is removed from the inner thighs and knee area if necessary. The incisions are sutured closed.

Lateral (Outer) Thigh Lift Procedure

The surgeon will make an incision that starts at the buttock’s upper border and extends to the hips. Often a lateral thigh lift is combined with a tummy tuck or butt lift by just extending the same incision. Fat is removed, excess skin is eliminated and incisions are closed.

Thigh lifts that are performed on the outer portion of the thigh require a surgeon with expertise in lateral thigh lifts. The skin and fat located in this area are heavier and the procedure to excise and secure it is significantly more difficult.

Spiral Thigh Lift Procedure

Most often, the spiral thigh lift or 360-degree thigh lift is performed on patients who have lost a massive amount of weight and is considered the most extensive of all thigh lift procedures.

Targeting both the outer and inner thigh, and often the knees and calves, the surgeon makes a long incision that curves around from inside the thigh from the groin to the knee and continues under the buttocks and extends to the hips.

Fat is eliminated through liposuction and the excess loose skin is removed after which the incisions are closed.

After Thigh Lift Surgery

The typical recovery after a thigh lift is around 6-8 weeks but swelling may take substantially longer to completely dissipate.

A thigh lift can be life-changing in many ways and when done by a surgeon with expertise in thighplasty patients should experience long-lasting results and feel more self-confident.

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