Unfortunately, scarring after surgery such as a thighplasty is unavoidable, however, with proper wound care after surgery, it can be minimized. Find out what to expect from the procedure in the way of scarring and how to reduce the appearance of thigh lift scars.
What Is Thigh Lift Surgery?
Losing a significant amount of weight very quickly or the natural process of aging can cause the skin on our thighs to begin to look crepey, saggy, and loose. Thighplasty or thigh lift is a surgery that can significantly improve the appearance of the upper thigh through the elimination of excess fat and loose skin.
Surgeons almost always perform liposuction under the skin that is to be removed during the same surgical procedure for both aesthetic reasons and to promote healing. A thigh lift can completely re-contour a patient’s leg resulting in a more natural, aesthetically pleasing upper thigh area.
Thigh Lift Scarring
The location and intensity of the scarring from your thighplasty will depend upon the type of surgery you undergo as well as your skin type and how fast you heal.
Scars are normally the most noticeable during the first six months and may appear pink, dark red, or hyperpigmented in some cases. Over the next 12 months or so, they should begin to smooth out a little and become a little lighter and softer to the touch.
The most common thigh lift scars are fairly well concealed in the crease between the pubic area and the top of the upper thigh. While fairly extensive, these scars can normally be well hidden with undergarments or even bathing suits.
Crescent Thigh Lift Scars
An incision is made at the junction of the thigh and the pubic area. The surgeon removes a crescent shape section of fat and skin from the area and pulls the remainder of the skin tight and secures it with stitches.
The resulting crescent thigh lift scar is normally well hidden in the crease where the thigh comes together to meet the groin. The crescent thigh lift leaves the most inconspicuous scars of the thigh lift procedures.
Inner (Medial) Thigh Lift Scars
During a medial thigh lift (inner thigh lift), the surgeon can remove fat and loose skin from the inner thighs (the part that touches together) and also around the knee area.
The surgeon will usually make an incision in the groin area and then down the inside of the leg to the knee (in a T shape) or a straight vertical incision may be used. Excess loose skin and fat are removed from inside the thighs and also from around the knee area if necessary.
Inner thigh lift scar will either look like a vertical straight line that runs from the groin straight down the leg or will resemble the shape of a T with the top line of the T hidden in the crease where the thigh meets the groin and the remainder running vertically down the inside of the inner thigh. Inner thigh lift scars are normally a bit trickier to conceal but will fade over time.
Spiral Thigh Lift Scars
A spiral thigh lift is normally used for an individual who has lost a large amount of weight such as through bariatric surgery. This lift targets not only the inner thigh but the outer thigh, often the knees, and can also tighten loose skin from around the calves. It is the most extensive of the available thigh lift procedures.
The spiral thigh lift scar can run from the groin to the knee on the inside of the thigh and also from the groin around to the “under crease’ of the buttocks and around to the hips.
Lateral Thigh Lift Scars
An outer thigh lift also referred to as lateral thigh lift is often done in combination with other surgeries such as a butt lift or a tummy tuck. The incisions needed to perform the lateral lift can easily be extended to accommodate a butt lift or a tummy tuck. An incision is usually made beginning at the upper border of the buttock and extending to the hip area. The lateral thigh lift scar will be most visible within the first 6 months after surgery, then it will eventually turn pinkish.
Lateral thigh lifts require the expertise of a highly-skilled surgeon because the skin and fat contained in the outer part of the thighs is heavy and requires special anchoring to prevent the incisions from opening during the healing process.
What Do Thigh Lift Scars Look Like 1 to 2 Years After Surgery?
Many patients wonder how long it will take for their thigh lift scars to fade. They want to know what to expect from inner thigh lift scars after 1 year or if they can still see their thigh lift scars after 2 years.
Scarring is unique to each patient and many factors play a role in how significant thigh lift scarring will be and how long it will take these scars to fade. Scars resulting from thigh lifts are known to be more stubborn than most and take a bit longer to fade.
Usually, after about 1 year, thigh lift scars will have faded to be much lighter and have also flattened out. If you still have significantly noticeable thigh lift scars after 2 years, you may wish to consider a cosmetic procedure such as microneedling to help minimize their appearance.
How Can I Minimize Scarring after a Thigh Lift?
If you would like to do all you can to reduce the appearance of scarring after a thigh lift, make sure to properly care for your incision sites. Complications such as infections will only make the resulting scars worse.
Topical Treatments for Thigh Lift Scars
After the incisions from your thigh lift have closed up (fused together) and the bandages have been removed, you can begin using topical treatments to help minimize scarring as your incisions heal. Cocoa butter and vitamin E work well to help keep scarring to a minimum.
There are also over-the-counter creams that are made to help prevent scarring. Silicone gel has also been used for years and comes in strips that can be cut to fit the length you need or is also available in a handy pocket-size stick.
What Treatments Can Lessen the Appearance of Scars from a Thigh Lift?
About 12 months after your thigh lift, your scar will most likely be done flattening out or lightening up and will not change significantly after that point. If you are unhappy with the way your thigh lift scars look, there are many non-surgical options that can help reduce their appearance. A cosmetic surgeon will offer a variety of treatments that can minimize or eliminate the appearance of scars.
Light and Laser Treatments
Light therapy and resurfacing via laser treatments effectively lighten the appearance of scarring as well as smooth out the texture of the scar. More than one treatment may be necessary to achieve the desired goal.
Treatments such as Morpheus8 combine microneedling with radiofrequency and can significantly lessen scar visibility. The micro-injuries created during the procedure prompt the body’s natural collagen and elastin production that restructures the skin. Scars are a result of our body’s natural response to a wound.
As it quickly attempts to replace the skin at the wound site, it is more concerned with repairing damage and less concerned about making it “pretty” if that makes sense. After microneedling, the body repairs the skin damage with a nice even texture which will reduce or possibly eliminate scars.
A thigh lift can help boost your self-confidence after losing a lot of weight. It can give you the freedom to walk, run or do things that you have been unable to do. It can help your clothes fit better and you may even be able to sit more comfortably than before your thigh lift. If you are unhappy with loose or saggy skin on your thighs and are interested in learning more about options that may be right for you, contact SurgiCare Arts (a division of IBI Healthcare Institute) to set up a consultation.
Dr. Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple-board certified cosmetic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer thigh lifts and skin-tightening procedures in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Buckhead, and the surrounding areas of Atlanta, Georgia.