What is a thigh lift?
A thigh lift reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin, and in some cases fat, resulting in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body. When performing a thigh lift, a surgeon may remove either medial (inner) thigh skin or outer (lateral) thigh skin.
Plastic surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center use state-of-the-art techniques to complete thigh lift procedures. Our experts apply the best approach for your needs to reduce the appearance of the inner or outer thighs, helping you achieve a body that is firmer, more youthful-looking and more proportionate to your overall body image. Thigh lifting is also addressed by body lift procedures.
Am I candidate for a thigh lift?
If fitness and weight loss efforts have not helped achieved your goals, a surgical thigh lift may be right for you.
Good candidates for a thigh lift include:
- Individuals whose weight is relatively stable
- Individuals with excess soft tissue along the inner or medial thigh region and/or the outer thigh
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what thigh lift surgery can accomplish
- Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness.
The best way to determine if you are a candidate for a thigh lift is through a consultation with a plastic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.
How do I prepare for a thigh lift?
Preparing for your thigh lift at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center includes discussing a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle with your plastic surgeon, including:
- Why you want the procedure, your expectations and desired outcome
- Your medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Your use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Your Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Examine and measure your body, including recording detailed measurements and taking photos for your medical record
- Discuss your thigh lift options
- Discuss likely expected outcomes of thigh lift surgery and risks or potential complications.
How is a thigh lift performed?
Thigh lift surgery at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is generally performed as an outpatient procedure with the use of general anesthesia. The incision patterns your plastic surgeon will use varies on the area or areas to be treated, degree of correction and patient and surgeon preference.
One common technique used for a thigh lift places incisions in the groin that extend downward and wrap around the back of the thigh. The underlying tissue is tightened, and skin is reduced and redraped, resulting in more proportionate and smoother body contours.
What are the different types of thigh lift?
There are different types of thigh lifts that target certain areas of the thighs for specific results:
- Medial Thigh Lift
- targets the inner thigh. During an inner thigh lift, an incision is made at the area where the thigh and pubic area meet. A wedge of skin and fat is then removed and the skin is closed, leading to skin tightening, an improved leg contour and enhanced skin elasticity.
- Lateral Thigh Lift
- is designed to tighten skin on the front and outside of the leg. During a lateral thigh lift, an incision is made at the top of the leg where the lower edge of your underwear would be. A certain amount of skin is then removed before pulling the remaining skin up and attaching it to the same area. Through this technique, a lateral thigh lift serves to tighten skin along both the right and left side of the leg. This procedure is especially helpful to those who have excess skin after significant weight loss.
During your thigh lift surgery consultation at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center, your plastic surgeon will discuss your treatment options and the results you can expect from thigh lift surgery.
What results can I expect?
The results of thigh lift surgery are visible almost immediately, but it may take several weeks for your final results to fully develop. Over time, some visible scars will remain, but your results are long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. Scars also improve with time with maximum improvement requiring one year. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your results should be relatively permanent.
Follow-up with a plastic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is the best way to ensure long-lasting results from thigh lift surgery.
What is involved in recovery?
When your thigh lift is complete, dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions. A compression garment is often used to minimize swelling and support the new contour of your thighs as you heal.
One or more small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood that may collect. Deep sutures are used to close any incisions that dissolve within four months. If there are any sutures in the skin they will be removed one to two weeks after surgery. It is important for a patient to have someone helping them get home after the surgery and if possible, to help for a couple days afterward.
Most people are advised to take seven to 10 days off work for recovery time. During this period, patients must remain in either a reclining or standing position to help the healing process. Some bruising and swelling may occur after surgery, which could last up to one month. The majority of patients recover well after a thigh lift, with most returning to all normal activities within four to six months.
Is a thigh lift safe?
All surgical procedures carry some risk.
Possible side effects or complications from thigh lift surgery include:
- Swelling at the incision site(s)
- Fluid accumulation in the legs
- Blood clots
- Changes in the sensation of the skin such as numbness and pain
Why Choose Us
If you’re considering thigh lift surgery, look for a plastic surgeon with specialized training and significant experience performing these procedures. Consider going to a plastic surgeon who is affiliated with a major medical center, such as Cleveland Clinic. Ask your specialist about credentials, training and how many thigh lift procedures he or she has performed.
Is this procedure covered by health insurance?
Like all cosmetic procedures, thigh lift surgery is not typically covered by health insurance. Ask to talk with a financial representative from Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center who can explain the costs of the procedure and if insurance coverage is an option for you.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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