Sagging thighs can be the result of extreme weight loss or the natural aging process. Thigh lifts are a safe and effective way to give thighs a firmer, more youthful appearance, and new techniques have been developed which minimize scarring and maximize aesthetics.
Thigh lift surgery, also known as thighplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the thighs. Since different patients have different problem areas, surgeons have come up with several thigh lift techniques that target the inner thighs, outer thighs, and the front of the thighs.
An inner thigh lift tightens the entire length of the inner thigh. During this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision along the natural crease between the inner thigh and pubic region. Extra skin and fat deposits are removed from the thigh, and the remaining skin is pulled taut and stitched into place.
A medial thigh lift is a good option for patients who have extra fat and skin around the tops of their inner thighs. The procedure is similar to an inner thigh lift, but the targeted area is smaller. Also, some surgeons create a series of incisions from the front of the groin to the crease beneath the buttocks to gain access to all parts of the upper thigh.
A vertical thigh lift involves vertical incisions in the inner thighs. Extra tissue is removed, and the skin of the thighs is pulled tight. This procedure is recommended for people with more tissue to remove, such as bariatric patients who have lost a great deal of weight.
An outer thigh lift targets sagging hips and “saddle bags”. The incision starts at the junction of upper thigh and groin, and circles up and over the top of the hip. As with the other techniques, extra skin is removed, and fat is reduced in the target area. The incision is then closed with sutures.
Since thigh lifts are invasive surgical procedures, they are carried out under general anesthesia.
The procedure takes approximately 2 hours to complete, though this time frame may vary if the surgery is performed in conjunction with liposuction, or as part of a total lower body lift. At your initial thigh lift consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will recommend the procedures needed to attain your goals.
In 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the average surgeon’s fee for a thigh lift was $4, 653. After anesthesia and facility costs, patients across the US report paying an average of $9,600 for their thigh lift surgeries.
Patients should expect to have 2 to 4 weeks of downtime following their thighplasty. Most patients can return to work within 2 weeks, and resume normal activities within 4 to 6 weeks.
Bruising, swelling, and numbness are some of the most common side effects associated with thigh lift surgery. Other risks include infection, bleeding, and fluid retention. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or bleeding, or if you develop a fever during recovery.
If you’re considering a thigh lift, sit down with a cosmetic surgeon to discuss your options. Ask to see before and after pictures of previous patients, and raise any concerns you have about thigh lift surgery. A good doctor will take the time to answer your questions and ensure that you understand the process and have realistic expectations for the outcome.
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