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Home/Body Plastic Surgery/Thigh Lift

A thigh lift is an excellent procedure for patients who have loose, redundant skin along the anterior, medial and posterior thigh. A thigh lift can also improve the lower buttocks crease region. The most common patient is one who has had a significant amount of weight loss.

A thigh lift is similar to an arm lift, in that it involves removing a section of skin. The inner thigh skin is very thin and in some patients, the skin quality is very poor, meaning it is loose, redundant and lacking in elasticity. The best procedure for this type of patient is liposuction, removal of the redundant skin and then reattachment within the groin crease. The inner thigh lift incorporates liposuction of the medial thigh to enhance the overall silhouette of the leg. Especially, for the massive weight loss patient, a vertical incision down the medial or inner portion of the upper leg will result in a much better outcome. This is because the redundant skin is vertical around the entire upper leg.

The disadvantage of this procedure is the length of the incision. However, patients welcome the tradeoff of a long incision in exchange for the results they receive.

Who is a Candidate?

Generally, men and women who have experienced significant weight loss are the most excellent candidates. These patients usually have skin in the thigh area that is saggy, flabby, dimpled and drape-like in appearance. These features are indicative of poor skin quality that will not respond to exercise nor liposuction alone.

A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering a thigh lift. Dr. Miguel Delgado, our board-certified plastic surgeon, will explain the benefits and determine whether the patient is a good candidate for this procedure. During the appointment, the patient and Dr. Delgado will discuss the patient’s concerns about his/her appearance. In addition, he will explain the variables that affect this procedure, such as age, the condition of the skin and the degree of fat accumulation. Dr. Delgado will describe the realistic outcome that can be expected as well as show the patient exactly where the incisions will be located.

Procedure What It Does Surgery Recovery Results
Thigh Lift
Addresses loose skin in the thigh area
Yes
10-14 days
Long-lasting
Non-Surgical Butt Lift
Augments and lifts buttocks
No
Minimal to none
Long-lasting

The patient is provided with a booklet that supplies detailed pre- and post-operative instructions, including the use of medications prior to surgery. For example, it is required that aspirin and aspirin-containing products be discontinued, including anti-inflammatory products, two weeks before and two weeks after surgery, as these products have a negative effect on clotting ability. The pre-operative instructions include a complete list of medications that could pose hazards and therefore, should be avoided. Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be safely taken during this time.  However, do not exceed 1 gram over 4 hours or 4 grams per day from all sources since this can cause liver damage.  The booklet also provides a list of vitamins and homeopathic preparations that promote healing and limit bruising which the patient can opt to use before and after the surgery.

Before and After Photos

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Thigh Lift Procedure

Day of Surgery

Dr. Delgado performs surgical procedures at Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, a private surgery suite, located in his Marin County office on the Sutter Marin County Community Hospital campus. This allows Dr. Delgado to offer his patients private, concierge medical care, while providing the extra measure of safety and reassurance afforded by the surgery center’s contiguous location to the hospital.

Before anesthesia is given, a special felt-tip surgical marking pen is used to draw a detailed map on the areas to be treated. This architectural diagram enables Dr. Delgado to make accurate adjustments to accommodate the gravitational changes that occur as the body moves from a standing to a lying position.

After anesthesia is given, the inner thigh area is injected with tumescent fluid. The tumescent fluid is composed of normal saline (saltwater), lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and epinephrine (a vaso-constricting agent to reduce bleeding). This is injected into the inner thigh region. Liposuction is performed to reduce the fat content of the medial thigh and surrounding area.

Once the liposuction is complete, a section of skin is excised from the medial thigh. The skin is advanced and sutured in position using multiple-layer closing.  This could be an incision in the groin crease or a vertical incision down the inner part of the leg.  A light dressing is then placed and a compression garment is placed.   The garment serves to control swelling and promote smoothing of the skin surface.

Wonderful. The results I received due to Dr. Delgado’s expertise exceeded my expectations and hopes. Dr. Delgado and staff are kind, thorough and responsive. I am grateful for having found this exceptional doctor.

J L.

Anesthesia

Thigh lift procedures are performed under general anesthesia and are usually performed in an outpatient surgery center or a hospital. At Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, general anesthesia is administered by a board certified anesthesiologist with extensive experience. Dr. Delgado and the anesthesiologist assist the patient in making the best choice for the anesthesia. Additionally, the anesthesiologist calls each patient the evening before surgery to review his/her medical history, confirm last minute instructions and answer any questions he/she may have regarding the anesthesia.

After Thigh Lift Surgery

The first few hours after surgery will be spent in the recovery room. At Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, post-surgical care is provided by a registered nurse who is ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) certified. When the patient is fully alert, he/she can go home with a responsible adult.

If procedures, in addition, to the thigh lift surgery are performed, a 23-hour stay in our surgical facility may be required for the patient’s safety and effective pain management. With overnight stays, a specially trained helper is also on hand to assist the registered nurse.

Mild discomfort and a sensation of tightness in the thigh area are common for the first 48 to 72 hours. This initial discomfort is usually easily controlled with prescription medications. By the fourth day, the pain will have resolved significantly and the tightness will begin to dissipate.

Bruising or swelling is present for 10 to 14 days. The inner thigh incision needs daily care to keep it clean and dry during the early healing phase.

Risks and Complications

Like all surgeries there are risks of bleeding and infection and risks related to anesthesia. However, with a highly trained plastic surgery team and a state-of-the-art surgical facility, such complications are rare.

The incisions located in the inner groin region are inconspicuous. However, the vertical incision is more obvious. Due to the degree of moisture in the area, difficulties can be encountered with wound healing. Such challenges usually respond well to keeping the incision lines clean and dry.

Results

The results are a tighter, more attractive inner thigh and leg silhouette. The procedure improves the contours of the legs and decreases irregularities in the skin surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there different types of thigh lifts?

A thigh lift can be tailored to a patient’s body and aesthetic goals. Dr. Delgado can employ different surgical techniques to focus on specific areas, such as the inner thigh, upper thigh, or outer thigh. During your consultation, Dr. Delgado will discuss all the options.

How long does a thigh lift procedure take?

In general, a thigh lift typically takes between 2-4 hours to complete. The duration of the surgery will depend on the technique and extent of the work being done. Usually patients can return home after the anesthesia has worn off. However, an overnight stay at the surgical facility may be required in some cases.

What is the difference between a thigh lift and liposuction?

A thigh lift procedure is designed to address loose skin, while liposuction addresses excess fat. Liposuction may be done in conjunction with a thigh lift, depending on the desired outcome.

When will I see the results of my thigh lift?

Most patients can expect to see results after the full healing period, which typically lasts several weeks. The final results will vary from patient to patient, but most patients can look forward to a visible lift and a more streamlined thigh area.

Will I have a scar after a thigh lift?

During a thigh lift, Dr. Delgado will make an incision, which will begin at the top portion of the thigh and may extend as far as the knee. The procedure can cause hairline scarring. Although permanent, the scars often fade over time.

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