Excess inner thigh skin can result from aging or significant weight loss. The skin in this area has poor elasticity and does not respond well to diet and exercise alone. If you find yourself pulling up on your skin on your inner thigh and wishing you could accomplish that look, a thigh lift may be a good option for you. There are different types of thigh lifts, and each type creates a different type of result. In general, thigh lifts should not be performed on patients who are still in the process of significant weight loss. If the procedure is done before the patient nears goal weight, not as much skin can be removed, and when the additional weight is lost after surgery, lax skin results.
If the problem area is confined to the upper inner third of the thigh, the incision can generally be confined to the groin crease area. Occasionally liposuction is also performed on the inner and outer thigh simultaneously to debulk the area. This procedure is done as an out-patient under a general anesthesia and generally takes between two and three hours to complete. Exercise is prohibited for three weeks. Soreness is well tolerated and complications are uncommon.
If the excess skin extends down the inner thigh toward the knee, it is usually necessary to extend the scar from the groin area down the inner thigh toward the knee, as well as performing liposuction on the inner knee area. Some patients also desire to have their outer thigh liposuctioned at the same time. This procedure is also performed under a general anesthesia, but does require and overnight stay in the recovery care center. Soreness is well tolerated and return to normal activities is allowed at three weeks. Most patients take ten days to two weeks off of work following this procedure.
If excess skin laxity is noted in the outer thigh and buttock area, a body lift is generally performed at a separate stage. In general, this procedure is not combined with thigh lifting because of the length of anesthesia that would be required.
Complications from this procedure are uncommon in properly selected patients. Obese patients should not undergo this procedure for the reasons described above, and due to the risk of blood clots that can start in the calf veins and travel to the lung veins. Dr. Flint uses low dose blood thinners to minimize risk in thigh lift patients. Lymphedema is excessive chronic swelling of the legs that can occur after these procedures. It is very rare and the incidence has dropped a great deal with newer techniques. Thigh numbness can occur but is usually temporary. Scarring is genetically pre-determined, but can be improved with post-operative scar care including massage and stick on silicone gel sheeting bandages that are worn at night for three months post-operatively.
This procedure allows sculpting of the thighs that is extremely difficult to accomplish with diet and exercise. After successful weight loss, it can be very disheartening to be left with sagging lax skin that can limit clothing choices or impede exercise efforts. Thigh lifts correct these problems with a fairly brief recovery and excellent results. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your thighs, Dr. Flint would be happy to develop a surgical plan for you that will accomplish your goals.