1. What is Thigh Lift?

It is a surgical procedure done under general anaesthesia to remove the loose, hanging skin in the inner thigh. The cut or incision for this surgery is on the inner thigh and has a vertical component extending from the top end of the thigh to the knee and a horizontal component which is at the top end of thigh along the groin crease and almost extending to buttock crease. Thigh lift can be combined with any one of these procedures: liposuction, fat transfer to buttock area (brazilian buttock lift) lower body lift, breast lift or arm lift.
Loose skin in the inner thigh is usually seen after massive weight loss following bariatric surgery, following diet and exercise and sometimes following aggressive liposuction.The skin becomes loose because of stretching and loss of elasticity which is permanent and cannot be corrected by diet and exercise. So only way to get rid of the loose hanging folds of skin is by surgery.

2. What to expect after surgery?

  1. There will be dressing all around on the incision line.
  2. Hygiene: As the incision line is likely to get soiled when you visit the washroom, you asked to apply antiseptic solution a few times a day. Generally, no dressing is applied after 2 days.
  3. Pain: Pain control gets better with each passing day. Turning in bed may be sore for the first few days. Any pressure on the treated area may also be sore for some time. In addition, you will get stretching or pulling sensation in the thigh especially when you will try to turn in bed or when you stand up. This is because the skin has been pulled tight. This will get easier every day.
  4. Medication: Antibiotics and painkillers are given for a week following lower body lift.
  5. Sensation: The treated areas will feel numb. This happens because tiny nerves going to the skin are stretched and sometimes divided and they take time to regenerate. This regeneration of the nerves may give you a tingling sensation for a few weeks. The area of numbness will gradually reduce and complete recovery of sensation can take from 3 to 6 months.
  6. Swelling: Swelling of treated areas happens because of trauma of surgery. this can take 4 to 6 weeks to go away. if you had liposuction of thigh the swelling may take longer to go especially around the lower part of thigh. Sometimes swelling of the ankle and feet are seen especially after you start wearing a corset. To reduce this one has to wear stocking and keep feet on pillow when sleeping or on a stool when sitting.
  7. Bruising: Bruising is seen as bluish patches on the operated areas. it can take 2 to 4 weeks to go away.
  8. Compression vest or corset: You can wear them once the oozing stops which is usually 24 hours post surgery. This you have to wear 24/7 (except removing them during shower) for 4 weeks. thereafter you can wear them during daytime for another 2 weeks or so. Corset keeps the swelling and bruising down and also provides support to the treated area especially during movement.
  9. Hospital stay: Usually for 2 to 3 nights and once you are able to walk independently and go to the washroom on your own, you will be discharged from the hospital.
  10. Return to work: You can return to light household chores within a week. Return to light work possible in 2 weeks and work which are more physically demanding it may take 4 weeks. Flying abroad is possible within 2 weeks following surgery.
  11. Stitches: Most of the stitches are dissolving ones so no need to remove them. Maybe few stitches will require removal on 10th day.
  12. Dressing: Dressing is required till healing is complete which usually happens within a months time. For the first 2 dressings will be done by me. Thereafter you will be allowed to have shower. We will teach you how to put a simple dressing after the shower.
  13. Scars: Thigh lift scars are generally T shaped the horizontal component lying along the top end of the thigh and the vertical component along the inner thigh right upto the knee. The scar will appear crinkled initially and smoothes and evens out after a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Initially scar may appear red and prominent and it usually takes 12 to 18 months for scar to become soft and light.
  14. Weight loss: Weight loss approximately equals the amount of fat which is sucked out and the weight of skin removed from the thigh area. For instance approximately 5 kg of weight loss is to be expected with liposuction of 5 litres. However amount of liposuction estimated by the surgeon before the surgery is just that- an estimate. The final amount after the surgery can vary. The weight of the loose skin removed from the inner thigh is usually only 1 to 2 kg.. You will experience weight loss only after a month or so as it takes that much time for the swelling to go.
  15. Inch Loss: Usually 4 inches loss (on circumferential measurement) is there after thigh lift and liposuction, which translates to 1 or 2 dress size difference. However it can be less or more depending on the amount of fat deposit and skin laxity in each individual. The result will continue to improve and final result may take 3 to 6 months. This is because swelling takes about a month to resolve and then the skin has to shrink and adapt to the new shape. To maintain and improve the result it is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle in the form of diet and exercise. If you do not do so then it is likely you will regain fat deposit in the areas treated by liposuction.
  16. Besides some weight loss and loosing inches from the thigh there is tightening of the thigh skin. However results may vary from patient to patient.

3. Do's and Dont's :

  1. Activity: You can resume light activity like walking and doing household chores immediately following discharge from the hospital. You can increase the level of activity with each passing day and as per your comfort level. It is normal to feel tired after any long surgery under general anaesthesia and this can take few weeks to go away. Heavy exercise, gym, swimming can be started 4 to 6 weeks with gradual stepping up.
  2. Diet: As it takes approximately a month to get back to your normal exercise routine one should reduce diet intake by about 20% till then. This is to balance the intake and output. For one month salt intake should be less as salt increases swelling.
  3. Shower: You are allowed to have shower 3 to 5 days after surgery depending on your recovery. Till then you have to sponge yourself. after shower you have to change the band-aid dressing and apply fresh ones.
  4. Steam and sauna: Should be avoided for 6 months. This is because the sensation in treated areas can take upto 6 months to recover and you might burn yourself without realising it.
  5. Sunscreen: Religiously use sunscreen on treated areas if they are getting exposed to sunlight. this has to be continued for 1 year.
  6. Smoking: Smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery can increase the risk of complications.
  7. Medication: Please inform if you have to take any additional medicine other than prescribed by the surgeon.
  8. Long haul flight: If you are travelling overseas you need to take certain precautions during the flight. Drink plenty of water. Every 2 hours or so walk in the aisle for 5 minutes. Even while sitting keep your heel on the floor and point your toes as high up as possible. Then keep the toes on the floor and raise your heel as high as possible. Repeat 10 times every ½ hour. If possible wear the stockings which were given to you during your hospital stay. All this is done to prevent clot formation in the leg veins.

4. Treatment Alternative :

  1. Diet and exercise: It is possible to lose areas of fat deposit by diet and exercise. However, the skin once it becomes lose it cannot be tightened by exercise or diet.
  2. Nonsurgical skin tightening: Techniques such as External ultrasound, radiofrequency and external laser devices are used for tightening of a minor amount of loose skin in normal weight patient. Moreover, they require multiple sittings at a monthly interval. There is no weight loss with this technique. As of now, they cannot be considered a replacement for body lift procedures.
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Dr. Sandip Jain