What is a thigh lift (thighplasty)?
A thighplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure to remove excess skin and fat of the thighs. It is common due to aging or after weight loss. This eliminates skin and fat that may be hanging from the inner thighs or causing chaffing of the skin. Thighplasty also results in a scar that may be in the inner groin crease or a vertical scar along the inner thighs from the groin to the upper knee.
Who is a suitable candidate for thighplasty?
Thighplasty is intended for both men and women who have complaints of excess skin and fat of the thigh. Knowing if thighplasty is right for you is difficult, however, a consultation with a plastic surgeon from the University of Toronto will help determine if this procedure will help you achieve your goals. The following are considerations that may be helpful in determining if a thighplasty is right for you:
- You desire a more toned and proportionate appearance of your thighs
- Your weight is relatively stable and you are not significantly overweight
- You have undesirable excess skin and/or fat between your groin and knees
- You understand that to achieve an improved appearance, surgery will result in a scar placed in an inconspicuous area on your thighs
- You understand that scar outcome is difficult to predict and varies by individual
- You are committed to being healthy and have no medical conditions that may impair wound healing or increase the risk of surgery (For example: obesity, diabetes, smoker)
What are the goals of the thighplasty surgery?
The goals of the surgery are to remove as much excess skin and fat as is reasonable to ensure that the wound can be closed without too much tension, which is determined by the plastic surgeon. Also, the goal is to reshape the thighs to give them an improved contour and provide the patient relief from excess hanging skin and fat around the thighs.
What is done during thighplasty surgery?
This is a common procedure performed by plastic surgeons that requires a general anesthetic. In the preoperative area, the surgeon will mark areas on your thighs that will be reduced during surgery. Once this is complete, you will be taken to the operating room for the general anesthetic and procedure. During the procedure, an incision will be made on your thigh followed by careful removal of excess tissue to protect underlying nerves and vessels. Liposuction may be required to help with fat removal and contouring. Once the excess tissue is removed, careful attention will be paid to closing the skin envelope with sutures. At the end of the procedure, compressive bandages will be placed on your thighs to prevent swelling and help support the tissue. These bandages will be worn postoperatively until you see the plastic surgeon in clinic, at which point they will be removed for the first time.
Where is the surgery performed?
All surgeries are performed at Women’s College Hospital as day surgery by the plastic surgery senior resident under the supervision of a faculty plastic surgeon.
What to expect in the recovery? How long will I be off work? When can I resume exercise?
The procedure itself can take from 1 to 3 hours depending on how much work is required. For the best results, you should plan on resting and taking it easy after surgery. For the first few days after surgery, most patients experience some discomfort at the surgical site. After which you will starting feeling better and returning to your normal self. You should plan on being off work for 1 to 2 weeks. During your recovery, you should refrain from strenuous physical activity including lifting and pulling for 6 weeks following surgery.
Where are the scars?
To achieve an improved appearance, thighplasty surgery removes excess skin and loose tissue at the cost of creating a scar. As plastic surgeons, we realize the importance of the cosmetic outcome. We will make every effort to optimize the scar size and conceal it in the least visible area of the upper arm. The length and placement of the incision will vary based on location and extent of excess tissue to be removed. The typical thighplasty incision starts in the groin and may continue down the inner thigh to the elbow. This scar will be close to the groin crease and or on the inner surface of the thigh, to enhance the cosmetic outcome. It is important to realize that scar formation varies between individuals and is highly dependent on a person’s genetic predisposition. Scars typically fade over time but their final dimensions and colour are difficult to predict. At the consultation, the plastic surgeon will talk to you about this.
What are some common complications of surgery?
Complications of thighplasty, like those of other cosmetic procedures, are uncommon but may include unfavorable scarring, asymmetries, bleeding, infection, swelling, numbness, and blood clots in the leg. These may require additional treatment. Problems such as infection or bleeding may require additional surgery.
When will I see the final results of the surgery?
Although there will be swelling initially, you will notice immediate results following the surgery, and these will continue to improve with time as the swelling subsides. Final contour and scar maturation will take about 1 year to achieve.