Thigh Lift (Thighplasty)
- Length: 2-3 hours (generally outpatient)
- Anesthesia: General
- Normal recovery: Return to work in 1-2 weeks, Resume light exercise after 4 weeks, swelling resolves completely after 4-8 weeks
- Possible side effects: Swelling, Bruising, Pain or Discomfort
Many women, and even some men, struggle with chunky hips or dimpled, saggy thighs. In many cases, diet and exercise alone cannot overcome the body’s natural tendency to store fat disproportionately in this region. A thigh lift is a surgical procedure that seeks to bring the contours of the hips and thigh back into balance by reducing the excessive skin and fat in these areas. The result is a slimmer, more refined shape that is proportional and to the rest of the body
Men and women of all ages and body types can benefit from this safe and proven procedure. Ideal candidates for a thigh lift have persistent areas of fat, cellulite and/or loose skin on their hips or inner thighs that does not respond to exercise, are in good health, and have realistic expectations about their results. Patients who have recently experienced significant weight loss or undergone bariatric surgery are often ideal candidates.
How Does a Thigh Lift Work?
A Thigh Lift (Thighplasty) is performed under general anesthesia. The most common form of the procedure is a combination of liposuction and the surgical removal and tightening of the excess skin. In some cases, patients with more elastic skin may be able to achieve their desired results with liposuction or a skin lift alone.
The surgeon will make one or more incisions and perform liposuction to remove excess fat. Loose and sagging skin will then be trimmed, tightened and sutured in place with absorbable stitches. A compressive garment is used to help ensure an even contour. A thigh lift is a body sculpting procedure and is intended to be a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. Dramatic changes in appearance will be visible almost immediately, but maintaining the results will require a healthy diet and exercise.
Patients can expect some swelling and bruising, which will peak 2-3 days after surgery. Individual results will vary, but light walking is encouraged after 48hrs, and patients can expect to return to normal activities after 3-5 weeks.
Dr. Min’s Approach to Thigh Lift Surgery
Aging, genetic and weight fluctuations can cause the hips and thighs to develop pockets of fat and dimpled skin that dieting and weight loss alone can’t get rid of. The Newvue team will work with you to ensure you achieve beautifully sculpted thighs that are natural, sustainable and look great in a swimsuit. The contours of the thighs and hips should ideally form an hourglass shape that indents toward the waist with a smooth outward curve at the outer thighs. And the shape should be proportionate to the buttocks, torso and legs. Dr. Min can help you determine what procedure, and result, will best match your frame and body type.
Dr. George Min is a board certified plastic surgeon with deep experience in body sculpting procedures and a reputation for delivering beautiful, balanced results. He takes a conservative approach that focuses on patient safety and a natural appearance. Dr. Min does not believe in cutting corners, and our state-of-the-art Bellevue facility is unlike any you will find in the Seattle or Bellevue area. Our on-site surgical suite is equipped with the latest technology and is one of only a handful of locations to meet the stringent new safety certification standards.
We pride ourselves in being the best, not only in surgery, but also in patient care and education.
Your Thigh Lift Options
The placement of the incision patterns vary depending on the size and location of the problematic area.
A thigh lift is commonly performed as part of a Lower Body Lift, which is a more comprehensive procedure to address areas of fat or loose skin in the tummy and buttocks as well as the hips and thighs.
Medial (Inner) Thigh Lift
An inner (medial) thigh lift is the most popular type of thigh lift. It involves incisions in the groin fold and is best for people with a moderate amount of skin and fat in this area. For an inner thigh lift, the surgeon basically lifts up the thigh skin and tissue to tighten it.
Vertical Thigh Lift
A vertical thighplasty involves a vertical incision that starts at the groin crease and extends to the inner knee. The scar is visible when the inner thighs are exposed such as while wearing a bathing suit or mini-skirt. During a vertical thigh lift, the surgeon removes a wedge of skin from the inner thigh. A Vertical Thigh Lift may be ideal for Individuals with more significant fat and loose skin.
Outer Thigh Lift
An outer thigh lift requires an incision that extends from the groin around the hip. The surgeon will remove a wedge or strip of skin form the outer thigh and tighten the skin around the hips.
Spiral Thigh Lift
A Spiral Thighplasty is a newer procedure that targets the front, back, inner and outer thigh at the same time. The incision is below the buttock fold and continues over the groin crease at the junction of the thigh and pubic area. This plastic surgery procedure is ideal for people who have lost significant weight, such as patients who have undergone bariatric surgery.
Combination Thigh Lift Surgery
Sometimes, several types of thigh lift are performed at the same time. Which thigh lift or combination of thigh lifts is right for you depends on a number of factors, including how much fat and skin need to be removed, your skin quality and your preferences.
Your Initial Thigh Lift Consultation
The role of the consultation is to ensure that you feel informed, confident and excited, and we’ll take as much time as we need to get there.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Min will ask you about your desired appearance, as well as any wardrobe preferences that may help determine the location of your incisions. He will also ask you questions about your general health and activity levels to determine if he can meet your expectations. He will walk you through your options, explain the details of the thighplasty procedure, and answer any questions you may have. You will have an opportunity to view extensive before and after photos.
Dr. Min will assess factors such as the quality of skin, the amount of underlying fatty tissue, the amount of excess skin, the elasticity of the skin, and the contour of your hips and legs. He will share and explain his opinions with you about what is most appropriate for your body and what results you can expect. Together you will decide on the details and timing of your procedure.
Finally, Dr. Min will make sure you know exactly what will happen on the day of your procedure, what you will experience while you recover, and what you can expect in the months and years to follow.
Safety & Risks of Thigh Lift Surgery
Our approach at Newvue is always to put our patients’ safety above all other concerns, and Dr. Min is a recognized expert with an impeccable track record for body sculpting. We have invested in absolutely state of the art tools, and our on-site surgical suite is one of the first in the region to be fully approved under the stringent new safety standards.
Thigh lifts are very common and safe procedure. Nonetheless, we feel it is important that all our patients fully understand the risk associated with this—or any—surgical procedure. The most important thing to know is that Dr. Min and Newvue will stand by you should any complications arise and do everything we can to help you achieve your desired result.
Risks associated with Thigh Lifts include:
- Reaction to Anesthesia: Some patients experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia that may result in nausea or vomiting, allergic reactions and in very rare cases death. Be sure to discuss any medical allergies with your surgeon.
- Infection: as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Infection will generally occur within days or weeks of your procedure, and in most cases can be treated with medication. In rare cases, and additional surgery may be required to treat severe infections
- Bleeding & Hematoma: Some patients are more prone to bruising than others and, in extreme cases, may experience excessive bruising, bleeding or skin death.
- Loss of Sensation: Some patients may experience temporary or permanent loss of sensation in or around the treated area.
- Asymmetry: Some patients may experience asymmetry in their results over time due to the body’s natural aging or partial rejection of the surgical procedure, which can generally be addressed with an additional correctional surgery.
- Possibility of Secondary Surgery: In some cases, especially thigh lifts with extensive tissue removal, a secondary surgery may be required to achieve desired results.
Prior to Your Thigh Lift Procedure
Prior to your surgery, we will schedule a preoperative appointment with Dr. Min. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that your procedure goes smoothly and efficiently. Our staff will review your consent forms with you, answer any questions you might have, and the risks and benefits of surgery will be thoroughly reviewed. You may be given your prescriptions to be filled prior to your surgery. You will be given a list of medications and supplements to avoid for two weeks before and after surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery. You should not smoke for at least two weeks following surgery.
Your Thigh Lift Procedure
We will do everything in our power to help you feel informed and relaxed on the day of your procedure. After you arrive at our Bellevue office, you will meet with Dr. Min and with your anesthesiologist. Once any questions you have are answered, you will be given medication to help you relax.
You will be brought into the surgical suite, where you will be prepped for surgery and given a general anesthetic. Surgery usually takes 2-3 hours.
You will wake up in the recovery room, where you’ll be closely monitored. We’ll let you know how everything went and advise you on what to expect as you recover. You’ll want to be sure to arrange for someone to pick you up and stay with you for the first couple days as you adjust.
After Your Thigh Lift Procedure
You’re still our patient after you leave, and we will be there for you as you recover to answer any questions you may have and advise you on any side effects you may be feeling. Thigh lifts are generally performed as outpatient procedures, but some patients may require an overnight stay before returning home. You can expect to feel tired and sore after the surgery, and you will experience some swelling and discomfort in the treated area, both of which can be managed with medication.
You will likely wear a compressive dressing for 1 week following surgery, but you will be able to shower normally after 5-7 days.
While some movement is permissible, and walking is highly encouraged to promote blood flow, most patients will want to avoid strenuous exercise for several weeks. Dr. Min will advise you on the specifics of your recovery program.
Most patients return to work in 1-2 weeks, but you should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks, and avoid high impact activities (skiing, wakeboarding, contact sports) for the duration of your recovery (6-8 weeks). Your stiches will dissolve and be absorbed by your body, so you will not have to worry about getting them removed.
Here’s a timeline of a typical recovery:
First 24 hours:
- Rest, eat and drink normally (no alcohol), avoid activity
- Effects of anesthesia will be gone
- Swelling will peak and begin to subside
- Minimal activity, but light walking may begin
- You can shower normally
- Your 1st follow up consultation with Dr. Min
- Removal of compressive dressing
- Most patients can return to work at this point
- 2nd follow up consultation
- Resume normal (light) exercise and physical activity (such as jogging)
- 3rd follow up visit
- Resume all activities (including things like skiing, wakeboarding)
- Full results will be visible
- 1st annual checkup
You can expect to see more sculpted and toned thighs immediately. Scarring varies and will fade over time. Dr. Min and the Newvue staff are always available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, during your recovery and after. We want to ensure that you are completely thrilled with your new look, and we’ll consider you our patient for life.