When do you qualify for a thigh lift intervention?

Whether your thigh problem can be solved by a lifting operation needs to be judged by the plastic surgeon. It is important to realize that a thigh lift will not correct excessive overweight. This intervention will only correct skin redundancy. In case of obesity, it is better to postpone the intervention until your weight is optimized, since overweighed people show a higher risk of postoperative complications such as delayed wound healing, higher infections rates, and a higher risk of thrombosis.

If your weight is too high we therefore advise you to seek help in order to achieve a reduced weight by means of a diet or increased bodily activities. A dietician or general practitioner may guide you during this period. As soon as your weight has been optimized the operation can be carried out with a satisfactory result and with a smaller risk of complications. As soon as the skin excess of your thighs form a fold, either after major weight reduction or due to extensive loss of skin elasticity during aging, a thigh lift may become a solution; however at the expense of a permanent scar at the inner side of the upper leg.

Preparation prior to the surgery

A thigh lift requires a hospitalization of 1 to 2 days, depending on the postoperative amount of drainage of wound fluids into the drains. As soon as major drainage has terminated, you may leave the hospital.

Please inform your surgeon if you are on medication that alters blood coagulation, such as Marcoumar or Sintrom. The use of Aspirin (acethylsalicylacid) containing medicines needs to be terminated 14 days before the intervention. Smokers are strongly advised to quit smoking at least 2 weeks before and continue to do so until at least 4 weeks after the intervention.

Continuation of smoking may have profound adverse effects on wound healing. As the surgery is always carried out under general anesthesia you have to be sober before the intervention starting at 12 o'clock p.m.

The intervention

At the beginning of the intervention a bladder catheter is placed that will stay in place until the next day. The incision will be hidden as much as possible to reduce the visibility of the final scar. If possible, a scar is placed only in the inguinal fold at the inside of the thigh; however, skin redundancy frequently necessitates a T-shaped scar. If this is the case, the horizontal part of the incision is placed in the inguinal fold and the vertical part is located at the inside of the upper leg. The latter will end approximately 15 cm above the knee depending on the size and amount of skin redundancy. A drain is placed in the inguinal region in order to drain the excess of wound fluid. As soon as the major drainage has finished, these drains will be removed.

After the intervention

Your thighs will feel tense, swollen, and painful after the intervention. These complaints will slowly decrease. The first day after surgery you will be mobilized progressively.

What else do you need to know?

During the first 6 weeks after the operation you are advised to wear an elastic stocking in order to prevent fluid accumulation in the operated area. You are advised to shower daily 3 days after the intervention.

Possible complications

Severe complications rarely occur. Basically, all complications inherent in any surgical intervention may occur, such as bleeding, infection, and delayed wound healing. Infection following this type of surgery is observed more often than in other interventions, due to the close vicinity of the genital and anal region. Delayed wound healing is more frequently observed in smokers and in obese patients. If delayed woundhealing occurs, the final scar may appear wider in the affected area. In exceptional cases an additional operative correction is needed.

At home

During the first months after the operation you may perform light physical activities. However, sport activities like swimming, jogging and biking are forbidden during 6 weeks. After the first months you may gradually resume your habitual level of bodily activities. The scars need to be protected from sun exposure during 1 year.

Initially, your thighs will be insensitive. The sensitivity will recover slowly after a few months. However, sometimes a small insensitive area remains. The final appearance of the scar cannot be predicted since the healing process is influenced by other factors besides suturing technique. These are the genetic healing tendency and the occurrence of factors promoting delayed wound healing. Initially, the scars will be red and hard. Sometimes postoperative treatment with silicone compression or cortisone creme may be necessary. After 6-12 months the scars fade and become softer.