Thigh lift: A concise description of thighplasty – costs, benefits and symptoms

Cosmetic Procedures

What is a thigh lift surgery?

Thigh lift surgery reshapes the thighs by reducing excess fat deposits and sagging skin or loose skin in the inner and outer thighs. This procedure can be difficult. That is since a patient might need liposuction if the skin’s elasticity is poor, particularly in patients over 35–40 years of age, the skin is often thin and inelastic. Also the results will only work with liposuction since its might be needed to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Who is a thigh lift for?

This procedure is especially useful for people that have undergone massive weight loss and have been left with sagging and loose skin. Thigh lift surgery can leave a patient with smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body.

What is the procedure?

There are different techniques surgeons will use, namely the inner, mini and bilateral thigh lift. These are based on the particular medical needs, body shape, and desired results the patient is looking for.

The surgeon will make the incision in the groin, in the fold at the top of the inner thigh. But a vertical cut is occasionally needed.

The down time for this procedure is about 2-3 weeks, and the total recovery can take 6-12 months.

In this video Dr. Siamak Agha discusses thigh lift techniques:


What is the risks?

Overall, 68 % of patients will have some sort of complication. This particularly true of those that have massive weight loss. The biggest risk is death. Although that is rare. Most complications are minor wound healing problems, with problems with wound closure and fluid collections. Most of these can be treated without more surgery.

As with all surgeries, there is a risk associated with anesthesia. Although rare, it can lead to a stroke, heart attack, lung infection or death. A proper medical history will be needed before surgery.

Other risks include swelling, but that will correct itself over time. Whereas older patients and those undergoing liposuction at the same time will be at higher risk for infection.

There is also a risk of the condition seroma. This is where blood and fluid can collect at the cut. This can worsen the inflammation and raise the risk of an infection. The cut will need to be drained to prevent this to happen.

If there is a yellow or green discharge it is a sign that there is an infection. And if there is an infection, the wound will need to be drained and antibiotics be given to reduce the risk.

A patient can also develop small blood clots after surgery. Or a patient can develop deep vein thrombosis. This is where a large blood clot forms in the leg and can move to the lung, brain or heart, and this can be life threatening. But taking preventive anticoagulant medication can limit your risk of developing blood clots.

Besides blood clots, a patient can suffer bleeding. Bleeding is normal to some degree, but once it becomes excessive it can become dangerous. The medication for providing a blood clot can also be the reason for excessive bleeding. A blood transfusion might be needed.

There is also the risk that the surgeon can cut off the supply off the nutrient and blood supply to the fat cell. In this process destroying them. The dead cell can develop skin irregularities. Extra surgery might be needed to correct this. People that are at a higher risk to develop this are smoker.

Other rare complications were lymph fistula and partial skin necrosis.

All of that said, it is luckily as new surgical techniques are being explored, the complications have been decreasing.

What problems might occur afterwards?

This procedure will leave noticeable scars in the inner or outer thigh area. That although the cut is made in a hidden area, there will be scares. People will very light complexions will have less notable marks. Also, proper care of the scare after surgery will lessen the effect of possible infection. That is an infection of a wound can lead to larger scares.

There might be a small degree of asymmetric results after a surgery. But if there is added poor planning or an unforeseen medical condition the results can be even worse asymmetrical.

Some people might develop a loss of sensation in the thigh area. Although some will recover over time, others never do. There is no treatment to correct this.

There is also the problem of developing prolonged discomfort. It can be controlled with medication, until it resolves itself or the cause is located.