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What is a Thigh Lift? 

A Thigh Lift is a surgical procedure that aims to lift and tighten the loose, sagging folds of skin in and around the thigh area. It is designed to remove excess tissue to leave a firmer, smoother contour and is suitable for patients who have experienced drastic or sudden weight loss where the tissue has been stretched and hangs down from the thighs (the buttocks can be treated with a buttock lift.

Thigh Lifts are often combined with liposuction to eliminate any unwanted fat in the thigh region.

The overall effect is to deliver a more sculpted, aesthetically pleasing thigh, firmer to the touch and with tightened, smooth overlying skin.

Loose, sagging skin distribution in the thigh can be:

  • Natural, and a function of genetics 
  • Caused by weight loss (excess skin)
  • Caused by ageing as the upper leg skin becomes loose and flabby. 

What are the benefits of a Thigh Lift?

The benefits of a Thigh Lift are both cosmetic and psychological, and include:

  • Firmer, leaner upper legs 
  • Redefined, slender figure
  • Tightened upper leg skin and elasticity
  • Restored ‘thigh gap’ 
  • Ability to wear tighter cut clothes/swimwear
  • Improved sense of emotional wellbeing

Why have a thigh lift?

As we age, the skin of our thighs loses its elasticity and begins to sag. This is especially true for those who have experienced repeated periods of weight gain and weight loss, where the skin has been stretched multiple times, destroying the elasticity leaving it sagging and loose.

Stretched skin is unlikely to shrink back naturally and typically cannot be tightened with diet and exercise. This is a common misconception, and surgical intervention may be the only way to deliver your desired results.

This sagging of the skin can cause people to become self-conscious of their body, preventing them from feeling comfortable in many clothes, particularly swimwear and sportswear.

To achieve a tighter, leaner look to your legs, a thigh lift can be a highly effective solution, so you can feel confident in your body once more.

How does a Thigh Lift procedure work?

A Thigh Lift employs two key surgical techniques to contour the thigh region and reduce the amount of excess skin and fat on the thighs; skin excision and liposuction.

Skin Excision targets the loose skin that hangs down around the thighs. Incisions are made discretely (either on the inside or outside of the thigh, the buttock fold or groin). After removal of the excess skin and reshaping of the thigh area, the skin is carefully re-sutured. The procedure involves both the removal of excess skin and the re-sculpting of the thigh area to produce the right body shape and contouring.

The procedure can be limited to a single localised area of the thigh or can be extended to include the whole area. It is performed under general anaesthetic and leaves scars hidden (where possible) under the buttock fold or groin.

If required, Liposuction can also be used to remove excess fat and streamline the shape of the thighs. Your surgeon's decision on whether to perform liposuction, and if so in what areas, will depend on the amount of excess skin, the amount of excess fat, the level of skin laxity and your expectations from the surgery.

This operation typically takes around 2 hours to complete. The incision is stitched with dissolvable stitches and surgical tapes are applied as well as bandages which are placed around the thighs to increase compression.

What are some of the main aesthetic considerations for your surgeon?

Two key considerations are symmetry and scarring.

  • Surgical experience and careful planning are required to produce a symmetrical result. It is common to see patients who have had unequal amounts of skin and fat removed with unnaturally shaped thighs, of unequal size. There are even occasions where patients have required to have skin put back, using skin grafts. This is a key consideration at the outset 
  • A skilled surgeon can minimise scarring and place them expertly in locations where they are not visible to the eye. Scars take some months to settle in, but your surgeon will try and confine the scarring to the buttock fold or groin 

Who is suitable for Thigh Lift?

Thigh Lift surgery is a highly personal procedure and should only be undertaken if you feel strongly that you would benefit from either the skin / fat reduction and contouring properties of a Thigh Lift

You may be a suitable candidate for thigh lift surgery if:

  • You are in good psychological and physical medical health
  • You are at your ideal body weight
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations of what can be achieved via surgery
  • You are seeking to remove excess skin in your thighs 
  • You are seeking to remove excess fat deposits and cellulite in your thighs
  • You are seeking to improve the shape and contours of your thighs
  • You are looking for long lasting results 

What to expect

CONSULTATION 

The first step for all of our Thigh Lift patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.

Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.
Some questions you may want to ask your surgeon include:

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • Can I achieve the results I am asking for?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What scars will I be left with?
  • Will I be in pain after the surgery?
  • How soon after Thigh Lift can I return to work?

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

PRE-PROCEDURE

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications (see FAQs)
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission

DAY OF THE PROCEDURE

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

Before surgery, the surgeon will measure up the thighs to assess how much fat and/or skin needs to be removed. The thighs are then photographed, with the skin markings, in various positions, front and back. The procedure is carried out under our form of general anaesthesia called T.I.V.A. (Total Intravenous Anaesthesia) and takes two hours.

The thighs are bandaged after surgery to reduce bruising and you will feel stiff and mildly uncomfortable as you bend your legs. Most of the sutures used are dissolving to avoid stitch marks, but there may be a few to remove a week or so after surgery. Bruising lasts about 3 weeks.

POST PROCEDURE & RECOVERY

You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.

We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You’ll be given painkillers if you need them.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.

We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

 

What can I expect from my surgery?

Why come to the Cadogan Clinic for a Thigh Lift 

  • Hand – picked team of thigh lift surgeons, trained under pioneer of procedure in the UK
  • Leading liposuction unit in the country, founded by first surgeon to perform liposuction in the UK 
  • Day case surgery, go home the same day 
  • Low infection risk, standalone specialist cosmetic unit 
  • Dedicated 24 / 7 nursing aftercare team to assist recovery  

What are the side effects and risks

Thigh Lift surgery is a safe procedure, but it is common to experience:

  • bruising and swelling
  • temporary numbness
  • a small amount of scarring 

As with all surgical procedures, thigh lift surgery carries some risk and it is possible that you might experience:

  • Nausea 
  • Bleeding or Infection 
  • Poor healing of incisions and scarring
  • Seroma 
  • a collection of blood underneath the skin (haematoma)
  • death of fat tissue (fat necrosis) or embolism

Your surgeon will discuss these risks comprehensively at your consultation and explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Thigh Lift is a surgical procedure designed to remove a surplus of loose leg skin and eliminate fat deposits in the thigh region, and restore a proportionate contour and firmer thigh.

The choice of procedure depends on the exact condition (excess loose skin or excess skin and excess fat deposits) but will involve skin excision, or a combination of skin excision and liposuction.

The procedure is carried out as a day case procedure under General Anaesthesia, and takes 2 hours.

There is typically bruising for up to 3 weeks with end results at about 3 months. Scars are insignificant and managed by our Scar Management programme.

You may be suitable for a Thigh Lift if you have:

+ Loose sagging skin in/around your upper legs
+ Inelastic, lax thigh skin
+ Excess fat deposits in your thighs
+ Unshapely, untoned leg contours
+ Disproportionate thighs relative to rest of figure

One of our highly trained, elite plastic surgeons will perform your Thigh Lift.

All our thigh lift and liposuction specialists have been hand picked by Mr Bryan Mayou, our founder, and the pioneer of liposuction in the UK.

Your consultation is designed to be perfect opportunity to ask all the pressing questions that you have to your consultant, ahead of making a decision on surgery. It is vital that you are fully informed before making your final decision, and the consultation is therefore a key part of the education and decision making process.

Some good examples of questions to ask, include:

+ Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
+ Do you think my goals are realistic given my existing anatomy?
+ Will I require a single surgery or multiple surgeries?
+ Can I see some before & after pictures of Thigh Lift procedures you have done previously?
+ How long will my recovery take?
+ Is it true that Cadogan offers 24/7 on call nursing service?
+ What can I expect in terms of bruising, swelling and scarring?
+ What are my options if I am unhappy with my results?

No special preparation is required although it is generally advisable to do the following before any surgery

+ Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
+ Avoid certain medications. You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
+ Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after you leave the hospital and stay with you for at least the first night of your recovery at home.

Thigh Lift surgery should take two hours.

You should start to see results in the days following surgery. These will fully start to appear from around the six week mark and improvements will be ongoing for the first 12 or so months.

Your results will be long lasting and permanent so long as you maintain your body weight following surgery.

The ageing process will however continue from your new post procedure point, and skin laxity will gradually increase over time. The ageing process will start from a far better point however, so it should be many years before this becomes noticeable again.

You will not feel any pain during the procedure as you will be under the influence of anaesethetic.

Immediately following surgery, you may experience discomfort but any pain should be tolerable. Your surgeon can provide painkillers for this and the majority of patients no longer need them a few days after thigh surgery.

Thigh Lift surgery is straightforward, safe surgery although you should be aware of all the risks and complications before going ahead with surgery. Some are listed on this page, but your surgeon at your will go through these at length and in full at your consultation

Recovery time for this procedure will depend on the individual patient but is fairly minimal.

We usually advise that you take around two weeks off work following surgery as there will be bruising and swelling which may take around 10 days to subside. We also recommend you do not resume exercise for 4 – 6 weeks.

In the following few weeks, as you heal, smoother skin on the thigh and scars will start to heal.

Our expertise in scarring techniques along with our highly-experienced surgeons ensure a great result, and whilst a thigh lift surgery is not an especially painful procedure, you may experience discomfort due to the tight sensation of the skin. Effective pain relief can be provided by your aftercare team should you required it.

If you have undergone Liposuction, you will feel a little bruised and stiff for a few days but there is no restriction on movement. Any dressings can be removed in a couple of days or when they come loose, and stitches removed in a week.

Yоu may соntіnuе tо experience ѕоmе mіld, реrіоdіс dіѕсоmfоrt and ѕwеllіng durіng thіѕ tіmе, but ѕuсh fееlіngѕ аrе nоrmаl. Sеvеrе pain, bleeding or swelling should bе reported tо your surgeon.

You will receive more detailed advice from your surgeon ahead of surgery

Aside from liposuction, it's also possible to combine a thigh lift surgery with a buttock lift or even a knee lift. On the front of the knee, there are generally two bulges, just below the kneecap on the front on either side on which the fat can be removed if that is something you're concerned about for your over-all look. Thigh lift surgery is performed as a day case, meaning you will be able to return home after the surgery. You can expect to have reasonable mobility back after a few days, and a return to your full daily activities after 6-8 weeks.

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