For most people, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and eating properly are the basic components of looking and feeling great. Some people, however, despite a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, still find that they are unable to achieve the aesthetic results they desire. Sometimes, dieting or the natural aging process results in sagging skin, leaving both men and women dissatisfied with their overall appearance. If loose, excess skin on the thighs is an issue, at Restore SD Plastic Surgery in San Diego, California, we can perform a thigh lift, leaving you with shapelier, smoother legs.
What Is a Thigh Lift?
Sometimes referred to as a thighplasty, a thigh lift is a contouring procedure for the upper and inner thighs. Usually performed on patients who have lost a good amount of weight or have experienced sagging skin due to aging, a thighplasty involves removing excess skin from the thigh area and then sculpting that area.
If the patient has a bit of extra fat in the area, liposuction may be performed first in order to maximize the final result. Although it is not a weight-loss procedure in and of itself, a thigh lift usually produces dramatic results and may be combined with other cosmetic surgeries as well.
Best Fit for the Procedure
Generally, the best candidates for this procedure are patients who have loose skin on their thighs but want to improve the look of their legs. These individuals should also be committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and exercise. It is important that the patient be satisfied with their present weight and have achieved a stable weight for approximately four to six months prior to surgery.
In an effort to maintain an optimal HbA1C, we will work with you and your medical doctors to achieve the best possible outcome. Since diabetes can increase the healing time and raise the potential for infection, it is important that your diabetes be under control at all times. As long as all members of the medical team have determined that it’s safe to move forward, surgery can still be performed.
Since smoking is clearly not part of a healthy lifestyle, smokers need to rid themselves of this habit for at least eight weeks prior to surgery and four weeks following the procedure. Both tobacco and nicotine can have detrimental effects on healing.
In addition, tissue loss and infection rates can increase, and the wounds themselves may take longer to heal. In order to ensure compliance and the best possible outcome for this procedure, we offer a quick and safe urinary nicotine test in our office that will allow our surgeons to provide our patients with optimal results.
Patients With Venous Insufficiency
For those patients with a history of blood clots in their legs or venous insufficiency, we do not recommend surgery. Veins in our legs carry blood back to the heart. One-way valves prevent blood from flowing backward, but if the valves do not function properly, blood can flow back to the legs, collecting in the veins. Because this can be a risky issue, patients with this condition should not have a thigh lift.
Thigh Lift Procedure
Because every patient is different, we take care to ensure that your procedure targets the areas and issues with which you are concerned. Therefore, we will begin by meeting you for a consultation. We will perform a thorough medical exam and discuss your medical history. If you are taking any medications, we will review those as well, especially blood thinner medications, which can cause problems with this procedure.
After that, photos will be taken using our Vectra 3D imaging system. These photos will enable us to discuss potential treatment areas and plan for the best outcome. Using the latest technology with our Canfield software, patients can view possible results and discuss adjustments, all of which contribute to the patient contributing to and achieving the desired final effect.
Day of Surgery
Typically, the duration of a thigh lift procedure is about 90 minutes to two hours long. It is performed under general anesthesia as outpatient surgery at either a surgery center or a hospital. During this procedure, we will make some incisions on the upper and inner parts of your thighs.
These incisions will allow us to remove extra skin from these areas and then sculpt the areas to improve the overall shape, smoothness, and look of your legs. Once the anesthesia has worn off, you will be allowed to return home when driven by a responsible adult.
After surgery, you will have compression dressings and a drain in each surgical area. Because you may experience normal bruising, swelling, or numbness, pain medication will be prescribed. Within 48 to 72 hours following surgery, you will be permitted to resume normal daily activities, such as showering, eating, and other light activities.
Driving during early recovery is not recommended, but most patients are able to return to work in about two to three weeks. Most patients find that any normal swelling has disappeared after the first four weeks following surgery, with elevated legs being helpful to this process. We recommend that no intense physical activities be performed until you have been cleared by our medical staff, with the usual time frame being about four to six weeks.
During this time period, patients will also return to our offices for a follow-up exam. In this way, our doctors can safely guide your recovery, advising patients individually on the best route to recovery. Prior to clearance, patients should refrain from flying, driving long distances, and leaving the immediate area. Adhering to these recommendations will improve the recovery period.
As the procedure for a thighplasty has improved dramatically over the past decade, so too have patients experienced increasingly striking results. Loose, sagging skin has been removed, and the thigh area is slimmer, shapelier, and smoother. Although some marks from the incisions can be seen, these will vary by patient. If the patient has sagging down to the knee area and has undergone an inner thigh or medial thigh lift, some scars may be visible down to the knee area and may be seen when wearing shorts, a swimsuit, or an above-the-knee skirt.
On the other hand, patients who opt for a mini thigh lift due to sagging skin on the upper legs may have incisions near the crease in the groin. Both patients, though, may benefit from scar-healing products, which are applied topically to the area, although some scars may fade over time as well. Finally, many patients may encounter some skin shrinkage after surgery, which is why it is recommended that patients maintain a healthy weight. With these guidelines in mind, patients are better equipped to prepare themselves for this procedure and realize the superior results that they are seeking.
Preparing for the Procedure
Preparing for this procedure, or any other medical procedure for that matter, should begin with education. Potential patients should arm themselves with knowledge about the procedure itself, the medical staff with whom they will be working, and the ramifications of the surgery on their calendar and lifestyle.
Knowledge Is Key
If at all possible, potential patients should begin by gathering as much knowledge as possible about thighplasty. Of course, if you know someone who has already undergone this procedure, or even an arm lift procedure, you will find this person to be an invaluable resource. Previous patients will be able to give you firsthand knowledge of their experiences before and after surgery, and they will also be able to provide you with helpful tips and advice during recovery.
Of course, no fact-finding expedition of a medical procedure would be complete without investigating the procedure itself. Nowadays, patients have a wealth of information available to them. Online videos and internet sites such as WebMD or RealSelf all contain helpful information to guide your decision-making process. Visiting our procedures page can also help you glean worthwhile information in an easy-to-read format.
Choosing a Physician
In addition to educating yourself about the actual procedure, educating yourself about the doctors who will perform the surgery is equally important. Since you obviously want to achieve maximum results in a safe setting, you will want to ensure that your surgeons are of the highest quality, have a wealth of experience, and meet rigorous standards.
Remember that this is an actual surgical procedure, and as such, should require a competent physician. Surgeons should also be well trained in the thighplasty in particular as well as other contouring procedures. Most important, surgeons should be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and it is preferable that they also be members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
In the case of Restore SD Plastic Surgery, our board-certified surgeons have over a decade of experience in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery and will work with you on a personal level to help you achieve your goals.
Timing Is Everything
Once you have educated yourself on the procedure and your medical staff, it is imperative that you plan your surgery in coordination with your schedule and any upcoming events in your life. Because you will not wish to tempt yourself to resume activities too early in your recovery stage, possible resulting in complications, you should make sure that the date you select for surgery and the weeks thereafter will allow you to adhere to all protocols recommended by your doctor. Only with this time element in mind can you achieve the best possible results.
The Path to Confidence
Despite the fact that many of us are able to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise, it is also true that weight loss and the natural process of aging can both leave us with some unintended results as well. When loose, excess skin in the thigh area is visible, many of us are not satisfied with our appearance and lack the confidence to wear shorts, bathing suits, or even short skirts.
Having a thighplasty can greatly improve your quality of life as surgeons remove that extra skin, reshaping and contouring your thighs. Any rash or irritation due to sagging skin may be eliminated here as well. Since there is no non-surgical treatment available to deal with this thigh condition, a thighplasty is your best option to combat the problem. In addition, it is also possible to combine liposuction, breast surgery, and facial rejuvenation with this procedure, thereby streamlining the process to your desired outcome.
Get Started Today
If you are interested in a more youthful appearance, contact us at Restore SD Plastic Surgery in San Diego, California for an initial consultation. You will be rewarded with personalized service that will smooth and contour your thighs, reshaping your legs and even your lifestyle.