Thigh Lift

A THIGH LIFT is an operation performed to improve the shape and contour of your thighs - particularly the inner thigh. The operation can remove excess skin, unwanted scars, stretch marks and fat. There are a variety of different procedures and depending on your particular problem(s), the operation will be individualised and tailored to suit you. Thigh lift is usually performed under general anaesthesia and usually requires an overnight hospitalization. A wedge or ellipse of skin and fat is excised from the upper inner thigh leaving a scar that can run in the groin crease and sometimes down towards the knee. The scar is usually T shaped. This operation is particularly useful when the upper inner thigh is hanging - e.g. in massive weight loss patients. In addition liposuction can be performed, which helps to remove additional fat.

What can be expected at the initial consultation?

At the initial consultation you will be assessed as to whether you are a good candidate for a thigh lift. Your legs will be carefully examined to assess the amount of excess skin and fat. Your general fitness for the procedure will be evaluated and the potential for problems sought. It is important to know about past medical problems, medication that you are on, and whether or not you smoke. Your reasons for wanting the procedure will also be discussed. It is important that your expectations concerning the outcome of the procedure are realistic. If they are, you can expect to be happier with the result. Once you have been fully assessed, an operative plan tailored to your individual needs will be formulated. The incision to be used, the amount of skin and fat to be excised, and whether liposuction will be used as an adjunct will be discussed with you. Do not be hesitant to ask questions, now or at any other time.

Preparing for surgery

Ideally surgery is performed when you are fit and healthy. No special diet or exercise program is required prior to surgery, but you should be close to your ideal weight. It is a good idea to have a good fluid intake for a few days before your operation. You should not have been on a long-haul flight for 2 weeks prior to surgery. It is advisable to stop smoking at least six weeks prior to surgery and not to smoke until all your wounds have healed. It is well known that there is a higher frequency of complications in patients who smoke. On the morning of surgery you should shower or wash well. Prior to surgery, the incision lines will be marked with a pen in your room. Ms Grob usually takes photographs for your records immediately before surgery.

The Surgery

Surgery will be performed in an operating theatre under general anaesthesia. A thigh lift takes between two and three hours. Following surgery the wounds are closed with dissolving sutures, and drains may well be left in place for a day. Dressings will be applied.

What can be expected after the operation?

Following the operation you should be relatively pain free although you may feel some discomfort with movement. You will be given analgesic tablets to take regularly. Daily showers are encouraged. Someone will need to drive you home and help around the house for a few days. You will be given painkillers to take home with you. The drains if needed are removed before you go home. Purchasing some cycling shorts to be used as support for six weeks is helpful - wash them a few times before the surgery so that they are comfortable when worn.

How long does it take to get back to normal?

Healing is a variable process and it may take you two weeks to feel like your old self again. People vary enormously in their recovery period. The scars are healed by six to eight weeks, but continue to mature for up to a year, by which stage they should be thin, fine, inconspicuous lines. Massage of the scars with an aqueous cream helps, but should only be started after 1 month. Bruising take about 2 weeks to settle. Swelling can take up to 12 weeks to settle. To help diminish swelling and bruising tubigrip support should be worn for 24 hours a day and arnica, a homeopathic preparation, can be started from about day 2 post-op. Mobilisation should be gentle, but begun early. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for six weeks, until you feel comfortable - your body will tell you if you are pushing it too hard. Do not drive until you really feel well - usually 2 weeks. Shower daily to stay clean. Depending on the procedure you have, you may be able to begin work after about one week (liposuction), and 2-3 weeks for a full thigh lift. It is advised that you are able to fly short haul 2 weeks after the operation and that you can fly long haul 4-6 weeks post-operatively.

What are the risks?

When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, thigh lift is normally safe and the results predictable. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including the following:

  • Bleeding (early or late) which can lead to blood collections (haematoma). These may require drainage with a syringe or, rarely, repeat open operation.
  • Seroma refers to the accumulation of serous fluid (a pale straw coloured fluid) that leaks out from damaged capillaries and lymph vessels. Sometimes a seroma requires repeated drainage with a needle and syringe. This is usually relatively painless and is done in the outpatient rooms.
  • Wound healing problems and infection at the operative site.
  • Sensory alterations in the area - numbness occurs in nearly all patients but is usually transient. Can take up to two years to resolve.
  • Loss of tissue - usually small and treated with dressings.
  • Unsatisfactory scarring - scars can stretch or become raised and red.
  • Asymmetries or irregularities in contour, the commonest being dog-ears at the ends of the scars. These may require simple revision under local anaesthesia.
  • General surgical complications such as deep vein thrombosis. This is a rare but serious complication of surgery and anaesthesia, where a blot clot forms in the veins, usually the legs and may migrate to the lungs interfering with their normal function resulting in possible life threatening consequences.
  • Problems with anaesthesia, drugs, etc. These should be rare and the risks will be explained to you by your anaesthetist.


Will the new look last?


Thigh lift produces excellent results for patients with hanging upper thigh skin and fatty excess. In most cases the results are long lasting, especially if after the operation you avoid weight gain, follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Checklist

  • Make sure I know all the medications you are taking before surgery.
  • Do not take any Aspirin or blood thinning drugs (which include some homeopathic supplements) for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. Paracetamol is safe.
  • Oral contraceptives can increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism. The contraceptive "pill" should ideally be stopped a month prior to surgery but please use some alternative form of contraception.
  • It is advisable not to smoke six weeks prior to surgery and until complete healing has taken place. Nicotine reduces oxygen levels required for wound healing.
  • Please have a shower in the morning of surgery and do not apply deodorant or any other products (e.g. body lotion, perfume etc.)
  • Please do not have anything to eat (including chewing gum) 6 hours prior to surgery. You are able to drink still clear water up to 2 hours prior to your admission.


If you are worried post-operatively

  • Telephone the ward of the hospital from which you have been discharged.
  • Telephone Ms Marion Grob under +44 7881808974.
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