Outer Thigh Lift

Outer Thigh Lift Related Terms:
Plastic Surgery, Skin Procedures, Body Procedures, Cosmetic Surgery, Inner Thigh Lift, Lateral Thigh Lift, Posterior Thigh Lift, Surgeon, Thigh Lift Procedure, Thighplasty

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Outer Thigh Lift

An Outer Thigh Lift (Lateral Thigh Lift) is also known as a “Thighplasty”. The Outer Thigh Lift is a surgical procedure that lifts sagging outer thighs. The effects of time and gravity can cause the skin of the outer thigh to lose tone. This loss of tone can cause the skin to sag or lose the smooth appearance. This condition can be exaggerated by weight loss.  The Outer Thigh Lift may be done in conjunction with Liposuction of the outer thighs and is often done as part of a Body Lift. Sagging outer thighs together with fat accumulation are referred to as “saddle bags” and are of concern because of the cosmetic deformity. It is difficult to conceal this problem because of visibility in clothing.  An Outer Thigh Lift helps correct this deformity because the outer thighs become suspended upwards towards the waist as a result of a large wedge of tissue that is removed from this area. Although an Outer Thigh Lift may be done as an isolated procedure, abdominal overhang and sagging buttocks are often associated problems and it is for this reason that all three areas are corrected by a Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy).

If you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, it must be controlled before you can undergo the Outer Thigh Lift procedure. For at least two weeks prior to surgery, you must stop taking any blood-thinning medications and herbal supplements. Smokers are advised to discontinue smoking 3 weeks prior to surgery, as smoking increases the risks of complications and delays wound healing by altering blood circulation in the skin.

An Outer Thigh Lift usually takes 2 to 3 hours for each area, depending on the extent of work required and is done under general anesthesia.  Usually the Outer Thigh Lift procedure begins with liposuctioning, to be followed by removal of excess skin. The sutures used to close the skin are of the dissolving kind, and do not need to be removed.  The Outer Thigh Lift incisions are placed over each hip bone. Because the Outer Thigh Lift is a very individualized procedure, the incision length and pattern varies from person to person. If liposuction of the thighs is to be performed with the Outer Thigh Lift, it is usually done before making the incisions.

After the incisions are made, the skin and fat is separated from the underlying structures in the thigh. Excess skin and fat are then removed. Occasionally, before stitching the incision, a temporary tube is inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. After the incisions are closed, gauze and an elastic compression bandage are applied to minimize bruising and swelling.  While the incisions may be extensive, advanced techniques allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits. Sterile dressings are placed on the incisions followed by an elastic garment that goes from the waist to just above the knees.

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You may be released the same day of surgery or spend a night in the hospital, depending on the extent of surgery and how you are recovering. Out of town patients should stay locally for 7-10 days.  There will be some bruising and swelling, and a tight feeling in your thighs. Any pain and discomfort will be helped by medications prescribed by your surgeon. In addition to dressings, a compression garment and drainage tubes may be used for about 2 weeks to reduce the swelling and maintain the shape of your newly contoured skin. You can probably return to work within 2 weeks, but you should not drive for 2 weeks and avoid exercise for 4-6 weeks. Your surgeon will direct you to do some walking around to help reduce the swelling and to avoid blood clots in your legs. The swelling and bruising should disappear within 3 weeks, although you may have some swelling for 6 months or more. The scars will tend to become increasingly red after 2 weeks and begin to fade after 2 to 3 months. The scars will never completely disappear and will take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to reach their final appearance. It is important to minimize sun exposure to the scars, especially while they are still red. If sun exposure is to occur during this time, a sun block with a rating of 15 or greater should be applied to the incisions. 

As with any surgery there are complications that can occur and some that are more specific to the Outer Thigh Lift.  Bleeding can occur after this procedure but this is unusual. Infection can occur and this may be associated with a small area of skin separation. This problem responds very favorably to a period of dressing changes and oral antibiotics with an end result very similar to the other areas of wound healing. Other procedure risks can include adverse reaction to anesthesia, scarring, nerve damage, fluid collection, wrinkling, asymmetry or uneven areas of skin.

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