Chicago Thigh Lift Surgeons – Northwestern Plastic Surgery

What is a thigh lift?

Thigh Lift Before & After Photo Gallery

A thigh lift reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin and fat, resulting in smoother skin and a better shape. The inner thigh skin and fat is difficult to improve with just diet and exercise. A thigh lift uses surgery to improve this difficult area.

Is it right for me?

Candidates for thigh lift are:

  • People whose weight is relatively stable
  • Individuals with excess soft tissue along the inner thigh region
  • Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that may make healing more difficult or increase the risk of surgery
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what thigh lift surgery can accomplish
  • Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness

What about liposuction?:

Liposuction can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. Most women want fewer scars and just liposuction to improve their thigh shape. The outer thigh fat is best treated with liposuction. However, in areas such as the inner thigh where skin elasticity is not as good, a combination of liposuction and thigh lift techniques may be recommended by your surgeon.

What to expect during your consultation

The success and safety of your thigh lift procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle. You will be asked if you wish to trade a better shape for a well concealed scar either high in the groin, or running down the inside of your upper thigh.

Be prepared to discuss:

Why you want plastic surgery, your expectations and desired outcome

  • The options available in thigh lift surgery
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Previous surgeries
  • Your willingness to trade a scar for an improved shape of the thigh

Your surgeon may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Examine and measure your body, including detailed measurements
  • Take photographs for your medical record
  • Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of thigh lift surgery and any risks or potential complications

Preparing for surgery

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements for a full week as they can increase bleeding

Special instructions you receive will cover:

  • What to do on the day of surgery
  • The use of anesthesia during your thigh lift
  • Post-operative care and follow-up

Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Thigh lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient of ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.

You’ll need help

If your thigh lift procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

Procedural Steps

What happens during thigh lift surgery?

Step 1Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2The incision

Incision patterns vary based on the area or areas to be treated, degree of correction and patient and surgeon preference.

One common technique used for a thigh lift places incisions in the groin, extending downward wrapping around the back of the thigh and into the buttock crease. You may qualify for a minimal incision medial thigh lift which involves an incision only in the groin area. People who have had significant weight loss will need a scar to extend from the groin all the way down the inside of the thigh towards the knee. The outer thigh is typically just improved with liposuction. In a few people, a body lift will help to tighten the outer thigh skin.

Through these incisions your plastic surgeon will tighten tissues for a smoother, better-toned lower body contour. Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits. However, incisions may be extensive.

Step 3Closing the incisions

Deep support sutures within underlying tissues help to form the newly shaped contours. Sutures close the skin incisions.

Step 4 – See the results

The smoother tighter contouring that result from a thigh lift are apparent almost immediately, although initially obscured by some swelling and bruising. You may be required to wear a compression garment for several weeks following your procedure to minimize swelling and support the tissues as they heal. Following a thigh lift, skin quality is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.

Important facts about the safety and risks of thigh lift surgery.

The decision to have thigh lift surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.

Possible risks of thigh lift surgery include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Poor wound healing
  • Skin loss
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Skin discoloration and/or swelling
  • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Major wound separation
  • Asymmetry
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Unsatisfactory results such as highly visible surgical scar location, unacceptable visible deformities, bunching and rippling in the skin near the suture lines or at the ends of the incisions
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

When you go home

If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Be careful

Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your thigh lift procedure. The ability to walk after the surgery, the recovery, and the location of the scars are all important issues to clearly understand before the procedure.

Thigh Lift Recovery

When your procedure is completed, dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your new contours as you heal.

One or more small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood that may collect.

You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for the surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
  • When will they be removed?
  • Are stitches removed? When?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

The results will be long-lasting

The results of a thigh lift are visible almost immediately. However, it may take several months for the final results to fully develop.

Some visible scars will remain, but the overall results are long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness.

As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your initial improvement should be relatively permanent.

Words to know

  • General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
  • Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
  • Liposuction: Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, this procedure vacuums out fat from beneath the skin’s surface to reduce fullness.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
  • Medial thigh lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the inner thigh.
  • Outer thigh lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the outer and mid-thigh.
  • Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together.

More about Northwestern Plastic Surgery

Northwestern Plastic Surgery is a premier cosmetic surgery Chicago practice where Drs. Dumanian, Galiano, Alghoul and Kim offer a wide range of advanced procedures. To learn more about any of these procedures, or to schedule a consultation, contact the practice today at 312-695-6022.