Ageing can cause the skin on the inside of the thighs to slacken, making them look wrinkled and flabby. In addition, extreme weight loss can lead to excess skin. This sometimes hinders people in their movements: the inside of the upper legs rubs together when walking. Sometimes, the fat deposits on the outside of your thighs do not match the rest of your silhouette: the so-called "saddlebags". A thigh lift reduces excess skin and fat and gives the thighs a more toned appearance with less visible cellulite.
Facts about thigh lift surgery
A thigh lift is a major operation where excess skin and fat are removed, and your thighs are lifted. It restores a proper balance between your thighs, abdomen, buttocks, and legs. It repositions the crease between the buttocks and thighs to its former location, the thighs are smooth and toned, and the muscular structures are visible again under the skin.
Although small amounts of fat are removed with the excess skin, a thigh lift is not designed to remove more significant amounts of fat. If there are any local accumulations of fat and the skin has decreased elasticity, liposuction in combination with a thigh lift is recommended.
A thigh lift yields a large, visible scar, which runs from the groin to the middle of the inside of the thigh, and sometimes continues until the knee. Patients who maintain a normal and stable weight and understand that they cannot expect perfection, but an improvement, are good candidates for a thigh lift.
It all starts with a consultation
No two bodies are the same. The cosmetic needs and expectations of patients are unique. To ensure that you are happy with the result of your treatment, Dr Pirayesh develops a customised surgical plan for each patient. During the consultation, he will take the time to get to know you, discuss your requirements and help you make an informed decision.
He will ask about your general health and medical history, examine you and discuss any weight you may have lost and the sports you practice. He will ask you to point out how you want to improve your thighs, after which he will indicate whether your wishes are realistic. He will also inform you about other treatments that will improve the results of your arm lift surgery.
Thigh lift overview and timeline
Duration of the operation: 2 to 5 hours
Anaesthesia: light general anaesthetic administered by a specialised anaesthetist
Length of stay: outpatient, you can return home about 4 hours after surgery. You need to be picked up by someone because you cannot drive yourself for some time.
Post-operation: swelling and tenderness. A small drain is inserted under the skin to drain excess blood or fluid. We will provide you with a compression garment to wear day and night for four weeks after surgery to prevent swelling (you may remove it to shower). You will receive pain medication and instructions on wound care.
Complications: very rare: fluid retention, infections, a widened, livid scar
Recovery time: Generally, a thigh lift is not painful; the first three days are the toughest but can be managed with the proper use of painkillers. After two weeks, you can drive, vacuum/Hoover, and do household chores. You can resume your normal activities and sporting activities in six weeks.
After several months, your scars will have faded.
Result: in case of excess skin after significant weight loss, a thigh lift will give your upper legs a pleasing contour. The long and visible scar on the inside of the upper legs, running from the groin until almost the knee, must not be underestimated.
Scarring: the drain is painlessly removed within 2 to 4 days after surgery. The sutures will dissolve after some time. Dr Pirayesh has developed a program, APS Scar Care, including aloe vera-based creams, laser treatments, and (if necessary) injections to ensure that your scars heal in the best possible way.
Thigh lift surgery in six steps
On the day of your surgery, Dr Pirayesh will mark your upper legs to determine how much excess skin needs to be removed and where the fold between the groin and upper legs needs to be positioned. In addition, photos will be taken for your medical record.
Step 1. Anaesthesia
A specialist anaesthesiologist will inject a light general anaesthetic into a vein through a cannula (a thin, plastic tube) in your arm or hand. The anaesthesiologist and his team will monitor you closely throughout the operation, ensuring you are comfortable and safe. The anaesthesiologist will discuss the anaesthesia with you before your surgery and answer any questions.
Step 2. Different techniques
Dr Pirayesh will discuss the best combination of treatments with you before the procedure.
Step 3. The incisions
After the general anaesthesia is administered, Dr Pirayesh makes the incisions in the crease of the groin towards the upper legs and loosens the skin from the underlying fat- and muscle layers. The excess skin is either cut away or, in the case of liposuction, removed with a cannula.
Step 4. Suturing and bandaging
Now the small blood vessels are thermally sealed, after which the different skin layers are closed with small sutures.
Surgical tape is used to protect the wound.
You leave the operating room wrapped in a compression garment.
Step 5. Recovery and aftercare
You will remain in our surgery clinic for the next few hours, in the care of Dr Pirayesh and his team, until he feels it is safe for you to return home. You will need to be picked up or take a taxi home. We will provide you with compression pants that you will have to wear day and night for 3 to 7 days to prevent swelling and pressure on the surgical wounds. You will receive pain medication and instructions on wound care.
As soon as you wake up after surgery, you must stand up and walk a small distance.
During the first 48 hours, you may experience swelling and discolouration, usually lasting seven to ten days.
You may have a short shower or bath the day after surgery, but the water cannot be too hot to prevent swelling.
In 2 to 4 days after surgery, the drain is painlessly removed.
You should rest for a few days, not exert yourself, refrain from bending or lifting, and keep your legs up as much as possible.
The tape and sutures are removed after one week, and you can resume your normal activities as long as you take it easy.
You must wear compression pants or support tights day and night for six weeks.
The recovery period usually takes about four to six weeks, during which you must avoid the solarium or sauna. You must not drink alcohol or take blood thinners like aspirin (paracetamol is allowed).
The scars will fade after two months but will remain visible.
Step 6. Wound healing and scarring
Dr Pirayesh is very savvy when it comes to promoting rapid healing. He has developed a customised regimen, APS Scar Care, including creams based on aloe vera, laser treatments, and (if necessary) injections to ensure that your scars heal in the best possible way.
This regimen has ensured that many of Dr Pirayesh’s patients have hardly noticeable scars. However, it is impossible to pre-determine if patients will have problems with their scars healing.