An inner-thigh lift is the removal of excess skin and fat from the inner or medial thighs. The procedure is typically performed on somebody who has lost a significant amount of weight to the point where their inner thighs sag and need a lift. If somebody has excess fat only they are probably not a good candidate for an inner thigh lift. They would be a better candidate for inner-thigh liposuction. An inner-thigh lift either removes the extra skin and lifts the inner thighs or removes the excess skin and fat and lifts up the inner thighs.
The inner thighs rub against each other while the outer thigh can be lifted on the outside of the thigh, or the lateral thigh can be lifted with a lower body lift (lifts up the whole lower body together). It will pull or lift the outer thighs along with the tummy and the butt. However, that type of procedure does not address the inner thighs. The inner thighs have to be lifted separately by a separate inner thigh operation.
Thigh lift is a broad term that needs to be specified as the outer or inner thigh. One procedure lifts the inner thigh and the other lifts the outer thigh. They can both be done simultaneously or in two separate operations.
An inner thigh lift operation can be classified as one or two operations.
The first operation is when somebody has a little bit of loose skin at the back of their inner thigh. A segment of skin right in the middle of the thigh can be removed. It is a crescent amount of skin about 3 to 6 inches in the medial, or the innermost part of the thigh that tapers the middle of the leg forward and middle of the leg backward. That piece of skin is taken out and the fat behind it is lifted up the rest of the thigh. It is considered the less invasive of the two operations.
The other inner thigh operation is when somebody has loose skin from their inner thigh down to their knees. The doctor has to take some thick skin that tapers down the medial in the innermost part of the thigh down to the knee. It leaves a person with a T-shaped scar as opposed to the horizontal scar with the first procedure described.
A horizontal-scar thigh lift is more appropriate if the patient has a little loose skin that rubs against the inner thighs. A T-scar thigh lift is more appropriate if the patient has lost over 100 pounds and has very loose skin throughout the whole inner thigh that extends down to the knee. That condition requires more skin to be removed from the innermost part of the thigh. It will taper all the way down the knee. The T-scar thigh lift is more aggressive and leaves a bigger scar.
Within reason, there is not a limit to the amount of skin that can be taken at one time. The thigh is a tolerant region so significant amounts of skin can be taken as long as it is put under some tension.
Like all body-contouring operations, an inner thigh lift is done on somebody who has lost a lot of weight. When somebody loses a significant amount of weight there is a reason why they have. Either they had a gastric bypass or some type of weight-loss operation. Some of these patients usually have malnutrition or they do not get adequate nutrition. One of the most common complications with inner-thigh lift is an open wound where the skin is not healing well because of the area that this operation is being done on.
Another potential complication is seromas or fluid collections. If the skin is cut, the lymphatic system might be cut. That can create fluid collection under the skin and the doctor might need to stick a needle once or twice to aspirate the fluid.
Patients normally have a week of no work and about a month of no exercise. They have to wait six weeks before doing any heavy lifting. If somebody’s work involves exercise or if they are a construction worker, that week off may end up becoming a month off work. The time off work and out of the gym is so the sutures can heal correctly. The patient will be swollen, bruised, and in pain so they will need some pain medications.
An inner thigh lift is a pretty permanent operation. Once the skin is removed, it is not coming back. It is a big operation that takes a while to heal. If the patient comes through it without any complications when it heals, it is a permanent result. The extra skin and extra fat will not come back. The thigh ends up having a very nice contour.
Inner-thigh patients are very happy with the results in the sense that their thighs are no longer rubbing against each other. They do not have any problems with poor hygiene when they go to the bathroom and it is no longer difficult for them to put their pants on. The operation gives them a nice contour improvement and allows them a better lifestyle and the ability to wear clothes that fit them better.
Some patients regain their weight. However, by removing extra skin they had before, any weight they gain is going to be gained as fat. They are not going to gain the skin back.
Revisions come in one of two circumstances. The first one is when a thigh lift is done on someone where the extra skin is removed. The surgeon does a limited liposuction but the patient might want to come back and have more fat removed. After the skin has been removed, a person can have more liposuction. This is a rarely done revision.
The second type of revision is when the actual scar itself is revised because that scar is under tension. Sometimes there can be a widened scar or a scar that is not very nice. Because it is under a lot of tension, the surgeon can go back a year later and cut that scar up to give a nicer scar to part (or all) of the incision. This is also a rare revision.
An inner thigh lift is an operation that is best done by a board certified plastic surgeon with a lot of experience in body contouring. Typically, patients who want an inner-thigh lift also want a tummy tuck. When somebody has a lot of loose skin on their tummy, they get a tummy tuck done. A year or so later when they are able to see their inner thighs they come back for an inner-thigh lift.
The patient should seek out a plastic surgeon that is experienced in plastic surgery after weight loss and understands the nutritional needs, avoiding infections, and the ability to combine this operation with other operations, like a lower-body lift, a tummy tuck, or liposuction. It is very rare that people only want an inner-thigh lift. It is part of a body contouring operation because nobody just loses weight from their inner thighs. They typically lose it from their whole body.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA
Based on an exclusive interview with George Bitar, MD in Fairfax, WA