The vast majority of thigh lift procedures are performed on massive weight loss patients who for the most part are willing to accept the appearance of scar in exchange for some remarkable benefits. After all, the scars, while they are a permanent tradeoff, are generally placed in discreet areas such as the groin and thus easily covered by most underwear.
Moreover, patients with large redundant skin often suffer from skin lesions and tissue breakdown. Consequently, thigh lift not just gives aesthetic benefits, but also improves body functions, says leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
Basically, thigh lift procedures either improve the inner/medial thigh or lateral thigh. Depending on the location of excess skin, the incision pattern may appear like an oval or a wedge. Nonetheless, all efforts are made to ensure that the scar settles within the most inconspicuous areas possible (i.e., groin and bikini line).
The inner thigh lift uses an incision pattern that removes the loose skin along the medial aspect of the thigh. The resulting scar, meanwhile, may lie within the groin and so it is hidden beneath the underwear, or may extend down towards the top of the knee should there is a significant amount of excess skin.
On the other hand, lateral thigh lift tightens the front and outer-lateral region of the leg, typically with an incision that extends between the hips and lower portion of the groin; hence, on frontal view the resulting scar resembles a V shape.
After the redundant skin is removed, the remaining skin is pulled up to tighten the contour of the leg and the incisions are then closed with multiple rows of sutures. The idea is to eliminate most of the tension on the skin surface, which is tied to better healing and scarring.
Compared with most body contouring surgeries, thigh lift may involve a tougher recovery due to the amount of swelling that stems from gravity and tension when walking (especially in medial thigh lift). Nonetheless, there are several ways to keep the postop inflammation to a minimum such as the use of compression garments, light exercise such as walking, low-sodium diet, and possible use of homeopathic remedies.