Thigh lift after massive weight loss is typically beyond cosmetic improvement. A good number of patients also seek the procedure to find relief from non-healing skin irritation and tissue breakdown caused by the redundant skin rubbing each other every time they walk and move around.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says that thigh lift after massive weight loss is commonly combined with tummy tuck and buttock lift. By simply extending the hip-to-hip incision of tummy tuck around the entire waistline, surgeons can reshape the outer thigh, anterior abdomen, and buttocks all at the same time.
Despite the contouring effects of the aforementioned technique (which is referred to as 360 degree lower body lift), patients with healing problems and other “risk factors” may have to stage their surgery to minimize risk of complications.
As a stand-alone procedure, the incision pattern used in thigh lift will depend on the location and the extent of redundant skin. For instance, the outer thigh requires an incision starting from the hip down to the groin and so the resulting scar lies precisely at the “panty line.”
Meanwhile, the inner or medial thigh lift requires incisions starting from the groin down to the knee and so the resulting scar is on the inner aspect of the thigh.
Compared to other body contouring procedures, recovery from thigh lift is generally “tougher” because of the increased swelling due to gravity and the full weight of the legs. Hence, the first two weeks are the most critical period, requiring the patient to be extra cautious when moving.
The patient must move carefully and slowly to avoid pulling on the incisions. It is important to note that wound dehiscence (reopening) requires longer time to heal.
After two weeks, most patients can slowly increase their activity without causing an elevated heart rate. Over-exertion must be avoided for an additional 4-5 weeks to prevent more swelling and healing problems.
Most patients are advised to take 3-4 weeks off so they can focus on their recovery. Furthermore, protein supplements along with superb diet (more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, while avoiding too much fats and sodium) can help patients improve their healing.
Oftentimes, thigh lift after massive weight loss is followed by other body contouring surgeries such as tummy tuck, arm lift, or back lift.