While the primary goal of thigh lift surgery is to remove excess skin and fat from the inner and outer thigh, many patients do report a significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite as well. A smoother, tighter, and more attractively contoured upper leg can be achieved. This life-changing procedure is performed by Dr. Tripti Burt at the Burt & Will Plastic Surgery and Dermatology clinic in Naperville, IL.
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your thighs or feel self-conscious when wearing shorts or a bathing suit, keep reading to find out if this procedure might be right for you. During your initial consultation, we can determine if you are a good candidate for thigh contouring, either performed on its own or in combination with other lifting and tightening procedures.
What To Expect When Lifting and Sculpting the Thigh Area
A thigh lift differs somewhat from regular liposuction in that the primary goal is to remove excess skin. A patient might have lost a significant amount of weight and is unhappy with the sagging skin that is left behind. Having said this, the procedure may also be combined with some fat removal to ensure the most aesthetically pleasing result.
Also known as “thighplasty,” this procedure can help patients achieve a slimmer, smoother, and more balanced appearance to the contours of the upper leg. While this is not a cellulite treatment per se, the act of lifting the skin and removing some fat deposits does typically smooth out some of the dimpling that plagues many thighs.
The Effect on Cellulite
While you will no doubt notice a smoother and tighter overall skin texture following a thigh lift, this surgery is not intended for patients who are mainly concerned with cellulite and do not have excess skin to worry about. However, if you have a combination of thigh issues (excess skin, excess fat, and cellulite) then this is a treatment that can address all issues very effectively.
If cellulite is your main concern, and you do not need post-weight-loss body recontouring, there are several alternative cellulite treatments that could be discussed during your consultation. We will take the time to examine your specific concerns and come up with a treatment plan that will get you the results you are looking for.
What Exactly Is Involved with a Thigh Lift?
Lifting and tightening of the thigh area is a combination procedure designed to target the excess skin, fat, and cellulite that might be making you self-conscious when you wear shorter outfits or bathing suits. The results are very natural and can create a smoother, more youthful thigh contour.
The reality is that some pockets of fat are very hard to lose through diet and exercise alone, and significant sections of loose skin are impossible to address without surgical intervention. This is why thighplasty has become so popular – it can create very dramatic results and target multiple problem areas in the thighs in one procedure.
How a Thigh Lift Works
A thighplasty is a surgical procedure that is performed under general anesthesia. Dr. Burt makes several small incisions in crease areas where a scar will be less visible (although any scarring should disappear entirely over time). If there are stubborn pockets of fat that you wish to remove, these will be addressed first with some light liposuction.
Finally, Dr. Burt will excise any loose thigh skin and pull the remaining skin upward around the muscle to create a smooth contour. This tightened skin will be held in place with sutures that will eventually dissolve as the thighs heal. The entire procedure usually takes around three hours, although some patients wish to have two or more procedures performed at the same time, which will of course lengthen the surgery.
The Recovery Period
Patients are prescribed some pain medication to take in the days following surgery. While there may be some initial discomfort, most patients find that they are able to get up and walk around, resuming some basic activities, within a couple days of having surgery. Patients are in fact encouraged to move around as this improves circulation in the legs.
While gentle movement is important, it is equally important to get plenty of rest. We generally recommend that patients take at least a week off work (longer if your job is more physical). Patients need to take this time for self care and a gradual return to normal activities. Typically, patients will achieve their final result and be fully healed in about six weeks.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Thighplasty?
Generally, anyone who is in good health and who wishes to improve the shape and appearance of their upper leg should be a suitable candidate for this type of procedure. We prefer that patients be at a healthy, stable weight in order to maintain long-term results. People whose weight tends to fluctuate dramatically may not be well suited to this type of procedure. A commitment to a healthy lifestyle is essential to maintaining positive, long-term results.
As noted earlier, if you are mainly concerned with cellulite, there are other options we can discuss that can be done either on their own or in conjunction with a thigh lift. Patients who have a combination of loose skin, excess fat pockets, and cellulite generally make excellent candidates for this procedure. Some patients have already lost all the weight they needed to and only require the lifting and tightening part of the procedure.
Maintaining Your Results
It stands to reason that if you wish to maintain the smoother and tighter appearance of your “new” thighs, following a healthy diet and exercise regime is a must. Having an active lifestyle, engaging in muscle toning exercises, drinking plenty of water, not smoking, and avoiding high-fat and simple carbohydrate foods are all habits that will keep you looking and feeling your best.
The bumpy, dimpled appearance of cellulite is never welcome, but there are some ways to reduce its unsightly appearance. Cellulite is just fat that has taken on a lumpier texture due to the weakened connective tissue that surrounds it. Like any type of fat, it can be reduced with diet and exercise, or failing that, with liposuction.
There are also some non-invasive treatments for cellulite that show promising results, although less dramatic than those results that can be achieved with surgery. While it can be difficult to eradicate cellulite entirely, there is much that can be done to minimize its appearance.
Is It Safe To Have a Thigh Lift with Other Procedures?
Many patients ask if they can combine procedures. If you have lost a considerable amount of weight, you likely have loose skin in other areas besides just your thighs, so it makes sense to tighten up all these spots at once for the sake of efficiency. This also means that you only need to go through one round of anesthesia.
For most surgery candidates, undergoing multiple procedures is perfectly safe, although you will require a complete examination to ensure you are healthy enough to go under sedation for a longer period. If not, procedures can be spaced out so that you have time to recover after each surgery. The advantage of this approach if that the recovery time following one procedure will of course be less than that necessitated by a longer operation.
Procedures That Are Typically Paired with Thigh Surgery
A tummy tuck, buttocks lift, arm lift, and liposuction are often requested to address other areas of the body where loose skin and excess fat pockets are bothersome. In the case of our “Mommy Makeover,” one or more of these procedures may be combined with breast surgery.
Having a larger transformative experience is of course a big decision, which is why the consultation process is so important. Whether you wish to target a specific area or undergo a more dramatic, full-body makeover, you will need to discuss your options with Dr. Burt and undergo a medical exam to determine your suitability for one or more procedures.
Finding the Best Plastic Surgeon in Illinois
If you think that a thighplasty might be right for you, it is important to find a highly experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon who can help you achieve the ideal results you are looking for. If you would like to book a consultation, contact us today at Burt & Will Plastic Surgery and Dermatology in Naperville, IL.