Thigh Lift vs. Thigh Liposuction – Which Surgery is Right for You?

Published: February 11, 2022
Category: Liposuction, Thigh Lift

The thighs can be a troublesome area for many people. Our skin’s tone and firmness in this area can be significantly impacted by massive weight loss and the natural aging process. As a result, many of us experience loose, sagging skin, saddlebags, cellulite, and poorly proportioned contours to our thighs and legs. Thigh Lift and Liposuction are two effective procedures that can help restore a more youthful, toned appearance to your thighs and overall shape.

Thigh Lift Surgery

“No matter how much we work out, how much fat we lose, or muscle mass we gain, some of us will always struggle with loose, sagging skin in our thigh area,” explains Dr. Christine Stewart, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner with Edina Plastic Surgery. “This will be especially evident after major weight loss and as our skin’s collagen and elastin break down with aging because both of these factors essentially deplete the skin of its volume and structure. Thigh Lift surgery focuses on removing loose skin and unwanted fat from the inner and/or outer thigh region to restore slimmer, smoother contours to the upper legs.”

Thigh Lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia at Edina Plastic Surgery and can take anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours to complete. It is commonly performed in conjunction with Liposuction.

Who is a Good Candidate for Thigh Lift Surgery?

“The ideal candidate for a Thigh Lift is a patient who is in good overall health, has maintained a stable weight for six months or more, but is dissatisfied with the contour and appearance of their thighs because they appear wrinkled, loose, or saggy.  Thigh lifts are really for excess skin removal. If a patient has a lot of extra fat and skin, then they should focus on weight loss prior to investigating a thigh lift,” says Dr. Stewart. “Extra skin is most often due to massive weight loss because once the support of fat has been depleted, overlying skin can sag, droop, and appear deflated. If a patient has minimal sagging, good skin quality, and is more so concerned about stubborn pockets of fat, they may investigate Liposuction or even CoolSculpting® as other viable options.  Liposuction of the thighs may make more sense financially if a patient is already undergoing another procedure.”

“It’s important to note that thigh lifts are not trivial surgeries to recover from,” stresses Dr. Stewart.  “Patients have to be excellent candidates for their plastic surgeon to recommend this procedure. Thigh lifts probably involve more wound healing complications and more restrictions on activities of daily living than any other type of plastic surgery we offer. Sitting, bending over, squatting down cannot be done after a thigh lift, often for 4-6 weeks. A patient must have realistic expectations of both this surgery and the its recovery.”

What is the Difference Between an Inner and Outer Thigh Lift?

Generally, two kinds of Thigh Lifts can be performed: an inner or medial Thigh Lift or an outer or lateral Thigh Lift. During your initial consultation with your plastic surgeon, they will assess the skin in your thigh area and discuss your aesthetic goals to determine which technique is best for you.

Inner Thigh Lift – In this approach, the incision is made on the inside of the leg. Some patients achieve sufficient skin excision with an incision in the groin crease only. Others require an incision in the groin crease as well as vertically down the length of the thigh to the knee. The incision will be as long as needed to address all the problematic areas you would like corrected. It can also extend around toward the back or front of the thigh. 

Outer Thigh Lift – This approach often involves a larger incision and more extensive scarring. The incision starts near the groin and wraps up and around the patient’s hip. The incisions are strategically placed to be hidden under most clothing and swimsuits, but they may be more visible than the scars of an inner thigh lift. 

Liposuction Surgery for the Thighs

Liposuction surgery is very effective for removing stubborn pockets of fat in the thigh area to improve the overall contour and shape of the upper legs,” says Dr. Stewart. “But, it’s important to note that Liposuction focuses on fat removal and not skin tightening. The skin of the medial thigh is thinner than in other areas of the body so we cannot expect as much skin tightening after medial thigh liposuction compared to other areas where liposuction is performed. With lateral thigh liposuction, it is important to perform liposuction in the deeper fat plane, because the fat is so fibrous in the lateral thigh, this area can be more prone to contour irregularities if aggressive liposuction is done. If there is significant sagging and drooping to the skin in your thigh area, it will not be improved by Liposuction alone. In many cases, your plastic surgeon may recommend BOTH Liposuction and Thigh Lift surgery to remove fat and tighten skin to achieve the best result.”

Who is the Ideal Candidate for Thigh Liposuction?

The best candidates for Liposuction surgery on the thighs are patients who are in good overall health, have maintained a stable weight for six months or more, yet struggle with stubborn, localized pockets of fat in their inner or outer thighs, under their buttocks, above the knees, and up towards their hips. If a significant amount of loose, excess skin is also present, a Thigh Lift may also be necessary to achieve the best result.

When is a Thigh Lift a Better Option than Liposuction and Vice Versus?

“At Edina Plastic Surgery, we custom tailor our approach to rejuvenating the thigh region, which frequently means utilizing both Liposuction and Thigh Lift surgery,” explains Dr. Stewart. “No two people, or their thighs, are alike. During your initial consultation, we’ll analyze the tissue quality of your thighs and skin, examine the amount of fat present, and have a frank conversation about your aesthetic goals for surgery. From there, we’ll map out a plan that best meets the needs of your body and the expectations you have.”

Are you bothered by loose, sagging skin on your thighs? Do you wish your thighs were slimmer or more contoured? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Christine Stewart or any of the board-certified plastic surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery to discuss Thigh Lift surgery and Liposuction. Call (612) 688-3177, Text (952) 925-1765, or CLICK HERE to get started!

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