Everything To Know About Thigh Reduction / Thigh Lift / Thighplasty

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen


"The thigh lift is a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure that can improve the shape, contour, and firmness of the upper thighs leading to a balanced body shape."
After losing weight, most people experience significant changes in their bodies.

Most changes are positive, but what happens when the skin becomes loose?

With weight loss, aging, and sun damage, loose skin is often unavoidable.
The areas of the body most affected by this phenomenon are the arms, abdomen, and thighs. In women who were obese or who were very overweight in the past, the thighs can sag in the outer and inner parts. Often the inner thighs rub and caus constant chaffing. This makes walking and exercising difficult. Also, disproportionate thighs make buying pants and other clothes difficult. After months or years of dieting, disproportionate thighs can ruin your "summer body." If you have large or disproportionate thighs, you may want to consider thigh reduction surgery. Thigh reduction surgery is also known as a thigh lift or a thighplasty.

What are the goals of a thigh reduction?
The thigh reduction seeks to improve the contour of the upper part of the legs. Usually, unattractive thighs are due to three problems: excess upper thigh fat, excess upper thigh skin, or excess upper thigh skin and fat. In these cases, the thighs can be unattractive and appear "saggy". The "saggy" thigh skin be from fat accumulation, poor skin recoil, genetics, or hormone levels. Unfortunately, the upper inner thigh may be resistant to aggressive exercise and dieting. A thigh reduction helps to improve the appearance of the legs. Ideally, a thigh reduction creates beautiful thighs that are more harmonious with the rest of the body.

What happens during a thigh reduction?
Thigh reduction surgery, also known as a thigh lift, is a plastic surgery procedure that must be performed in an operating room. There are several different types of thigh reductions: crescent, spiral, modified vertical medial, modified T, longitudinal vertical medial, and longitudinal vertical lateral. During the thigh reduction, if you have excess thigh fat, thigh liposuction is performed. Then, the location of your excess thigh skin determines which incision is required. Sometimes, the thigh reduction incision follows the bottom of the bikini or panty line; then, a crescent of upper thigh skin is removed. Sometimes, the thigh reduction incision starts in the inner groin and extends either partially or entirely to the knee; then, a medium or large ellipse of inner thigh skin is removed.
The superior and medial traction of the thigh skin flaps gives the thighs a more uniform, natural, and tight appearance.

How do I know if I am a candidate for a thigh reduction?

Although many people feel that they need to remove excess skin on the thighs, it is often unnecessary. For this reason, you must talk with Dr. Katzen about your expectations. During your confidential consultation, Dr. Katzen will give you a glimpse of your thigh reduction possibilities.
The main characteristics of patients who require a thigh reduction or thigh lift are:
• Patients with excess thigh skin that interferes with swimsuits, tight pants, shorts, etc.
• Patients who have lost a lot of weight, usually more than 100 pounds.
• Patients who have gained a lot of weight from pregnancy.
• Patients who feel their thighs "move" while they are walking.

Planning the thigh lift or thigh reduction surgery
Dr. Katzen will assess your general health during your consultation and explain the thigh lift to be performed. This is the ideal time for you to ask any questions and to discuss your expected results.
Since each thigh lift/thigh reduction case is slightly different, Dr. Katzen must perform a thorough physical examination and carefully determine the best thigh lift/thigh reduction surgery for you.
The objective of the thigh lift/thigh reduction surgery is to achieve natural and proportional results.
During the preoperative evaluation, the following aspects related to the thigh lift/thigh reduction surgery are discussed:
• Your expectations (that is, how you want to see yourself).
• Alternatives to surgery.
• The advantages of surgery.
• The limitations and possible risks of the surgery.
• Medications or foods that you should avoid before surgery.
• The type of anesthesia to be used during the intervention.
• The costs of surgery.

Preoperative care
Six hours before the thigh lift/thigh reduction surgery, it is important to not drink or eat anything. This fast is to minimize complications during anesthesia and surgery. During your preoperative consultation, you will be given prescriptions for pain medicine, muscle relaxants, antibiotics, anti-nausea, blood thinners, and anti-constipation medicines.

How long does the thigh lift/thigh reduction surgery take?
Generally, most patients are monitored for two to three days after a thigh lift/thigh reduction. Two or three days after a thigh lift/thigh reduction, most patients can return home to continue their recovery process.

How long can I fully recover after a thigh lift/thigh reduction?

You should be able to walk about the house about five to seven days after your thigh lift/thigh reduction. You should be able to run simple errands about one to two weeks after your thigh lift/thigh reduction. You should be able to return to light activity at about four weeks after your thigh lift/thigh reduction. Six and eight weeks after your thigh lift/thigh reduction, you should be able to play sports, run, and exercise. (Of course, individuals results vary.)

What kind of anesthesia is used for a thigh lift/thigh reduction?

During a thigh lift/thigh reduction, general anesthesia is used. Dr. Katzen uses anesthesiologists with significant experience.
Postoperative cares

After thigh reduction surgery, it is crucial for you:
1) To drink about 100 grams of protein a day
2) To stay hydrated by drinking lots of water
3) To take your medications as directed
4) To avoid excessive activities, doing sports or intense exercise
5) To avoid lifting heavyweights
6) To keep your incisions clean
7) To not wear tight clothing that could hurt or cut into the operative wounds
It is essential to comply with all of Dr. Katzen's instructions for the care and protection of wounds and to avoid infections.

Thigh lift/thigh reduction results
Among the results obtained from thigh reduction surgery:
• Elimination of excess thigh fat and skin.
• Increased firmness of the thigh skin.
• Reduction of cellulite and stretch marks on the thigh skin.
• Better conforming of the skin to the natural contour of the legs.
• Weight loss due to removal of redundant thigh tissue.
• Greater sense of well-being when walking.
The thigh lift/thigh reduction procedure results are long-lasting, but physical health care is essential. To maintain your thigh reduction or thighplasty results, you should continue with daily exercise and continue to eat right every meal.

Is the thigh lift/thigh reduction a safe surgery?
The thigh lift is a complicated procedure to perform. However, with Dr. Katzen twenty plus years of experience and his postoperative care routine, your potential complications will be minimized.
The vast majority of patients who undergo this surgery do not develop complications; however, all surgical procedures carry risks. The risks for a thigh lift/thigh reduction are:
1) Wound breakdown
2) Pain in the upper legs (that can be treated with pain relievers)
3) Minor bleeding at the suture sites
4) Inflammation of the skin.
5) Redness on the skin.
6) Bruises.
7) Blood clots
8) Leg and ankle swelling
Frequently asked questions about thigh lift/ thigh reduction surgery?
When should I call Dr. Katzen?
You should call Dr. Katzen if you notice the following changes:
• Fever greater than 101.5 degrees
• Severe pain that does not go away with pain relievers.
• Loss of sensitivity.
• Difficulty moving one or both legs.
• Excessive bleeding or swelling

How long should I wait to see results?
Thigh lift/thigh reduction results are seen on the operating room table. However, final swelling should resolve after six to eight weeks. Thigh lift scars take about two years to fully mature.

What are thigh lift scars like? Are they noticeable?
Thigh reduction surgery scars are usually long. However, thanks to the strategic placement of the thigh lift incisions, unique combinations of dissolvable and permanent sutures, novel suturing techniques, and medical-grade compression garments, thigh lift scars are often difficult to notice.

Can Thigh Lift Surgery Eliminate Cellulite?
Cellulite is a pervasive aesthetic problem in which the skin loses elasticity. Cellulite can occur due to a considerable accumulation of fat or skin scarring. A thigh lift/thigh reduction can help to eliminate cellulite.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.