Understanding a Medial Thigh Lift


People who experience a significant amount of weight loss, such as after undergoing bariatric surgery, often end up with excessive sagging skin distributed throughout their bodies. One annoying area of excess skin is the inner thigh. The medical terminology to describe the inner thigh or where your thighs touch is the "medial thigh." The outer thigh is called the "lateral thigh." A medial thigh lift or medial thighplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to remove excess inner thigh skin and fat. In general, a medial thigh lift is for those who need excess thigh skin and fat removed to create tighter sleeker thighs.

What Happens during the Medial Thigh Lift?

A medial thigh lift is performed under general anesthesia. There are two parts to the thigh lift surgery, which are performed during the same surgical setting. The first part of the medial thigh lift is inner thigh liposuction. Once you are asleep, a small 0.5cm incision is placed in the inner thigh. Through this incision, tumescent fluid is injected. Tumescent fluid is a combination of medicines, and this cocktail of solutions is injected into the inner thigh to minimize pain, blood loss, maximize thigh fat removal, and aid in thigh dissection. A cannula (medical grade tube) is inserted and connected to suction. Thigh fat is aspirated or removed with suction. Removing fat with suction is called thigh liposuction. Once the thigh fat is removed with liposuction, part two of the thigh lift is begun. During part two of the thigh lift, an incision is made to allow access to the remaining underlying thigh fat. Further tissue dissection is performed, and the redundant inner thigh skin is freed from the underlying skin adhesions. The excess inner thigh skin is removed, and the thigh incision is closed in multiple layers with sutures. Even though the thigh lift is an outpatient procedure, most patients are monitored for two or more days in a medical facility. When you arrive home, you will need someone to help you for approximately one or two weeks.

What are the different types of thigh lifts?

There are four types of thigh lifts: crescent, modified, full inner (longitudinal), and lateral thigh lift. Three of these thigh lifts address the inner thighs, namely the crescent, modified, and full inner (longitudinal) medial thigh lifts. The lateral thigh addresses mostly the outer or lateral thigh. During the crescent medial thigh lift, an incision is made high in the upper, inner thigh. The incision is placed in the junction of the inner thigh and the groin region. Think of the crescent thigh lift as an incision being positioned just inside the panty line or a reasonable bikini. One of the benefits of the crescent thigh lift is that the scar is hidden under reasonable clothing. This crescent thigh lift is best for patients with limited excess fat in the upper third of the inner thigh. A full or longitudinal medial thigh lift is best suited for patients with excess thigh skin and fat that extends to the knees. During the full or longitudinal medial thigh lift, an incision is made from the groin to the knee. Excess thigh skin and fat are removed as a large ellipse. The full or longitudinal medial thigh lift is the most common procedure for weight loss patients. A modified or T-thigh lift is a combination of the crescent thigh lift and the full or longitudinal medial thigh lift. During a modified thigh lift, an incision is made in the groin. Additionally, an incision is made in the inner thigh. Unlike the full or longitudinal inner thigh lift, the modified or T-thigh lift incision does not extend to the knee. The length of the inner thigh incision in the modified T-thigh lift is determined by the amount of excess inner thigh skin. The lateral thigh removes excess thigh skin and fat on the outside of the upper leg. During the lateral thigh lift, an incision is made from the hip to the outer knee. The lateral thigh lift is one least common thigh lift performed.

What Is the Recovery Like?

It is important to rest as much as possible for two or more weeks after a thigh lift procedure. Careful walking for short distances such as from the bed to the couch or bathroom is allowed and encouraged. However, the healing tissues and sutures must not be subjected to stress, force, or excessive motion. Also, several small tubes or drains are placed during thigh lift surgery to drain liquids from the surgical site. Painkillers are prescribed, and dressings are placed over the incisions. After three to four weeks, usually, most patients can resume non-strenuous activities such as returning to work at a desk job, driving a car, and grocery shopping. At six weeks after a medial thigh lift, most patients can resume all of their normal activities.

How Soon Are the Results Visible?

The thigh lift results are immediately apparent because the sagging thigh skin and fat are gone; however, swelling of the tissues after the thigh lift surgery will disguise the final shape for a few weeks. The final sleek firm result will only be apparent several months later. The thigh lift results are generally permanent, although aging of the skin and tissues may reduce the firmness and sleekness somewhat over time.

If you are suffering from sagging tissues in your inner thighs, consider visiting one of Dr. Katzen's offices in Beverly Hills or Las Vegas. Dr. Katzen can help you understand the process of a medial thigh lift so you can make an informed decision. Contact Dr. Katzen today to schedule your thigh lift consultation!

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