Outer thigh lifts or outer thighplasty is a cosmetic procedure that helps to smooth and tighten the outer thigh. An outer thigh lift is designed for the patient who complains of significant fat and excess skin in the upper outer thigh area. Also termed “saddlebags”, fat deposits in the outer thigh can be related to weight gain, weight loss, the after-effects of pregnancy, and genetics.
In the patient without excess skin in this area, liposuction may be the only procedure needed to contour the outer thigh, however if you find yourself pulling your outer thigh tissue up to smooth this area; an outer thigh lift may be the right procedure for you. The outer thigh lift procedure is combined with thigh liposuction to tighten and shape the outer thigh through an upper hip incision. After the procedure, patients feel more comfortable in shorts, swimsuits and form-fitting clothing. Dr. Trussler has significant experience with outer thighplasty surgery and the first step in contouring the thighs is discussing your goals of the procedure during a consultation.
What Are My Options For an Outer Thigh Lift?
An outer thigh lift can be performed alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures, such as part of a body lift, buttock lift and/or inner thigh lift. Thigh lifts are ideal for healthy, non-smoking male and female patients who have a significant amount of excess, hanging skin in the upper inner thigh area. Patients should be at a stable weight and have a comfortable diet and exercise routine prior to considering any body contouring procedure.
Patients who present for outer thighplasty surgery are typically frustrated because no matter how many squats or lunges they do, the excess fat and skin just won’t go away. Often patients presenting to Dr. Trussler for outer thigh lifts have already undergone at least one non-invasive or minimally invasive attempt at outer thigh skin tightening or liposuction. The solution is to remove the excess skin and contour the thigh with an outer thighplasty.
Outer thigh lifts can help tighten and smooth the thigh. Patients should be healthy, non-smoking and at a stable weight prior to considering this procedure. The extent, location and condition of the excess thigh skin all factor into the decision of scar pattern for an outer thighplasty. Most patients with a significant amount of excess thigh skin and refractory saddlebags are amenable to the outer thighplasty scar. This scar is the most difficult factor to accept when approaching any body contouring procedure. Dr. Trussler will give his honest opinion on the right scar pattern for your individual outer thigh contouring procedure and with time and active scar care, these scars will fade.
Many patients do inquire about other body contouring procedures at the time of consultation. Outer thighplasty is commonly performed in conjunction with abdominal, buttock, and/or inner thigh contouring procedures.
Realistic expectations are important when considering outer thighplasty surgery. Dr. Trussler will listen to your goals and factor into the extent and location of excess thigh skin to help come up with an outer thigh contouring procedure that is right for you. No matter what incision type of outer thighplasty is performed there will be a scar. Scar quality and how the scar heals depends on what is done before, during and after thighplasty surgery. Choosing the right incision type for your outer thigh and Dr. Trussler’s surgical experience to help with scarring, but good nutrition, smoking cessation, avoidance of sun, limiting activity, and active scar care all help to improve the healing process. Dr. Trussler will provide detailed instructions for your outer thighplasty procedure.
Lateral Thigh Lift Surgery
Outer thighplasty surgery usually takes two to three hours to complete and is done under general anesthesia in the operating room. The areas of skin excision and the incision placement are typically marked during the pre-operative appointment. The procedure is commonly started with liposuction of the thigh to help thin the fatty deposits of the thigh and help release the excess skin. Varying lengths of incisions are used to remove the outer thigh skin depending on the type of thighplasty performed.
Most commonly, an outer thigh lift is performed in conjunction with a buttock lift and the incision is placed along upper buttock border and wraps around the upper hip region. This back and side incision can be joined with the abdominoplasty incision to form the circumferential incision of a body lift. After the outer thigh skin excess is pulled up and removed, the outer thigh lift incisions are closed with two to three layers of absorbable sutures, as well as deep supportive stitches. Drain tubes may be used in all outer thighplasty procedures. Compression garments are used to help limit bruising and swelling after the procedure. Most patients can go home the same day after this procedure.
After Care & Recovery
After any type of outer thigh lift procedure, patients will likely experience mild soreness and swelling for a few days. The incisions are typically dressed with surgical glue, and compressive foam and compression garments are used to help limit swelling and bruising in the area. Surgical drains are commonly used in this procedure and will typically be removed within the first week.
The thighs will be supported in a soft compression garment for about three weeks or until healed. Any stitches will be removed after one or two weeks. Most patients will be able to return to work within a week, although exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for about a three weeks. Dr. Trussler will provide you with specific instructions for your individual recovery.
The results of an outer thigh lift are visible immediately after surgery and will continue to improve as swelling subsides and scars fade. The outer thigh shape will evolve over a three month period especially in the cases of significant skin and fat removal. Scar treatment will be initiated at the 3-week visit and may be continued for 3 to 6 months after the operation, or until the scar softens and fade.
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- Hatef, DA, Trussler, AP, Kenkel, JM. Procedural Risk for Venous Thromboembolism in Abdominal Contouring Surgery: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Jan;125(1):352-362.