Expert Body & Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Thigh Lift Surgery

Thigh Lift SurgeryDr. Robert Backstein, Toronto thigh lift surgeon, advises thigh lift surgery be performed on individuals with loose, hanging thigh skin. This problem may be a result of significant weight loss or simply due to the natural aging process. Many people who have lost a significant amount of weight through diet, exercise and especially through weight loss surgery (gastric bypass surgery , gastric banding etc.) will be left with thighs with sagging skin. The same problem is often noted in patients that have not lost significant weight but have reached an age in which the elasticity of the skin of the upper thigh has been lost. In either case, it is essentially impossible to correct using exercise since the issue is one of loose skin and not of muscle or fat.

Exercise tones muscle and lessens fat content but has no effect on skin tone. For this reason, many patients find that exercise and dieting actually make the problem of sagging thighs even worse since further loss of weight causes the skin to become even more redundant and loose. As such, Dr. Backstein suggests that good candidates for thigh lifts are individuals who have hanging skin on the thighs and are prepared to tolerate the scars that are left by the thigh lift surgery. Depending on the extent of loose skin on the thighs, either a modified thigh lift or full thigh lift will be recommended. A modified thigh lift is suggested for more minor cases of redundant thigh skin and uses a relatively short incision placed horizontally in the crease between the thigh and pubic region. A full thigh lift is suggested for more extensive cases and uses a long incision placed extending from the upper thigh to around the knee. Some patients will also be candidates for alternatives to thigh lift surgery to recontour their thighs.

Preparing For Thigh Lift Surgery

Preparing for thigh lift surgery involves mental preparation, a review of your current medications and vitamins, and following standard pre-operative instructions. Mental preparation for thigh lift surgery is key to a pleasant post-operative recovery. It is important to understand that you are undertaking a very commonly performed procedure and that Toronto thigh lift specialist, Dr. Backstein, will have screened you pre-operatively to ensure you are a safe candidate for the procedure. Furthermore , thigh lift surgery by its nature is a safe procedure since the surgical work is carried out in a superficial plane of the body well away from major organs. It is equally important to understand that immediately post-operatively your thighs will look somewhat larger and less natural than they will several weeks post-op. In particular, swelling can develop in the hands and fingers as well as the upper thigh. This look will resolve soon after your thigh lift surgery. Some patients sense a feeling of numbness or even pins and needles in their legs for several days or weeks after thigh lift surgery.

Make sure you review any medications and vitamins at least two weeks prior to your surgical date. Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners/anticoagulants and vitamin E products should be discontinued completely for at least two weeks prior to surgery in order to minimize the risk of extra bleeding during or after surgery. Multi-vitamins may contain vitamin E and should be stopped if vitamin E is present. Finally, be sure not to eat or drink anything at all from midnight of the day before thigh lift surgery so as to enter the operating room with an empty stomach. It is wise to plan for around 4 weeks in which no heavy lifting or vigorous work using the thighs is required at work at home. Stressing the thigh lift incisions can lead to an increase in scarring and in the worst case scenario could cause the stitch line to separate. While it is difficult for many patients to refrain from significant use of the thighs because of busy work and family lives, a strong committment to allowing your thigh lift surgery to heal optimally will pay off in the long run with far less noticeable scars.

    • What is the recovery period for Thigh Lift surgery?

Thigh lift surgery recovery is a 2 to 4 week process. Most patients will have a surgical drain in each thigh that is very easily and painlessly removed in Dr. Backstein's office several days after surgery. Heavy lifting and exercise should be refrained from for 4 to 6 weeks. As with other plastic surgery procedures, recovery occurs in phases. Initially patients will have swelling and some discomfort although thigh lift sugery is not reported to be particularly painful. Swelling and discomfort will begin to noticeably subside after around 48 hours. It can take about 3 months for essentially all swelling to be out of the thighs. Wearing post-op compression garments consistently as part of thigh lift post operative care will help reduce swelling sooner. Thigh lift surgery scars will fade over months to years.

Thigh Lift Surgery Post-Op Care

  • 1

    Leave your dressings and garment on and dry until your first post-operative visit with Dr. Backstein

  • 2

    Avoid all heavy lifting, exercise, or otherwise stressing your thighs

  • 3

    Empty and reset your surgical drains as necessary

  • 4

    Make sure to take the antibiotics prescribed by Dr. Backstein

  • 5

    Elevate your legs and feet when sitting or lying down to decrease swelling and discomfort

  • 6

    Swelling and bruising of the feet and toes is normal and will resolve

  • 7

    Leakage of some blood-tinged fluid onto your bandages is normal and will resolve

  • 8

    Do not smoke

  • 9

    Contact Dr. Backstein at if you have significant concerns

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