Thigh lift: procedure, costs and risks

The thighs can lose their firm appearance as a result of the normal aging process or as a result of being overweight and then rapidly losing weight. How a surgical thigh lift works and what costs and risks it involves.

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What is a thigh lift?

A thigh lift removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the thighs and improves body proportions. Another name is dermolipectomy of the thighs. The operation is a major intervention. Overall, a recovery phase of around four weeks can be expected after the operation.

The aim of a thigh lift is to beautify and rejuvenate the appearance of the thighs. The skin is firmer after the operation than before, cellulite is hardly visible and the legs appear slimmer. However, visible scars often remain.

Possible complications of thigh lift

A thigh lift is a surgical procedure in which complications cannot be ruled out. The risk is comparatively low. Nevertheless, this operation is a major operation that creates a wound surface. The following complications can therefore occur during a thigh lift:

  • If major blood losses occur during the operation, these must be compensated for (e.g. through a blood transfusion)

  • Very rarely, blood clots form that block the vessels (thrombosis, embolism).

  • Wound healing disorders can adversely affect the scar outcome. However, unsightly scars can usually be surgically improved later.

  • Bleeding and infection can also occur.

  • Sometimes there are sensory disturbances such as tingling or numbness.

costs and alternatives

Patients have to reckon with costs of around 6,000 euros for a thigh lift. The statutory health insurance companies usually do not cover any costs.

If you want to beautify your thighs with alternative methods instead of surgery, you can try to improve your appearance with exercise and a balanced diet. Compression stockings also allow optical correction. However, these can be perceived as annoying because they do not look particularly “beautiful” or are uncomfortable to wear.

Requirements for a thigh lift

Before the operation, there will be a discussion with the doctor treating you. The personal reasons for the procedure as well as possible alternatives to a thigh lift and the course of the operation are discussed here. In the course of this, you will also be informed about potential risks and complications.

Before deciding to have a thigh lift, those affected should try to optically improve the body areas perceived as problem areas without surgery, for example through:

At the same time, all these measures have a positive effect on an operative thigh lift. If you are overweight, you should try to lose weight before the operation. The better this succeeds, the more positive it will be for the end result of the operation.

VRequirements for the surgical intervention:

  • If skin inflammation is present, it should be treated in advance in a dermatological practice.

  • You should stop taking anticoagulant medication around 10 to 14 days before the operation, as these active substances (e.g. acetylsalicylic acid) can promote bleeding after the operation. However, anyone who regularly takes active ingredients such as phenprocoumon for thrombosis prophylaxis should not discontinue them on their own. The doctor treating you can decide whether it is possible to switch to another medication.

  • Alcoholic beverages and sleeping pills should be avoided before the operation.

  • Smokers should stop smoking about a week before the thigh lift, as this can interfere with wound healing.

course of the operation

For the thigh lift, the doctor marks and disinfects the skin areas on the legs that are to be removed shortly before the operation. The operation itself is usually performed under general anesthesia. During the operation, surgeons remove the planned areas of skin and underlying fatty tissue. Whether liposuction can also be used on this occasion is discussed in advance.

For the operation, the skin is usually cut at the base of the thigh from the groin in the direction of the crotch up to the buttock fold. If the skin is very slack, the skin is also cut open on the inside of the thighs from the base of the leg to the knee.

After all excess skin has been removed, the edges of the wound are sutured and the remaining skin of the thighs is tightened. Drainage in the wound ensures that wound secretion and blood do not accumulate in the wound area, but can drain off. Finally, the legs are bandaged. The surgical procedure takes about two to four hours in total.

After the thigh lift

After the thigh lift, patients usually have to remain in the clinic for three to ten days, depending on the extent of the operation. After waking up from general anesthesia, pain occurs, which painkillers help to relieve. In order to prevent thrombosis, those affected must wear thrombosis stockings or compression pants for the first four to six weeks after the operation. If necessary, the doctor will also administer the active ingredient heparin to thin the blood.

Special muscle exercises promote the healing process as they improve blood circulation and oxygen supply to the tissue. Appropriate exercises are shown to patients in the clinic. After the operation, the legs are initially swollen. By caring for the skin with wound and healing ointment (e.g. with the active ingredient dexpanthenol), wound healing can be promoted. Depending on which threads were used, these will either dissolve by themselves or be pulled out after three to six weeks.

course of the intervention

In the first six to eight weeks, people who have been operated on should rest physically and not make any jerky movements so as not to overload the sutures. As a rule, you can go back to your everyday life two to three weeks after the operation. However, you should avoid physical exertion in the first five to six weeks and then only start exercising slowly and carefully.

The scars from a thigh lift fade on average after 6 to 18 months. Ideally, the results of a thigh lift last eight to ten years. Patients can positively influence the duration of the result through targeted training of the leg muscles and a healthy diet.

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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