We are all aware that obesity has been afflicting North America for many years now. Fortunately, people are nowadays getting more health-conscious when making lifestyle choices. Consequently, weight loss surgeries have been on the rise, and so is post-weight loss plastic surgery, including such procedures as tummy tuck, breast lift, neck lift, buttock lift, and upper arm lift. I also like to recommend thigh lift surgery for my Toronto-area patients because of the impressive effects it can have. Read on to learn why it’s a good choice after weight loss, but first some background …
Post-Weight Loss Body Contouring
About 1 in 5 people who have weight loss surgery will need body contouring, as well. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, breast lifts and male breast reduction were up 3% since 2013 and 75% since 2000, and among people who experienced massive weight loss, the procedures increased by 10% since 2013. The arm lift procedure alone has increased by more than 4,000% over the 14-year period.
Unfortunately, people who lose 50, 100, 150, or more pounds via various bariatric (stomach reduction) procedures are often not prepared for the significant secondary hanging skin, and all this excess tissue often negatively affects their self-esteem.
Since I started practicing plastic surgery in 2001, I have always had a great interest in post-weight loss procedures. These often longer and more challenging procedures are extremely gratifying to both my patients and myself.
Most people have an idea of what facelift and tummy tuck procedures are thanks to Hollywood and television shows. But the thigh lift is still a mystery for many, although it is becoming more and more popular. As a comparison, thigh lift procedures have increased by 5% between 2013 and 2014 — and 70% since 2000 — just as tummy tuck procedures did.
The inner thigh skin is one of the least elastic regions of the female body, so liposuction alone is rarely the sole solution, but it is often a component of the procedures. Here are some of the most common techniques.
Crescentic Inner Thigh Lift
The crescentic inner thigh lift is a common procedure performed on aging thighs. It is a good procedure for the mild excess of skin in the very upper part of the inner thighs when wrinkled skin is seen in the region.
A crescent of skin, often as high as 7 to 8 centimeters, is excised in the groin crease, starting on the front and extending into the buttock crease posteriorly. The inner deeper thigh tissue must be secured superiorly to minimize the downward migration of the incision line. The ultimate incision line is hidden in the crease where the thigh meets the pelvis.
Vertical (Extended) Inner Thigh Lift
The vertical lift is indicated in more serious weight loss and will address a more significant component of the thighs. It includes a longer the incision toward the knee, allowing for more significant tightening in the thighs and the inner knees.
The incision extends along the inner thighs and often continues into the groin area, in somewhat of a combination of crescentic and vertical incision. The inner thigh scar is hidden when the patient is standing with the legs together.
Outer Thigh Lift
An outer thigh lift addresses the outer component of the thighs, the so-called “saddle bag” deformity areas. It is often done along with liposuction. It is not a common procedure performed alone but rather as part of a body lift.
The incision is on the outer part of the thighs, and the plastic surgeon tries to place the resulting incision line along the natural anatomic iliac crest line.
Lower Body Lift
This is the most significant and most complex approach. I find the easiest way to explain the lower body lift to post-weight loss patients is to describe the procedure as a combination of a tummy tuck, buttock lift, and outer thigh lift. We also call this a “belt lipectomy” because a circular doughnut-like amount of tissue, like a belt, is excised and the lower body is “lifted” as one would do with low-hanging pants.
It is a very powerful procedure, and patients get the muscle-tightening benefits of the tummy tuck but also get a buttock lift and outer thigh lift. It is very common to excise a height of tissue of more than 15 to 25 centimeters all around.
People with significant weight loss often complain of having flat or unattractive buttocks. So when doing this complex yet gratifying lower body lift procedure, I often recommend to save some of the tissue and use it for auto-augmentation of the buttocks, also known as a Brazilian butt lift. Another option is to add buttock implants instead.
Finally, this fascinating lower body lift procedure can sometimes combine an inner thigh lift at the same time with peri-pubic and groin incisions.
In conclusion, post-weight loss procedures are a very important component of my aesthetic practice and those who get body contouring after weight loss are some of my happiest patients. An appropriate thigh lift is a key component in the transformation.
Contact us to learn more about these options.