A thigh lift removes excess skin and fat to slim and contour the area of the upper thighs. It is particularly effective tightening flabby, “orange peel” skin. In many cases, Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV combines a thigh lift at his Washington, D.C. practice with a buttock lift, which removes excess fat and skin from the buttock area.
Working with Dr. Ruff and his staff at West End Plastic Surgery, you can determine the procedure that is right for you and be assured of the results you hope for. If you live in Reston, Alexandria, or the surrounding region and are considering a thigh lift, request a consultation online to meet with Dr. Ruff, or call our office at (202) 750-5189 to schedule an appointment.
Are You a Good Candidate for a Thigh Lift?
If your upper thighs have unwanted fat that bulges out under the buttocks, your skin in that area is excessively loose and flabby, and exercise and dieting have been unable to correct the problem, you are most likely a good candidate for a thigh lift. In most cases, a thigh lift is performed at the same time as a buttock lift.
Meeting With Dr. Ruff
Prior to scheduling your thigh lift, you will have a lengthy consultation with Dr. Ruff and his staff at West End Plastic Surgery to determine whether the procedure is right for you and to answer any questions you may have. At this initial meeting, your buttock and thigh region will be evaluated and you will discuss how you want this area to look after surgery. You will also decide if you’d like to have a buttock lift performed at the same time as your thigh lift.
Dr. Ruff and his staff at West End Plastic Surgery will:
- Review the various buttock and thigh lift options with you
- Clearly discuss the potential risks of the procedure
- Outline in detail how the surgery is performed and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
- Provide detailed cost and payment information
- Answer all your questions
You will be asked to provide:
- Details about your medical history
- A list of all medications you currently take, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, vitamins, and herbal supplements
- Information regarding your tobacco and alcohol use
How the Procedure Is Performed
Your thigh lift procedure will be performed in our state-of-the-art surgical suite or at one of the area hospitals where Dr. Ruff operates.
The surgery usually takes from 1 to 5 hours to complete. The type of anesthesia used and the anticipated length of your procedure will be discussed with you at your initial consultation.
If your thigh or thigh and buttock lift is extensive, it may be performed at the hospital using general anesthesia. In most cases, you will stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 nights depending on the amount of pain you experience. At your initial meeting with the doctor, it will be determined if your surgery will be performed at the hospital or at West End Plastic Surgery.
To start the surgery, Dr. Ruff makes an incision high on the upper thigh. In most cases, though the incision may be extensive, it is placed in a position that will allow you to wear a bathing suit without the scar being visible. The exact placement of your incision will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.
Once the incision is made, Dr. Ruff removes excess fat and trims away unwanted skin. Stitches are then used to close the incision. Once the incision is stitched, gauze dressings and tape are applied over the surgical area.
What To Expect After Your Surgery
|Shower or Bath||As Soon as You Feel Comfortable|
|Back to Work||2 to 3 Weeks After Surgery|
|Driving||3 to 6 Weeks After Surgery|
|Strenuous Activity||6 Weeks After Surgery|
|Fading of Scars||Several Months to 1 Year|
Immediately After Your Surgery
In most cases, thigh or thigh and buttock lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. You usually go home shortly after your surgery is completed. You may be sleepy from the anesthesia and the area around your incisions will be sore, so you will need to have someone drive you home. Once you go home, you may want to have someone stay with you for the first few days because you may experience moderate discomfort. If the procedure is performed at the hospital, you can expect to stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 nights. Pain medication will be prescribed to alleviate as much post-surgery pain as possible.
The First 24 to 48 Hours After Your Surgery
During the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure, you will feel tired from the anesthesia and may experience mild to moderate discomfort. The doctor will prescribe pain medication to alleviate as much of the discomfort as possible. There will be moderate swelling, tenderness, and bruising in the area of the incisions; this will gradually disappear within the first month after your surgery. Your discomfort level will improve rapidly after the first 2 days.
Small amounts of bleeding and oozing are normal in the first few days after surgery. If you see more than just a slow staining of the gauze dressing, apply pressure to the area with your hand for 20 to 30 minutes to stop the bleeding. If this does not stop the bleeding, call West End Plastic Surgery. Heavy bleeding is rare, but if it does happen, call right away.
The First 2 Weeks After Surgery
You will notice a marked improvement in your discomfort level during the first few weeks after your surgery:
- You will experience moderate swelling, tenderness, and bruising in the area of the incision. This will gradually disappear within the first 2 weeks after surgery, with most of the swelling and bruising disappearing within a month.
- When sitting or lying down, choose the position that is most comfortable for you. No matter which position you choose, you will not be able to avoid putting some pressure on the treated area. Try to change positions every 30 minutes to keep from placing too much stress or weight on any one area.
- You can shower or bathe as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. Treat the surgical tape placed over your incision like your own skin — bathe and dry off normally. If the strips become loose or curl on the ends, you can snip the ends off or remove them completely.
Resuming Your Normal Routine
Everyone heals at different rates, and you are the best judge of when you are ready for certain activities, but the following are general guidelines:
- You can most likely return to work or school within 2 to 3 weeks after your procedure. If your work is strenuous, plan to stay home from work for 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how you heal and the type of work you do.
- You should walk every day, beginning the day after your surgery. Do as much walking as you can, but be sure to take things at your own pace.
- You can resume driving as soon as you experience no pain.
- You can most likely return to your physical exercise program within 6 weeks of your thigh lift. Our patients are encouraged to plan an exercise program and discuss it with the staff prior to resuming exercise.
- The scars caused by the incisions should be protected from sunlight for at least a year after surgery.
Things to Be Aware of After Your Surgery
- You may experience a loss of sensation or numbness in the area of your surgery. This is entirely normal and may take several months to disappear.
- The skin in the area of your surgery may appear shiny due to swelling. Within a few weeks, the swelling will disappear and the skin will return to a normal appearance.
- You may notice a tingling sensation in the surgical area. This feeling is a result of the healing of the nerves in the area and will go away within several months of your procedure.
- All symptoms of thigh lift surgery generally disappear within 4 to 6 months of the procedure.
What Are Possible Side Effects or Risks?
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk; however, major complications from thigh or thigh and buttock lift surgery are unusual. During your initial consultation with Dr. Ruff and his staff of West End Plastic Surgery, your individual risks will be assessed and discussed. As with any surgery, you can help reduce the risks by closely following the pre- and post-surgery instructions provided to you. Dr. Ruff and the staff will be with you every step of the way to ensure a safe and pleasing outcome.
Most likely risks include the following:
- Loss of sensation
How Long Will the Results of Your Thigh Lift Last?
Thigh lift surgery results in slimmer thighs with tighter and more evenly textured skin. These results generally last 5 to 10 years; however, large weight gain or pregnancy will affect how long the results last.
Questions You May Have
Are there other procedures that could be done along with thigh lift surgery to enhance the overall appearance of my upper thighs?
Buttock lift surgery is usually performed at the same time as thigh lift surgery to enhance the overall appearance of this area. In addition, Dr. Ruff at West End Plastic Surgery is the first specialist in the Washington, D.C. area certified to perform LipoSelection®, a much gentler form of liposuction that can be used to remove fat in the area near your thigh or thigh and buttock lift.
Will my insurance coverage pay for my thigh lift?
Thigh lift surgery is considered cosmetic surgery and, therefore, is not covered by insurance. You are responsible for the full payment of the procedure. Cost and payment information will be fully discussed with you during your initial consultation.
Are there alternatives to thigh lift surgery?
Options for improving the look of your upper thighs include weight loss and exercise, especially toning exercises. Liposuction may also greatly enhance the appearance of your upper thigh area.