Thigh Liposuction Vs. Thigh Lift

I want to get plastic surgery to improve/reduce my thighs, and I'm having trouble figuring out whether I need liposuction or a thigh lift. My thighs are large (larger than what would be expected for someone of my size), but they aren't smooth. On the inner thighs (the area I want done), there is some wrinkling that almost gives the appearance of sagging. I'd assumed it was fat, because I thought excess skin could only be caused by a large weight loss, which I haven't had. Is this true? I'm in my early 20's and wondering what type of procedure I should seek.

Doctor Answers 30

Usually liposuction leads to more loose skin

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Normally, liposuction leads to more loose skin. However, there are several technologies now which can tighten skin, from Thermage, to laser liposuction to Velashape. If there is too much laxity, a thigh lift can still be the best alternative. try to find a surgeon who is well versed and offers all of these technologies so you can choose the one that is truly best for your situation.

Thigh Lift or Lipo?

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First of all, a consult is essential, for there is a "touch and feel" element on the Doctor's part as to what he can accomplish with his techniques.

Having said that, a few comments:

1 Excercise will not tighten your skin, neither will liposuction

2 Lipo will change the contour of the thigh, but not improve (or may even worsen) the rippling in your skin.

3 A thigh lift can tighten skin AND change contour, but it has a longer recovery, and the scar has to be managed carefully.

4 The best results I have had have been staging the procedure, where I first do an aggressive lipo to "debulk" the inner thigh, then do a lift.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

You shouldn't decide what you want before you see experts for their advice

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It will not be necessary for you to pick a therapy (lift or lipo or combo) before you have in-person consultations with experienced plastic surgeons.

They can assess your general health, body proportions, the condition of your skin and subcutaneous fat, and the laxity or support. With these issues in mind they can discuss alternatives specifically tailored to you.

In general liposuction improves localized excess fat, and a thighlift improves lax skin and subcutaneous fat in some areas. The trade-offs and risks are considerably different for the two procedures.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon

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Thigh contouring options

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Liposuction and removal of excess skin of the thighs are both good options to contour them. Sometimes, both are done! A lot depends on whether you have just loose skin or loose skin and excess fat. Either way, you can get a great result. Talk with several plastics surgeons to get an idea of what you need and who you feel most comfortable with. Look at their before and after pictures as well. Good luck!

This requires a lot of judgement.

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You really need to be examined by an expert in cosmetic surgery. In general, since you are young and have not lost a lot of weight, I would say that circumferential (all around) liposuction of the thighs is what you need.

But what you describe in your inner thighs really needs to be evaluated carefully. You could conceivably need an inner thigh lift, which is the only kind of thigh lift that we do in New York.

My web site has links to the plastic surgery societies, where you can find names near you.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

You may need both

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The medial thighs can be a difficult area to treat. If there is significant contour irregularity it is likely due to both skin and fat. Without a picture my guess is that you will need both liposuction and a thigh lift. If there isn't significant skin that needs to be removed the thigh lift can be performed using only an incision in the groin crease and not down the leg. However, if there is significant skin than a axial or longitude incision will be needed. See several board certified plastic surgeons.

Optimize your lifestyle first

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The first thing you should do is examine your lifestyle. Optimize your activity level, exercise routines, and diet. The more fit you are, the safer and more specific the surgery will be. Unless you have loss significant weight and have skin laxity due to loss of elasticity and perhaps the presence of stretch marks, someone you age is usually not looking at a thing lift. However, even though much of your large thigh might be due to fat, the lack of smoothness might be a significant drawback to liposuction. A couple things to remember as you consult with plastic surgeons: it's all about the anatomy, and not every problem has a good surgical solution. Good luck.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

It really depends on your particular case...

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There are two factors that contribute to the appearance of sagginess on the thighs: excess fat/tissue, and loose skin. Skin can get stretched out from the fat deposits underneath. A lot of the time, after the weight is lost, the skin elasticity has been too stretched out to regain its former contours. If this is the case with your thighs, then liposuction alone (which only removes fat cells) is not going to improve the look of your thighs, and may actually make the look of hanging skin worse. It is important to schedule a consultation with a skilled plastic surgeon so they can evaluate your situation in person.

David N. Sayah, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Liposuction vs a lift for the legs

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This is something that can be evaluated during your consultation.  Liposuction can be performed to debulk the legs but excessive treatment may cause skin laxity especially if the skin was of poor quality.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


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Dear 112308

You ask a very good question.... and it really can only be answered with a consultation and a physical examination. There may not be a perfect solution for the irregularity of your skin. A medial thigh lift can help but unless you have a lot of skin laxity you may be trading for a scar that can be unsightly.

With Warmest Regards

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.