Thigh Lift

Thigh lift, sometimes called thighplasty, is a term that describes a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the inner thigh and lift sagging tissues. At Dr. Kenkel's practice in Dallas, thigh lift is sometimes combined with liposuction to further enhance the contours of the thighs. Thigh lift is often indicated for individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight, as they can often be left with excess, loose skin that must be surgically removed. In other cases, simple aging can be the cause of lost tone in the thighs.

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel understands the transformative power of thigh lift and other body contouring procedures. To learn how you can get started, request a consultation online or call our UT Southwestern office at (214) 645-3112.

Am I a good candidate for thigh lift?

During your consultation with Dr. Kenkel, he reviews any life or medical events that may have contributed to the changes in your thighs. Based on his findings during the physical examination and your own goals for surgery, Dr. Kenkel determines which procedures best suit you. In general, patients who are in good general health and have realistic expectations are ideal candidates for surgery. If you decide to proceed with surgery, Dr. Kenkel may have you see your primary care physician to ensure you're healthy enough for surgery.

What should I expect from my consultation?

Your initial consultation includes a physical examination and an extensive discussion about your medical history and lifestyle. Dr. Kenkel asks you questions about topics such as your blood pressure, risk of blood clots, and whether you have a tendency to develop excessive scarring. It's important that you come to your consultation with a list of your medical problems, past surgeries, and any current medications and allergies. Dr. Kenkel and his staff keep your safety foremost in their minds.

After the examination, he reviews your options. He discusses their potential benefits and any associated risks they may carry. He helps you understand how these options can help you achieve your aesthetic goals, as well as their associated recovery times, risks, and benefits.

After your consultation, a photographer takes pictures for your medical record. Finally, you'll meet with Dr. Kenkel's coordinator to discuss the cost of surgery as well as scheduling.

How is thigh lift performed?

Here in Dallas, thigh lift is performed in our operating suite while you are under general anesthesia, which means you'll be unconscious for the duration of the procedure. Liposuction may be added to your procedure and performed at the same time.

There are 2 distinct incision options for thigh lift surgery, and Dr. Kenkel helps you understand which may be best for you. The first incision is located primarily in the groin crease and can extend to the backside, along the buttock crease. The length of this incision is directly proportionate to the amount of loose skin that a patient has. This type of incision is used primarily in patients that have more loose skin higher on their thighs. It does not affect the mid to lower portion of the thigh.

The second incision runs vertically along the inner aspect of the thigh. This type of incision is reserved for more diffuse skin laxity of the entire thigh. The incision length can vary and may extend from the mid-thigh to below the knee. This type of incision is commonly used in patients who have lost significant weight through lifestyle changes or surgery.

Once he's made the incisions, Dr. Kenkel removes the unwanted skin and tightens the remaining skin for a smooth contour. He uses dissolvable sutures to close the incisions and protects them with surgical tape. Often, we apply compression garments to the thighs, which help control swelling. Dr. Kenkel places a small, thin drainage tube just below the skin to reduce fluid buildup. The drain may be in place for up to 1 week.

What happens the day of surgery?

Prior to your procedure, we offer you oral anti-anxiety medication to relax you and keep you comfortable. However, since thigh lift is performed while you are under general anesthesia, you'll be unconscious for the entire surgery. Thigh lift surgery typically takes about 3 hours to complete, depending on your specific needs.

After your thigh lift, we require you to stay overnight in the hospital or our medically staffed hotel facility, Medallion Guest Suites. This patient care document offers tips on how to prepare for surgery as well as what you can expect afterward.

What is recovery like?

Pain is very subjective and patient specific. That being said, you will likely require some pain medicine in the early part of your recovery. Most patients are able to transition to over-the-counter pain medication by the end of the first week. You can expect to feel some numbness in your thighs after surgery. When you're not up and about, it's important to keep your legs elevated to help decrease swelling. Depending on the amount of swelling you experience, Dr. Kenkel may place you on a diuretic to help reduce fluid buildup.

While you'll be able to move about on the first day after surgery, plan on taking it easy for at least 2 weeks after your procedure. It's important to note that you will retain fluid after surgery and it can take several weeks to fully eliminate them from your body. You may also experience some bruising that can persist for a few weeks. Recovering from surgery can leave you feeling tired or easily fatigued, even after you stop taking pain medication. It's common and normal for recovering patients to nap during the day. Occasionally, plastic surgery patients experience a phase of disappointment or depression after surgery. This is often related to being "out of commission" during the healing process and feeling discouraged by swelling, bruising, or soreness. Although these feelings are normal and temporary, it's important to have a good support system at home. Dr. Kenkel also encourages you to share your feelings with him during your follow-up appointments. By the 3rd week after surgery, most patients feel much better as they begin to see their final results taking shape. If you work in an office, you can expect to be back to work within 2 to 3 weeks.

What should I know about my results?

Once your swelling and bruising have resolved, there may be some ongoing changes. Your incisions continue to mature but may take between 6 and 12 months to fade completely. Incisions can appear raised or dimpled for several months. This is normal. Dr. Kenkel offers you instructions for properly caring for your incisions.

How many visits will I have after surgery?

If drains are present, you'll need to return to the office within 3 to 5 days of surgery. You'll have another visit scheduled 7 to 10 days after surgery to monitor your progression. During your postoperative visits, Dr. Kenkel discusses further postoperative activity as well as any concerns you may have.

How much does thigh lift cost?

During your initial consultation, we offer you a quote that includes Dr. Kenkel's fee as well as the fees charged by the surgical facility and staff. All fees must be paid in full at least 2 weeks prior to your surgery, and a $500 deposit reserves your surgery date and time. We accept checks, money orders, cash, and credit cards.