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Thigh Liposculpture

Fatty deposits on the inner and outer thighs are especially resistant to diet and exercise. Many patients become discouraged at having lost unwanted pounds without seeing a significant change in the lower body. The overall proportions of the body may be unbalanced. In these cases, liposuction can successfully trim the excess fat in the thighs to achieve a more attractive balance and symmetry to the body. In fact, this is the most common area of the body for liposuction.

If you're considering thigh liposuction, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure. For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult a plastic surgeon who is board certified or has completed a residency program that includes instruction in this procedure
A newly trim lower body can provide a psychological lift and an extra incentive to exercise regularly to maintain fitness. Many patients express relief at not being bothered by chafing in the thigh area, and they also find that clothes tend to fit them better.

How is thigh liposculpture performed?

Before surgery, the surgeon will mark the precise areas of the body where the fat is to be removed. An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted in a vein in your arm to make sure the fluid level in your body remains in balance. If you are not undergoing general anesthesia, you may be given a sedative for relaxation.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the skin, typically in or near the buttock crease or at the site of a previous scar, and inserts a thin tube called a cannula into the fatty area. The cannula is used to break up the fat deposits and sculpt the area to the desired proportions. The unwanted fat is removed with a high pressure vacuum, leaving the skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels intact.

In the super-wet technique, a saline solution containing a local anesthetic and adrenaline is injected into the area to be treated, which makes the fat deposits easier to break up and extract. This extra fluid also minimizes trauma to the surrounding tissue, reducing swelling and post-operative pain. The administration of adrenaline also decreases bleeding during surgery, further reducing risks.

The tumescent technique involves injecting a solution with a local anesthetic into the areas to be treated prior to suctioning. An incision is made near the area from which the fat is to be removed; and a specially designed surgical tube, called a cannula, is placed through the incision into the fat. The cannula is attached by flexible tubing to a vacuum pump that removes the fat by suction as the cannula is manipulated beneath the skin. Compared to other conventional liposuction techniques, the tumescent technique is more precise and accurate. This procedure minimizes blood loss, removes more fat and has a faster recovery time.

A relatively new method, ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), uses sound waves to liquefy the fat after the injection of fluids. Like the super-wet and tumescent techniques, UAL minimizes trauma, bruising and blood loss. UAL also minimizes trauma, causing less bruising and blood loss. It is particularly useful on difficult-to-treat fibrous areas of the body, such as the male chest, the upper abdomen, and the upper back.

Your surgeon will choose the best technique for you. His/her choice will be determined by a combination of factors, including the precise area to be treated, the amount of fat to be removed, his/her training and experience, as well as your personal preferences.

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How long does thigh liposculpture take?

The procedure generally takes one to two hours per thigh to complete.

What type of anesthesia is used?

Thigh liposculpture is usually performed using local anesthesia along with a light sedative to make you feel drowsy and relaxed. General anesthesia may also be used, causing you to be asleep during the whole procedure.

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Where is the procedure performed?

Thigh liposculpture is usually performed on an outpatient basis, in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite, an outpatient surgery center or hospital.

When can I return home and resume normal activities?

There is no hospital stay required and normal activities may be resumed within several days.

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How do I prepare for thigh liposculpture?

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance of your thighs is a matter of personal perception and preference, you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can determine the appropriate alternatives. You also should make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you to and from your procedure and to assist you with your daily activities during your recovery period.

Prior to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will perform a complete health history and physical examination to evaluate your overall weight, your skin and muscle tone and the overall distribution of fat deposits. In particular your surgeon will ask you about any problems you have had with high blood pressure, blood clotting or a tendency to develop large scars.

Knowledge of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention at this time. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will be given to you after the health history and physical is complete. Depending on your individual health status, the instructions may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's instructions.

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What precautions are necessary during recovery?

Most of the bruising and swelling should subside within three weeks. To speed the healing process and to reduce the likelihood of post-operative complications, your surgeon will probably tell you to begin light activity as soon as possible.

It's important to continue wearing the compression garment, which should be easily hidden under your clothing, until your doctor tells you that it is no longer necessary.

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What are the possible complications after thigh liposculpture?

After surgery, some patients experience dimpling, lumpiness, numbness, scarring, discoloration, or sagging skin in the treated area. Follow-up surgery may be needed to correct these problems.

UAL liposuction may cause friction burns to the skin or to the internal organs.

No procedure is without risks; however, the majority of complications known to be associated with a breast lift are minor when the procedure is performed by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. It is always important to be informed about the possible complications before any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your surgeon.

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What results can I expect after thigh liposculpture?

For the first couple of days, your legs will be stiff and sore. In addition, you may experience some pain, burning, swelling, bleeding or temporary numbness. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to alleviate any discomfort.

Your surgeon may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection at the incision sites. Your stitches will be removed in a week to 10 days, unless they dissolve on their own. You will be fitted with a compression band to cut down on swelling and to hold your buttocks in its new shape until the tissues have adjusted.

Since the normal aging process affects the firmness and elasticity of the skin, older patients may not experience results as dramatic as those typically achieved in younger patients. You should see the visible results of your surgery within two or three weeks, but the full effects may not be evident for six months to a year. The more fat that you had removed, the longer it will take to achieve optimal results, because the skin has to adapt to a more radical change in shape.

Most people are pleased with the new contour of their thighs and often feel a boost in energy and self-confidence.

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