Thigh lift surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that helps tighten loose skin on the upper thigh. While it’s not as common as other cosmetic surgeries, thigh lift is often sought after by women who are uncomfortable with the appearance of their thighs. You can expect to see results immediately after surgery and for the benefits to last for years.
However, there’s no denying that thigh lift recovery can be challenging. The procedure isn’t typically performed in one session; instead, it will require multiple days in the hospital or at home with your leg elevated.
The amount of time it takes for you to recover from a thigh lift depends on several factors, including your health and age, your general fitness level, whether you smoke or take medication, and the extent of your procedure.
During your recovery period, you may experience swelling and bruising but these should subside after two weeks. If you notice any excessive bleeding or severe pain at any point during the healing process, contact your plastic surgeon immediately.
If you’re thinking about having a thigh lift and are curious about what to expect during recovery, here are some things to keep in mind:
You will need to wear a compression garment
This will help reduce swelling and keep the skin pulled tight over the underlying muscle and tissue. You should not remove the garment unless instructed by your doctor or physical therapist.
Avoid prolonged sitting.
Sitting for long periods of time can cause swelling and pain in the thighs. To avoid this, try moving around every 20 minutes or so. You can also stand up and walk around for a few minutes once an hour if possible. If you have an office job, try using a standing desk in addition to taking frequent walks around the office. This will help reduce swelling in the thighs and improve circulation.
Talk to your surgeon about pain management.
You’ll most likely have some discomfort after your surgery. Talk with your doctor about what pain medications will be safe for you to take during the first few days after your procedure. Some people find that taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen helps relieve discomfort from swelling and soreness, while others prefer prescription medications such as codeine or hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin). Your surgeon should prescribe a prescription pain medication that’s best suited for your needs based on his or her knowledge of your medical history and how much blood you lose during surgery.
Make sure you have support at home for the first few days following surgery.
Your doctor may recommend that someone stay with you after your procedure so that they can help with your medications, dressing changes and other things related to your health. If you don’t have anyone who can help out, ask if there are any organizations or groups in your community that offer free or low-cost respite care services.
Drink plenty of fluids.
The more water you drink, the less likely you are to develop dry mouth or dehydration during your recovery period. This will also help prevent swelling around your incisions and make you feel more energetic overall.
Watch out for signs of infection or other complications.
The risks of infection are higher with any surgical procedure than with non-surgical procedures, so it’s important to watch out for signs of infection or other complications. If you notice redness, swelling, or pain around the incision site, contact a medical professional immediately.
Don’t forget to get up and move around every day, even if it’s just a little bit at a time.
While recovering from your thigh lift surgery, it is important that you do not resume any strenuous activity such as running or cycling until at least three weeks after your surgery has taken place. This will ensure that there are no further complications during or after your recovery period such as bleeding, infection or scarring which can cause pain and discomfort while exercising.
Eat plenty of healthy fruits, vegetables and lean proteins while you heal.
After your thigh lift, you will need to eat a well balanced diet. This includes healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Be sure to stay away from processed foods and sugar as much as possible. Processed foods are often high in sugar, sodium and other preservatives that can interfere with healing and cause complications.
Avoid alcohol and smoking during the recovery period.
Alcohol can increase blood pressure and make you more prone to bleeding, while smoking can cause irritation to your lungs from coughing. Both can make it difficult for you to heal properly following surgery. Your doctor will advise you on when it is safe to resume drinking alcohol after surgery — but generally speaking, it should be avoided for at least two weeks after your procedure.
Reduce swelling with ice and elevation
Apply ice packs several times per day, beginning 24 hours after surgery and continuing for three days or longer if needed, depending on the amount of swelling and pain experienced at that time. We suggest using an ice pack or cold compress (such as an instant cold pack) that is wrapped in a towel; this will help protect your skin from frostbite as well as provide comfort during treatment. The area should be wrapped tightly enough so that it does not leak water but loose enough so it doesn’t freeze solid — which would cause more damage than good! You can also use two instant cold packs together to increase effectiveness; just be sure they’re wrapped in a towel.
After surgery, you’ll have a drain under your skin that may be attached to a tube that drains into a bag. It’s important to keep this area clean and dry, so wear loose-fitting clothing that allows air circulation and easy access for the nurse or doctor to check the drain.
Keep Your Incision Clean and Take Care Of It.
Your incision is where your surgeon made the cut to remove fat and skin from your body. It’s also where they inserted their instruments to do the work. To prevent infection and scarring, it’s important that you keep your incision clean and dry. That means no baths or showers until your doctor says it’s okay. They will give you specific instructions about how to care for your incision at home after surgery.
Get plenty of rest
Your body needs rest so it can heal properly! When possible, take naps throughout the day instead of forcing yourself into sitting upright all day long; this will allow your body time to heal while still allowing you to function normally outside of bedtime hours when needed. Also consider using an electric recliner chair if you have one available; they’re great for helping with circulation while sitting upright for long periods of time!
Use a Pillow between Your Legs During Sleep
The most important thing you can do after having a thigh lift is to keep your legs elevated as much as possible. This will help reduce swelling and discomfort. The best way to do this is with a pillow between your legs while sleeping at night and whenever you’re sitting or laying down during the day. A pillow propped under each knee will give them sufficient elevation when you’re resting in bed at night — especially if you are trying to sleep on your back. If you’re more comfortable sleeping on one side or another, then try placing pillows along either side of your body so that they support your thighs on either side of your pelvis at about hip level.
Do not drive until you have complete control over your feet.
Use a walker or wheelchair if needed. Don’t carry heavy objects, and avoid bending over. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy after surgery to help with strength and flexibility exercises.
Follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions.
The specific instructions will depend on the type of surgery performed, but the general guidelines are similar for all procedures. For example, you’ll likely be told not to drive or operate heavy machinery for a few days after surgery. You should also avoid strenuous exercise, such as running or weight lifting, until your doctor says it’s okay.
Apply ointment or cream to your incisions.
You should apply ointment or cream to your incisions every time you take a shower until they have healed completely, which could take 3 months or more. If you don’t have any creams or ointments prescribed by your doctor, petroleum jelly works just as well. Make sure not to use any lotions, including moisturizers, on your incisions until they’ve healed completely. This can cause infection or slow down healing time by irritating the skin around the incision sites.
Take it easy on yourself during recovery.
Don’t overexert yourself or engage in any strenuous activities until your doctor says it’s OK — which may not be until weeks after your procedure. This includes light exercise such as walking, but not jogging or running until after several weeks or longer depending on the extent of your surgery.
Take pain medication as directed by your doctor.
You might need pain medication before and after surgery depending on what type of procedure is performed and how much tissue was removed during the operation. The amount and frequency of pain medication may change over time as well — for example, patients who undergo liposuction may experience less swelling than those who have an abdominoplasty due to removing more fat cells during their operation.