Thigh Lift Scarring: What to Expect
Sudden or significant weight loss, or the aging process by itself can lead to sagging skin in the thigh area. A thigh lift, or thighplasty, can dramatically improve the appearance of the thighs by removing the excess tissue. This procedure is often combined with liposuction for a complete re-contouring of the upper legs.
Scarring after thigh lift surgery is unavoidable, but can be minimized with proper post-operative care. Learn more about what type of scarring to expect and how to reduce the appearance of scars.
Types of Thigh Lift Scars
Exactly where your scars will be depends on your unique body and the type of thigh lift you choose. Generally, a thigh lift scar will be located in the crease between the front of your upper thigh and the pubic area. These scars are extensive but can be usually be well-concealed by undergarments and bikinis.
- Medial Thigh Lift (Crescentic): Treats the inner thigh lift by removing skin, leaving a crescent-shaped scar in the groin crease. This scar is the least conspicuous of the thigh lift scars.
- Medial Thigh Lift (Extended): A more extensive inner thigh procedure that allows for skin removal around the knee. The resulting scar includes a groin component and a vertical inner thigh scar extending towards the knee area.
- Outer Thigh Lift: Outer thigh lifts allow for removal of lax skin of the outer thigh. The resulting scar lies in the hip area.
Scars will be most visible within the first 6 months after surgery. Initially, they may be somewhat pink. In melanated skin, they may appear dark or hyperpigmented in the early period. Over time, scars will smooth out, becoming softer and lighter in color. Your scar will be fully healed between 12-18 months after your procedure.
Can Scarring Be Prevented?
It’s not possible to completely prevent scarring, but it is possible to minimize a scar’s appearance. Most importantly, closely follow your doctor’s pre and post-operative instructions. In addition, consider the following tips:
- Use Silicone: Silicone products help modify the collagen fibers within the fresh scar as your skin heals.
- Minimize Sun Exposure: Scars exposed to the sun burn more easily than the surrounding skin and can become hyperpigmented, or permanently darkened. Avoid sun exposure and definitely wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) until your scars are fully healed.
- Scar massage: Approximately two weeks after surgery it’s safe to begin gently massaging your scar. Massaging helps limit the build-up of scar tissue, and remains effective until two years post-surgery when scars are fully healed.
- Use the right topicals: I’ve found that certain products that contain peptides and/or growth factors tend lead to improved scarring outcomes. There are tons of products on the market. Your doctor can customize your care in this regard. Feel free to reach out to us for more information.
This blog post has more information on ways to minimize scar appearance during the healing phases.
What If I Already Have Scarring?
While prevention is best, there are treatment options available that will reduce the appearance of a healed scar from a past thigh lift.
Laser Resurfacing: Laser resurfacing can be performed with a variety of laser types depending on the particular issue being addressed. Generally, lasers remove or agitate the top layer of the epidermis, promoting collagen generation in the process and improving scar appearance as a result. It typically takes 4-6 sessions, usually monthly, to achieve the final results.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): Intense Pulsed Light therapy has been proven effective for reducing the appearance of a variety of scar types. The treatment can also reduce pain or inflammation associated with scarring. Like laser resurfacing, 4-6 treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
Microneedling: Microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy for its ability to promote collagen production. The procedure punctures the surface of the skin with small, sterile needles to encourage cellular repair and new skin cell growth, which smooths scars. This is a good option for all skin types, but is a particularly nice option for skin of color since the risk of hypopigmentation is lower than that of many lasers.
Scar Revision Surgery: I reserve scar revision surgery for scars that are not responsive to the above interventions. I like to wait until at least a year of scar maturity before proposing scar revision. During this procedure, I remove the old scar, usually release the surrounding tissues, and carefully re-approximate the edges with the appropriate sutures.
The best plastic surgeons will carefully consider scarring and take measures to minimize incisions. During your consultation, your doctor will discuss the risks of scarring, along with your options for scar placement. While it’s not possible to eliminate scars, it is possible to prevent scars from interfering with the look of your thigh lift results.