Thigh-lift – Post-operative period

Post-operative recuperation is considered to be an integral part of surgery as the achievement of the expected results, as well as the success of the operation, depend on it. Therefore, post-operative visits play a pivotal role in the healing process, as they allow the early detection and treatment of complications. They are usually held at 7, 14, 28 days, 3, 6 and 12 months post-op.

Upon discharge, a letter with post-operative instructions will be provided; medication prescribed (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, pain-killers); and any necessary precautions will be clearly described.

Good personal hygiene is crucial for proper healing and to avoid wound infection. In light of this, the surgeon will provide clear instructions for wound management. For example, during the first two weeks after the surgery wounds must not be wetted.

After a thigh lift, more than in any other post-bariatric body contouring procedure, meticulous disinfection of the surgical wounds is crucial. Bacteria in the groin areas, as well as skin maceration, present a high risk of infection. Wound cleansing with a disinfectant seven to eight times daily is mandatory for correct healing throughout the first two weeks after surgery. Dissolvable sutures are usually used, so there is no need for stitch removal.

In the days following the operation it is preferable to follow a light diet, until normal bowel function is resumed.

After surgery, especially if extended liposuction was performed, bruises may appear which may take around two weeks to recede. Swelling is more or less evident according to personal predisposition and the extent of the procedure. Swelling subsides significantly in the first two weeks post-op, but may persist for months afterwards. It may be more apparent on one side. It is normal to experience some numbness on the thighs for a few months after the surgery.

In order to prevent the swelling and accelerate resorption, it is essential to wear a compression and suspension garment, for the thighs and legs (pantyhose), day and night for two months. Attention must be paid to the correct application of this garment, as it must be adjusted and adequately fitted in order to provide even and homogeneous pressure, without causing grooves or indentations. Additionally, the compression garment has the important function of sustaining and lifting the thighs, so as to reduce tension on the groin, preventing  wound reopening. For the same reason, during the first month post-op, movements which may stretch the inner thigh areas must be limited.

From the second month, once site tenderness has completely gone, lymphatic drainage massage or LPG endermologie (a technique for massage and tissue stimulation) help to eliminate swelling and dissolve subcutaneous lumps, which can form after liposculpture.

Post-operation, patients are unfit for work for at least three weeks.  If prolonged or considerable physical exertion is required, a longer rest period is necessary.  Normal activities such as driving, house-work, sexual intercourse and socialising can be resumed after two to three weeks. Mild exercise may be resumed after three weeks, but for more intense exercise, it is preferable to wait at least three months.

Thigh contouring procedures result in more or less extended scars. In order to achieve the best results, in terms of scar quality and hence visibility, in case of a vertical scar on the inner thigh, it is advisable to apply paper tape to scars for three months, replacing them every ten days. In this way, skin tension, which may cause scar widening, is reduced.  Afterwards, silicone gel should be applied for a few months, to facilitate optimal scarring. Sunscreen must be applied to the scars for at least three months and elasticizing creams are prescribed for application on the thighs.

During post-op visits, starting from the first month, photographs are taken to monitor progress.