Thigh lift risks & complications
What are the main thigh lift risks and complications?
All surgical procedures, including a thigh lift, carry some risk of complications occurring. You must be aware of these before you can fully consent to the operation. Some of the potential thigh lift risks and complications include:
This is a collection of fluid that may build up under the skin’s surface. This often occurs close to the incision site, usually underneath it. To prevent this happening, you may have a small drain left under the skin to remove this fluid. This should be removed before you go home.
Some seromas resolve by themselves over time. However, if you develop a large seroma, your surgeon may need to drain it.
As a thigh lift is a surgical procedure, it will inevitably leave a scar. Your surgeon will try and make this as discreet as possible. However, if scarring is a big issue for you, you may choose to opt for a mini thigh lift. This procedure produces a very small scar in the groin.
Bruising & swelling
After your thigh lift, you will have some bruising and swelling on the thighs. This is normal and may last around two to three weeks. You may also find that your feet and calves swell after the procedure. This should also clear within two to three weeks.
There is a risk that you may develop an infection after your surgery. Although in most cases this is a mild wound infection, any sort of infection should be taken seriously.
Mild infections should clear with antibiotics. Rarely, more serious infections can occur. It is important that you tell your surgeon if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- A temperature over 38°C
- The skin around your incision site becoming increasingly red and tender
- If you have any yellow or foul-smelling pus coming from your wound
- Increasing pain that your pain medication cannot control
If bleeding occurs, it usually happens immediately after surgery. However, it may occur two to three weeks after. If more severe bleeding occurs, you will be taken back to the operating room where it will be treated.
General surgical complications
General surgical complications may include:
- Reactions to the anesthetic
- Blood clot formation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood loss
You should inform your surgeon if you have experienced any of these in the past. It is also important that you report immediately to a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after surgery:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Unusual heart beats
- Chest pain
- Sore swollen leg, that is warm and difficult to touch
There is a risk that during a thigh lift procedure, some areas of tissue, fat or skin may lose their blood supply. If this occurs, the affected area may die, causing it to feel firm and look uneven. You will need surgery to correct this. The risk of necrosis occurring is increased if you smoke. Therefore, we recommend that you are smoke and nicotine free for at least 6 weeks before the procedure.
Changes in skin sensation
In a thigh lift, your surgeon removes any excess skin and fat and then tightens the underlying supportive tissue. Because of this re-positioning of the thigh tissue, the nerves that supply your legs and feet may be damaged. Therefore, you may feel some altered sensation in these areas in the days after your surgery. The altered sensations may include an increase or decrease in sensitivity, or a burning or tingling sensation. This should resolve within a few months of the procedure but may become permanent.
After surgery, your surgeon will close the incisions with either absorbable or non-absorbable sutures. There is a risk that they may become visible, irritable or poke through the skin. If your stitches do become visible or irritable, your surgeon will need to remove them.
There is a small chance you may be unhappy with the final result of your thigh lift. We, therefore, advise that all patients pick their surgeons carefully. You must make sure that you are honest and candid about what you would like to achieve from surgery.
Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will aim to reduce the likelihood of these thigh lift risks and complications occurring. It is also essential that you follow the pre- and post-operative advice given to help lower the risk of any of these complications occurring.