JOURNAL ARTICLE
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The circumferential thigh lift and vertical extension circumferential thigh lift: maximizing aesthetics and safety in lower extremity contouring.

Excess skin and soft tissue of the thighs after massive weight loss (MWL) can present with varying degrees of severity. The classic medial thigh lift has considerable limitations in the postbariatric population, inspiring the quest for safer and more effective technical solutions. In this study, the circumferential thigh lift (CTL), and CTL with vertical extension, predicated on a theoretical and technical approach that improves safety and aesthetics in thighplasty after MWL, is described and evaluated. Nine patients were treated; all patients experienced MWL and all had previously undergone first-stage contouring with circumferential abdominal dermolipectomy. Patients were treated with a prone-to-supine approach with concomitant suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL). Lumbar and lateral thigh and infragluteal skin and fat were excised to the midaxillary lines and medial thigh meridians. Direct excision of anterolateral thigh skin was carried in a superficial plane into the medial thigh to confluence with the posterior excision. No direct undermining of any skin margin was performed. When soft-tissue excess is limited to the proximal third of the thigh, a horizontal excision pattern is used; with middle and lower one-third thigh excess, a vertical extension is employed. The medial superficial fascial system is anchored to the superficial perineal fascia. Data were reviewed retrospectively. In the 9 procedures performed, 3 achieved MWL by nonsurgical means, and 6 underwent bariatric surgery (bypass or band). Three patients were treated with CTL, and 6 with CTL with vertical extension. There were 3 seromas (33%) treated with percutaneous aspiration. There was 1 case of cellulitis (11%) treated successfully with in-office incision and drainage, and oral antibiotics. There were no hematomas, skin loss, wound dehiscences, lymphedema, or vulvar distortions. The circumferential excision of thigh excess without direct undermining allows for the maintenance of a rich blood supply to skin margins, and concomitant SAL improves thigh contour while providing discontinuous thigh undermining. Anchoring of the superficial fascial system to superficial perineal fascia reinforces the medial lift and prevents scar migration. CTL with or without vertical extension can be combined with SAL to maximize safety and aesthetic results after MWL.

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