If you’ve taken a look at fashion or fitness magazines lately, you have most likely encountered the phrase “thigh gap.” A thigh gap is simply the space between your upper thighs. Some people have on naturally, due to their body shape or the size of their thighs. Others would like to get a thigh gap, both for cosmetic reasons and to reduce the discomfort felt when the thighs rub together.
In most cases, diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to help you get that coveted space between your thighs. Fortunately, there are a number of options, both surgical and non-surgical, that can help you achieve the shape and size of thighs you’ve been seeking.
CoolSculpting is a non-surgical way to eliminate excess fat from the body. At first, the device was approved for use around the hips and tummy. It was most recently approved by the FDA (in April 2014) for use on the thigh area. The CoolSculpt applicators can be used on both the inner and outer thigh area.
The treatment is completely non-invasive, has little to no recovery time and doesn’t leave a scar. In most cases, patients see results in a few months and only need one treatment. A CoolSculpting session on the thighs typically takes about two hours, or about one hour per leg.
CoolSculpting works by freezing the fat. The cold temperature destroys the fat cells, which are then attacked by the body’s white blood cells and converted into triglycerides. The liver is then able to flush the triglycerides out of the body as part of the lymphatic process.
You’ll be able to drive yourself home after your CoolSculpting session and should be able to get back to your regular life right away. Your doctor will most likely recommend holding off on exercise for about two weeks, though. You should see your doctor for a followup about a week after the treatment, then again after a few months to evaluate the results
Another way to remove extra fat from the inner thigh area to get a thigh gap is with liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that permanently removes fat. It might be a better option for some patients than CoolSculpting, depending on the quality of the fat and the amount you have. During your consultation with the surgeon, he will review your medical history and examine your thigh area before recommending one procedure or the other.
Typically, an ideal patient for liposuction has elastic skin and a good amount of muscle tone, as well as no more than a moderate amount of extra fat. Good muscle tone and skin elasticity are a must to help the thighs maintain their shape after the procedure.
The procedure takes up to three hours. The surgeon will make several small incisions, then remove the fat from the desired area. After the appropriate amount of fat has been removed, the incisions are closed and the surgery over.
You’ll need about a week to recover after the liposuction procedure and then should wait another few weeks before you start exercising again.
While CoolSculpting or liposuction are appropriate for patients who have just a bit of extra fat, if you have loose thigh muscle and skin, as well as excess fat, a thighlift might be a better way to get the shape of thigh you want. An extended thigh lift might also be an option, depending on the amount of skin and fat you have in that area. You may also have the surgery performed along with liposuction, if there is an ample amount of extra fat.
During the standard thigh lift, the surgeon will usually cut a moon-shaped area of skin from the back of the mid thigh to the front of the mid thigh, which removes the extra skin and tightens the thigh. The extended version of the surgery also removes extra skin along the inner side of the thigh, down to the knee.
Recovery after a thigh lift is considerably longer than after liposuction or CoolSculpting. You may need to take up to two weeks off from work to recover and will have to wait about four weeks before you can work out. Most patients see the final results from their surgery within 12 months.
Discussing your concerns and desires with a surgeon is a must when deciding which thigh procedure is right for you. At the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute, Dr. Bitar and Dr. Lickstein will explain your options to you and make a recommendation based on the state of your thighs and what you hope to have happen. For a consultation in the Washington, DC area, call (703) 206-0506 today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.