Have you noticed a major emphasis on legs recently? Well, you aren’t alone: simply scroll through your Instagram feed or pick up a magazine and chances are you’ll find photo after another of models, celebrities, and influencers showing off their long, svelte pins, whether it be on the red carpet or in street-style photos. The new trend, coupled with the resurgence of leg-bearing silhouettes, (like slits slashed up to the hip, tiny denim shorts and high-cut swimsuits), have put a newfound focus on gams, resulting in the latest plastic surgery craze: thighlighting.
From thigh lifts to liposuction and contouring of the inner and outer thighs, “thighlighting” is the term given to a series of combined plastic surgery procedures that are performed to achieve the desired results, which can vary depending on which doctor you turn to. It isn’t just about slimming down: it’s about creating a more proportional appearance with a full leg makeover.
“Overall the combination approach of thighlighting provides a more comprehensive method of shaping and enhancing the appearance of the entire leg rather than just traditional liposuction alone.”
“Thighlighting is a new innovative concept in plastic surgery in which the shape, contour, and length proportions of the thigh and calves are optimized to enhance the appearance of the legs,” Dr. Richard Reish, MD, FACS explains, noting a dramatic rise in patients seeking the treatment over the course of the last year.
He says his patients often reference Kendall Jenner’s legs when they express interest in the procedure, lamenting over the appearance of cellulite, saddle bags, and excess fat. “As fashion emphasizes greater exposure of the full length leg in dresses and shorts, more and more patients are seeking to gain a more slender and proportionally lengthened look for their thighs.”
Dr. Reish, a Harvard-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon, treats the entire leg all at once, for “a more dramatic and harmonious result.”
He performs a combination of treatments on his patients to achieve the desired look. “In my practice we accomplish this with a combination approach of liposuction techniques user vaser and power assisted liposuction to remove fat and innovative micro-fat grafting techniques to gently enhance curves of the mid and upper thighs,” he says. “Bodytite, a combination of liposuction and radiofrequency, can also be used to remove fat and tighten the skin at the same time. In patients with little of no fat donor sites available for fat grafting, sculptra injections can be performed to enhance curves in the thighs and calves.”
Sculptra (or polyactic acid) enhances the body’s natural collagen production. “It can lead to lasting results and this can be done in combination with Cellfina, a noninvasive method of cellulite reduction,” he adds.
Permanent results and minimal downtime contribute to the rise in popularity of the procedure, which takes 1-2 hours and is performed in one day — although it’ll cost you anywhere from $4,000-$10,000, depending on the combination of procedures, geographic region, and expertise of the surgeon.
“Typically, patients can return to work within 1-3 days but should expect bruising on the legs for 3-4 days and sometimes up to two weeks, depending on the extent of their procedure,” Dr. Reish explains. “There is minimal pain involved with these procedures and the results are permanent for most patients.”
An ideal candidate is anyone that’s close to their goal body weight and has good skin elasticity, in the 20-60 age range. “Overall the combination approach of Thighlighting provides a more comprehensive method of shaping and enhancing the appearance of the entire leg rather than just traditional liposuction alone,” he adds.
For patients who aren’t ready to go under the knife, Dr. Reish recommends Coolsculpting and Cellfina as two viable options that can improve the overall appearance of one’s legs.
Whether you opt for a comprehensive approach or prefer a less invasive option, be sure to do your research before you commit to surgery. “During you consultation, make sure that you don’t feel rushed and that you have adequate time with your surgeon: not just their patient coordinator or nurses,” Dr. Reish stresses. If the majority of your consultation is spent with someone other than your surgeon, it’s not a good sign.
With awards season upon us followed by spring, we’re bound to see an array of leggy looks–but is it enough to inspire a full leg makeover?