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Experts Reveal 12 Secrets For Perfect Legs

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Experts Reveal 12 Secrets For Perfect Legs featured image

Our legs are hard to get in shape, and even harder to keep that way. We asked 10 doctors to spill their best-kept secrets for getting and maintaining to-die-for legs with help from some in-office options.

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Surgery is an option

“I have found a renewed interest in short scar thigh lifts to help with loose skin in the upper half of the thigh. Many of my patients have tried non-surgical treatments and are left with the desire to achieve a more significant change to the medial upper thigh. I design the incision to hug the bikini line to help keep the scar as hidden as possible. My patients are able to wear a two-piece swimsuit after they have healed. The effect of the surgery fades as you get closer to the knee, so I make sure their expectations are in line with what this procedure can offer. The scars tend to heal quite well, but there is some recovery involved and, like all surgical recoveries, down time from exercise. For those patients willing to have the procedure, this provides the most significant improvement to the shape and contour of the upper thighs.”

—Grand Rapids, MI plastic surgeon David R. Alfonso, MD

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Focus on the lower half

“An often overlooked way to improve the overall appearance of legs in men and women is exercise focusing on the lower extremities. Activities that I have seen work extremely well in my patients of any age include running, walking, cycling, lower extremity weight training and even swimming utilizing a swift kick. So, if you are in your 50s or 60s do not forget about exercise, it works and has benefits far beyond just your legs!”

—Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo R. McCafferty, MD

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Less is more

“While surgeries like lipo-sculpting and fat transfers often contribute to a great shape and improve the look of legs, sometimes less is more. Minimally invasive skin-tightening including subdermal radiofrequency tightening and external deep RF tightening like Morpheus8 Body can create great leg aesthetics. In addition, there are times where practitioners over-treat the legs, creating cosmetic nightmares. Approximately 20 percent of my leg consults are patients that went elsewhere and had liposuction to their anterior thighs. As we age, we lose muscle mass and skin loses elasticity, creating excess skin and wrinkles that can only be treated by skin-tightening treatments. The goal for providers should be to improve the appearance of legs now and ensure that with aging, legs age naturally and beautifully.”

—New York plastic surgeon Elie Levine, MD

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Non-invasive treatments work

“Several years ago, we decided to play with Coolsculpt Mini on the bulge above my own knees, somewhat as a joke. Low and behold, it actually worked really well, not only to smooth down the bulge, but I wasn’t left with significant skin wrinkles around my knees either! I did do two cycles per area on each side, but other than numb knees for a few weeks, there was zero downtime and we have been very happy with people’s results.”

—Pasadena, CA plastic surgeon Lily Lee, MD 

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Cellulite is not forever

“The best way to get perfect legs is to correct true cellulite and contour deformities. It is important to accurately define true cellulite. My definition is isolated indentations and short transverse bands in the skin, usually of the buttocks and thighs that is not due to skin excess or laxity. It affects the vast majority of most women to some degree. We have moved away from surgical division of the tethering bands that create these contour deformities to QWO, a new injectable that dissolves the collagen bands creating the deformity with two to three simple injections. Recently, we have visualized the cellulite with ultrasound imaging, which is super exciting. It is the single best technology I have seen to improve overall smoothing of the skin of the buttocks and thighs in patients with true cellulite.”

—Grand Rapids, MI plastic surgeon Bradley Bengtson, MD

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Fight the war against wrinkles 

“For knee wrinkles, I’ve found Ultherapy, a technology that uses ultrasound energy, shows significant improvement. It does not require multiple treatments, but further improvement can be seen with a second treatment performed no sooner than six months apart. It has the potential to restore the legs to a more youthful appearance.” 

—Pensacola, FL, plastic surgeon Jocelyn E. Leveque, MD


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Moisture is a must

“Drink plenty of water. Great hydration makes skin look good all over the body, not just on the face. For smoother skin on the legs, I tell my patients to use Revision Skincare Nectifirm ($92). It’s meant for the neck, of course, but it works beautifully on that loose, crepey skin over the knees, too.” 

—Atlanta plastic surgeon Carmen M. Kavali, MD

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The law of lipo

“In order to prevent contour irregularities on the legs from liposuction, the procedure has to be performed by a surgeon who understands the dynamic between skin contractility and fat suctioning. Certain areas of the thigh can result in significant abnormalities if not suctioned well. Unfortunately, I have seen many of these cases done by other doctors over the years.” 

—New York plastic surgeon Daniel Maman, MD


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Pick up the slack

“There are a number of skin-tightening procedures, like Thermage, Ultherapy and ThermiTight, that can be used to correct minor skin laxity on the legs. We’re using ThermiTight a lot right now, which tightens loose skin in areas like the knees. If there is a lot of looseness, as well as skin folds, then a surgical procedure needs to be done.” 

—Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist David Amron, MD


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Customized treatments garner the best results

“To treat cellulite and tighten skin on the thighs, we do a lot of Thermage and TriPollar for our patients; for some patients, I just use TriPollar— the timing and number of treatments are determined by the issues we are trying to treat because crepey skin is treated differently than fat. I time the first TriPollar treatment within the first seven to 10 days after the Thermage treatment for really nice results.” 

—Richmond, VA, plastic surgeon Ruth Hillelson, MD


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The basics are key

“It all starts with a healthy diet and exercise. All the plastic surgery in the world is not going to help your legs look good if you don’t have good underlying muscle tone. Besides going to the gym, you should run or walk at least 30 minutes a day and use stairs whenever they’re an option. Skip the elevator whenever you can.” 

—Princeton, NJ, plastic surgeon Adam Hamawy, MD

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Massage matters

“After performing a procedure on the legs to tackle cellulite, like Cellfina, I recommend that patients do lymphatic massage to help minimize swelling and expedite healing. And, of course, keep their skin well hydrated with lotion.” 

—Reno, NV, plastic surgeon Tiffany D. McCormack, MD


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