Thigh Lift

Operation Duration
Hospital Stay
Total Stay
Approximate Recovery

What is a thigh lift?

A thigh lift (thighplasty) is a cosmetic surgery that removes excess skin and fat, reshaping your thighs to give you a more contoured appearance. It also relieves pain and irritation that occurs when your thighs continuously rub against each other.Who gets a thigh lift?You may consider getting a thigh lift procedure if you lose a significant amount of weight. Major weight loss can lead to poor skin tone and loss of elasticity in areas that store excess fat, like your thighs. This can cause:
  • Cellulite or lumpy, dimpled skin.
  • Rashes or chafing.
  • Bleeding and discoloration.
  • Sagging skin.
Who is a candidate for a thigh lift?You may be a candidate for thigh lift surgery if you:
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Have any underlying medical conditions that are well managed (like diabetes), or you don’t have any conditions that can complicate your recovery.
  • Have maintained your goal weight for a year, and don’t plan to lose more.
A surgeon will evaluate whether you’re a candidate for a thigh lift procedure by checking your general health and medical history.How common is a thigh lift?Plastic surgeons performed over 9,000 thigh lift procedures in 2020 in the United States according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Procedure Details

How should I prepare for this procedure?

Before your surgery, you’ll meet with your plastic surgeon, who’ll go over the procedure with you and answer any questions. During this consultation, your surgeon will examine your skin, learn about your goals and expected outcome, and let you know about possible side effects. Your surgeon may take pictures of your thighs to compare before and after results.Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how you can prepare for surgery, which may include taking certain medications or stopping smoking.

What happens during a thigh lift?

A thigh lift takes place in a hospital, accredited in-office surgical facility or ambulatory surgery center.On the day of your surgery, here’s what to expect:
  • Before the procedure, your surgeon marks incision lines while you’re standing. They may position the sagging skin at different angles to guide these efforts.
  • Your anesthesiologist will give you anesthesia to put you to sleep so you won’t feel any pain during the surgery.
  • Your surgeon makes an incision in your groin. Depending on the type of thigh lift you have, the incision may extend around the back of your thigh, down toward your knee or around your hip and back.
  • Your surgeon removes fat, repositions tissue and tightens nearby muscles. They also trim away excess skin.
  • Stitches (sutures) help secure tissue deep in your thigh to support your new shape.
  • Before completing the procedure, your surgeon uses stitches, clips or a special skin adhesive to close the incision.
Where will I have thigh lift scars?You’ll have scars from a thigh lift on the location of the incision or area where your surgeon cut your skin. The incision location and size depend on which part of your thigh you wish to target. Options include:
  • Mini thigh lift repairs sagging in the upper and inner region of your thigh. It uses a small incision in your groin.
  • Inner (medial) thigh lift tightens the inner part of your thigh. It requires an incision that starts in your groin and extends around the back of your thigh below your butt. Another technique involves a vertical incision from your groin to your knee.
  • Outer (bilateral) thigh lift targets fat and excess skin near your waist and butt. The incision starts in your upper groin, wraps around your hip and extends across your back at the waistline.
  • Spiral thigh lift sculpts your thigh with an incision that extends from your butt to your groin to target several areas of your thigh, including the front, back, inner and outer thigh.
How long does thigh lift surgery take?Thigh lift surgery may take two hours to complete. Your surgeon will go over the time estimate with you during your consultation.Can I get other cosmetic procedures done at the same time as a thigh lift?You may choose to get more than just one cosmetic procedure done at the same time as a thigh lift. It’s common for people to also receive a butt lift or a lower body lift while they’re getting a thigh lift done. Your surgeon will let you know if it’s possible to combine different procedures to meet your goals.

What happens after a thigh lift?

After a thigh lift surgery, you’ll move to a recovery area until you wake up from general anesthesia. You may need to stay in the hospital after your surgery, or your surgeon will allow you to go home on the same day. You should plan to have someone drive you home after your surgery.Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to care for your surgical site at home. You’ll need plenty of rest, and you should avoid moving around a lot or participating in strenuous activities until your surgeon says it’s safe to do so.Your thighs will feel sore, and you may have mild swelling for several days after surgery.After a week, you’ll have a follow-up appointment so your care team can see how your surgical site is healing.

Risks / Benefits

What are the benefits of a thigh lift?

Benefits of a thigh lift include:
  • Smoother thighs.
  • Reshaped thighs.
  • Reduced appearance of stretch marks.
  • Reduced friction rashes.
  • Tighter muscles.
  • Less sagging skin.
  • More confidence in your appearance.

What are the risks of a thigh lift?

Potential risks of a thigh lift include:
  • Asymmetry (one thigh’s shape doesn’t match the other).
  • Bleeding.
  • Changes in skin sensation.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Fluid accumulation (seroma).
  • Infection.
  • Numbness.
  • Poor wound healing or closure (dehiscence).
  • Swelling (edema).

Recovery and Outlook

What can I expect after a thigh lift?

After your thigh lift procedure, you’ll need a lot of rest so your thighs can heal. You should rest your legs as much as possible for up to 10 days. During this time, you should stay home from work or school. Your plastic surgeon will let you know when you can go back.You’ll likely need to wear compression garments for at least six weeks. Most people resume daily activities within six weeks.The procedure requires large incisions that may be sensitive to movement, temperature and touch. Carefully follow all care instructions that your surgeon gave you. Your surgeon may have placed small, temporary tubes under your skin to clear blood and other fluid. Prescription and over-the-counter medications can help you stay comfortable.Complications after a thigh lift aren’t uncommon, but they’re usually not serious. You may experience issues with wound healing or fluid buildup. These issues may need extra medical care, but corrective surgery is rarely necessary.Scars from the surgery will fade over time but not completely go away. You may also lose some firmness in your thighs as you age or if you gain weight.When will I see the results of a thigh lift?Your incision sites should heal after six weeks. The swelling should go away completely after six months. After six months, you’ll see the results of your thigh lift.

When To Call the Doctor

When should I call my healthcare provider?

Call your healthcare provider if you experience signs of complications. These include:
  • Bleeding.
  • Fever or chills (infection).
  • An incision that’s unusually sore to touch.
  • Leg swelling.
  • Pain that’s not responding to medications.
  • Slow-healing wounds, meaning there isn’t significant healing in the first couple of weeks.
A note from Cleveland ClinicA thigh lift is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and sagging skin from your thighs. You may choose to get this procedure if you lose a lot of weight and have sagging thighs that don’t improve with exercise. The procedure typically requires a large incision, which can increase your risk of complications. But they’re typically minor. Most people make a full recovery within six months.


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