Thigh Lift

Is a thigh lift for me?
You may want to consider a Thigh Lift if you want to:

  • Remove excess fat, tissue and skin from the thighs
  • Improve dimpled, bumpy skin
  • Restores a more normal shape and contour to the thighs

What is Thigh Lift Surgery?

A thigh lift, technically called a thighplasty, is a surgical procedure to correct loose, saggy skin and excess fat deposits in the thighs. As we age, the effects of gravity and weight changes can cause our thighs to become loose and flabby. When there is only excess fat in the thighs, liposuction alone can be considered instead of a thigh lift. However, in cases where the skin elasticity is poor, a thigh lift is preferred to tighten the droopy skin.

Benefits of a Thigh Lift

There are various types of thigh lifts.

Inner Thigh Lift

An inner thigh lift, also called a medial thigh lift, deals with the portion between the legs.

Outer Thigh Lift

An outer thigh lift, also called a lateral thigh lift, focuses on the sides of the thighs.

Posterior Thigh Lift

A posterior thigh lift is also known as a buttock lift.

The procedure selected depends on the areas where correction is desired and can be performed alone or in combination.

Thigh Lift Surgery Cost

Thigh lift surgery depends on the exact type of thigh lift you desire. When you come into our office for a consultation, our Cosmetic Coordinators will go over with the cost and various financing options.

Thigh Lift Procedure

A thigh lift usually takes 2 to 3 hours for each area, depending on the extent of work required.

For the inner thigh lift, only short incisions are required that usually extend from the thigh and groin crease to the buttock crease. Depending on the amount of excess skin, an additional incision running along the inner thigh may provide be beneficial. The outer thigh lift incisions are larger and are placed over each hip bone. Details on a posterior thigh lift can be found with the information on the buttock lift.

Because the thigh lift is a very individualized procedure, the incision length and pattern varies from person to person. While the incisions may be extensive, advanced techniques allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits.

If liposuction of the thighs is to be performed with the thigh lift, it is usually done first, before making the incisions.

After the incisions are made, the skin and fat is separated from the underlying structures in the thigh. Excess skin and fat are then removed. Occasionally, before stitching the incision, a temporary tube is inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. After the incisions are closed, gauze and an elastic compression bandage are applied to minimize bruising and swelling.

Recovery from a Thigh Lift

After the surgery, there will be swelling and bruising at the incision sites. It is common to have some discomfort, which can be controlled with medication. You may be asked to keep a compression bandage in place to help minimize the swelling. It is important that you start walking as soon as possible.

Although most patients are up and about in a few days, plan on taking it easy for at least the first week after surgery. Some numbness of the skin is to be expected and is temporary. If drainage tubes were inserted, you will be taught how to take care of them and record the amount of fluid that comes out of it. The steps are very easy and simple to follow. Your surgeon will remove the tubes in about a week when the drainage slows to an acceptable level.

Most patients are back to work or school in 1 to 3 weeks. Although it is important to walk, you should avoid strenuous activity, including jogging, heavy housework, sex, or any activity that may stress the incision sites. Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling subsides and incision lines improve.

Possible Risks and Complications

Thigh lift surgery is usually well tolerated. However, risks and complications are possible with any surgical procedure.

Recurrent sagging

Although every effort is made to elevate the tissues as much as possible, after the surgery, gravity continues to act on the thighs. Over time, the tissues relax and some degree of recurrent sagging occurs, although it is rarely as severe as before the surgery.


The final appearance of the scar depends on your own genetic characteristics. We attempt to place the scar in as hidden a location as possible, but, depending on the exact incisions and changes over time, the scars may be more prominent. Your surgeon will go over with you what you can expect regarding your individual scarring.

Unrealistic expectations

This surgery will not necessarily make the legs “skinny”. Results will vary based on underlying anatomy and leg structure. Our surgeons take considerable time to review with you what realistic expectations should be after surgery. Because of this, the majority of patients are satisfied with the results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much time is required for a thigh lift?
A: The surgery requires approximately 2-3 hours for each area. As with all surgeries, the amount of time needed varies from patient to patient.

Q: Is a thigh lift an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
A: Outpatient.

Q: What are some common side effects?
A: Most side effects of thigh lifts are temporary. They include discomfort, pain, swelling, numbness, and bruising. It may take a year or more for the incision lines to refine and fade.

Q: What is the recovery time?
A: Most patients are able to return to work or school in 1-3 weeks.

Q: How long do the results last?
A: The results after a thigh lift can last for many years. However, the influences of aging and gravity will continue as time passes. The exact length of time varies with each individual.