Also known as thighplasty
A thigh lift is a procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat from either the inner or outer thighs. This is often desirable after substantial or bariatric weight loss or in individuals for whom dieting and exercise have failed to reduce excess tissue in their upper thighs. Liposuction may be used as an adjunct to the recontouring of the inner thigh. If you are committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a moderate weight, a thigh lift can help you regain the youthful thigh contours you desire.
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering a thigh lift. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
Are you a good candidate for a thigh lift?
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider a thigh lift:
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Medial (inner) thigh lift: An incision is made in the groin area and any excess fat and skin are excised along the inner aspect of the thigh. Liposuction may be, but is not always, included in this procedure, depending on your individual requirements. The area from the groin to the knee is recontoured and the procedure is repeated for the other thigh. If a more substantial wedge of tissue is removed, the procedure is called a thighplasty.
Lateral (outer) thigh lift:This is a more complex procedure, usually involving recontouring of the buttocks as well as the outer thighs and removal of more tissue. Scarring is more extensive, and the skin will be less elastic after the surgery, so weight should be maintained.
There are two different types of thigh lift procedures: medial (inner) thigh lift or lateral (outer) thigh lift. See How is a thigh lift procedure performed? for details.
A physical examination, a thorough medical history and a discussion with your surgeon will help determine whether a medial or lateral thigh lift is most appropriate, or whether you will benefit from a combined lower body lift.
Medial thigh lift: The incisions are made in the groin area. For patients requiring more substantial removal of excess skin, a longitudinal incision may be made along the inner thigh.
Lateral thigh lift: Depending on the requirements of a lateral thigh lift, the incisions will extend from the groin, around the hip and possibly a buttock fold incision will be included. The surgeon will attempt to place the incisions where the scars can be hidden by clothing, but the incisions will be more extensive than for a medial thigh lift.
It’s important to choose your surgeon based on:
Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are experienced and qualified to perform your aesthetic procedure. Learn how to select a surgeon.
After finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who is experienced in performing thigh-lift surgery, you will need to make an office appointment to set up your consultation. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation, there is a cost associated with the initial visit.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for thigh-lift surgery and clarify what a thigh lift can do for you. Understanding your goals and medical condition, both alternative and additional treatments may be considered (see related procedures).
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and the surgeon’s training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, including:
For a general list of questions to ask your surgeon about his or her background, to find out about plastic surgery safety, and to plan your procedure, visit the Planning Toolkit.
We developed these questions to help you:
It is important for you to take an active role in your surgery, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
What can I expect on the day of thigh-lift surgery?
Your surgery may be performed in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite. Most thigh lift procedures take at least two to three hours to complete, but may take longer.
Your surgeon will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care, including information about:
See options for short-term recovery locations in Aftercare and Recovery (Planning Toolkit).
Immediately after your thigh lift
Although your new smooth contours will be visible immediately after surgery, there will be a period of bruising, swelling and soreness. If your pain is extreme or long-lasting, contact your physician. Contact your surgeon to find out if your pain, bruising and swelling is normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame after a thigh lift
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic if prescribed, and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The first two weeks
Weeks two to eight
If you maintain a stable weight, healthy lifestyle and fitness program, your results will be long-lasting.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to your plastic surgeon's office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in your thighs. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon when you have any questions or concerns.
The cost of a thigh lift varies from doctor to doctor and from one geographic area to another. Because a thigh lift is elective surgery, insurance does not cover these costs. Many surgeons offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more affordable.
These numbers only reflect the physician/surgeon fees last year and do not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, surgical garments or other miscellaneous costs related to surgery.
Choose your surgeon based on quality, training and experience—not cost.
See why ASAPS members are widely recognized for upholding the highest standards in the area of aesthetic plastic surgery by viewing their basic credentials, training and certifications.
Fortunately, significant complications from thigh lifts are infrequent. Your specific risks for thigh-lift surgery will be discussed during your consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your thigh-lift surgery.