Thigh Lift

What It Does

Whether through age and gravity or significant weight loss, the sagging skin of the thighs can often be an area of concern. A thigh lift is used to contour the thigh area through the removal of excess skin and fat, and also involves tightening the underlying support tissues. The result is a smoother, more contoured look to the thighs. A thigh lift may be performed as a singular procedure, or you and your surgeon may discuss using a thigh lift in tandem with other plastic surgery procedures such as a tummy tuck or lower body liposuction.

Procedure Basics

A thigh lift may be performed in a hospital setting or in an outpatient surgical facility. After a general anesthesia is administered, your surgeon will make incisions based on the area to be treated, the amount of contouring to be completed, and you and your doctor’s preferences. A common incision begins in the groin area and wraps around to the back of the thigh. Contouring on the outer thigh may require an incision that begins in the groin area and wraps around the hip. Significant laxity is often addressed with a vertical incision that extends from the groin to the knee. The underlying tissue matrix is tightened with sutures, while excess fat and skin are reduced with a combination of excision and liposuction. The net effect is to create a smoother, more proportionate thigh.


As this surgery requires general anesthesia, be sure to have someone available to pick you up and stay with you following surgery. It is critical to your recovery and a successful lift that you follow your doctor’s post-operative care instructions carefully. Thigh lift recovery is awkward due to the location of the incisions, and you should plan on having assistance at home for several days after the procedure. Full recovery generally takes six to eight weeks for this procedure.

Your surgeon may place one or more small tubes, or drains, in your incisions to allow excess fluids to drain, but these are temporary. You may also need to wear compression garments to help reduce post-surgical swelling and help your incisions heal. Be sure to take any medications your doctor prescribes and avoid subjecting the incisions to any excess stress, force, or abrasion while they heal.

Additional Information

Any surgical procedure, including a thigh lift, includes risks that you should discuss with your doctor, including anesthesia risks, blood clots, poor wound healing, excess swelling, scarring, recurrent loosening of the skin, and the possibility of revisional surgery to correct any problems that might occur during or after the healing process.

With continued exercise and good nutrition, the results of your thigh lift should be long-lasting, however, any significant weight increase will reduce the effectiveness of the surgery. It is also important to understand that achieving optimal results may require more than one surgery.

Additional Resources

There is a wealth of information available concerning brachioplasty (arm lifts) and body lifts provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (www.plasticsurgery.org) ; click on “Cosmetic” and choose from the list of procedures. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Inc. (www.surgery.org) also provides in-depth information; choose “Procedures” for a list of topics.

To schedule a consultation to discuss a thigh lift with Dr. Christine Kelley, please call 317/575-0330.