Thigh lift

The Essential Facts*
Length of Procedure
2-4 hours
General or light sedation and local anaesthesia
1-2 nights stay
Time off work
7-10 days
Getting back to normal/sport
3-6 weeks (full recovery from swelling can take several months)

A thigh lift (thighplasty) reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin and fat, resulting in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body. This results in an improved appearance in jeans, mini-skirts and bathing suits. A thigh lift aims to create thighs that are proportionate to the buttocks, abs and legs. Ideally, the trunk and outer thighs should form an hour-glass silhouette and indent toward the waist, with a smooth outward curve to the outer thighs. Both men and women who have saggy, flabby and/or dimpled loose tissue and skin on their thighs may be candidates for this procedure. Many people who have lost massive amounts may also benefit from thigh lifts to get rid of the excess fat and flab in this area.

There are a number of different procedures to address the needs of specific areas of the thigh. All may be particularly helpful to patients who want to improve the contour of the thigh and get rid of excess, sagging skin after losing a significant amount of weight. Which procedure should be used for any given area will often be decided by the cosmetic surgeon after a thorough examination of the area and a discussion with the patient about the expected outcome of the surgery.


Inner Thigh Lift

An inner thigh lift targets the skin around the inner thigh, and is often the procedure of choice for patients who are dealing with sagging skin as the result of significant weight loss or due to the ageing process. The incision for the inner thigh lift is typically made around the groin area so that it can be hidden beneath underwear or a bathing suit. Sometimes liposuction is done in conjunction with an inner thigh lift, either before, during or after the procedure.


Medial Thigh Lift

This procedure addresses the skin on the upper part of the inner thigh. In this procedure, the incision generally runs from the groin area around the inside of the leg to the crease of the buttock. This type of thigh lift is most often performed under a general anesthesia.


Bilateral Thigh Lift

The bilateral thigh lift targets the area from the outside of the thigh to the front of the thigh. The incision is usually made at the top of the leg and the surgeon aims to follow the line of a bathing suit or underwear so that the scar may be hidden from view. In some cases, a bilateral thigh lift is combined with liposuction for best results. A buttocks lift may also be considered in some of these cases.

A thigh lift is usually performed as an inpatient procedure and usually under general or spinal anesthesia. The area is marked prior to surgery while the patient is in a standing position. The procedure generally takes approximately two hours, depending on the patient and what is needed. Deep sutures are used to close any incisions, which will dissolve within four months. It is important for a patient to have someone helping them get home after the surgery and if possible, to help for a couple of days afterward.



Patients are usually advised to take 2 weeks off work for recovery time. During this period, patients must remain in either a reclining or standing position. Some bruising and swelling may occur after the surgery, and could last up to one month. The majority of patients recover well after a thigh lift, with most returning to all normal activities within four to six months.