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Thigh Lift (Thighplasty)

If you're hoping to get rid of excess skin on your thighs, a thigh lift may be right for you.

Make an Appointment at the UPMC Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Center

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What Is a Thigh Lift?

Thigh lift or “thighplasty":

  • Is surgery to remove excess skin from the inner thigh.
  • Is common in people who have lost a large amount of weight and have loose sagging skin on the inner thighs.
  • Can involve a scar that runs down the full length of the thigh when removing extensive amounts of skin. Surgeons can't predict the appearance of thigh scars, but they tend to fade with time.

Is a Thigh Lift Right for Me?

People of any age who have loose skin on the thighs may be a good fit for a thigh lift.

Types of Thigh Lift

There are two types of thigh lifts.

Based on your goals, your plastic surgeon will suggest either a:

  • Medial (inner) thigh lift. The goal is to give the top part of the inner thigh a firmer appearance by removing excess skin. This is the most common type of thigh lift.
  • Standard thigh lift. This type reshapes and tones the upper leg. Surgeons often do standard thigh lifts on people who have just lost weight.

Before Your Thigh Lift

Your plastic surgeon will do a complete exam of your thighs, including any range-of-motion issues. They'll also ask you about any prior thigh injuries or surgeries.

Your surgeon will assess your overall health and look for any signs that could cause complications, such as:

  • Bleeding or blood clotting disorders.
  • Blood pressure.
  • History of adverse scars from prior surgeries.

You and your plastic surgeon will also talk about:

  • Your concerns about excess skin on your thighs.
  • Other options to remove skin, such as liposuction.
  • Your goals and what you expect from surgery.
  • The length and position of the scar on your thigh. Your surgeon can use a medical marker and draw it on your skin, so you know what to expect.
  • The risks and benefits of thigh lifts.

To help get ready for your thigh lift, your surgeon will talk to you about:

  • Medicine to avoid and when to take your prescribed meds.
  • Proper washing of your incision.
  • Any eating or drinking restrictions the night before surgery
  • Quitting smoking.

Thigh Lift Risks

A thigh lift is a major surgery to tighten the skin on the upper thighs. It does not correct loose skin on the calves. It may be evident where the newly tightened skin of the upper leg meets the calf.

Thigh lifts also involve a permanent scar that may be quite visible.

Along with the risks of receiving anesthesia, you may have:

  • Leg swelling. This often improves with time but sometimes can cause lifelong lymphedema.
  • Slow healing mostly in the groin crease, where moisture collects and movement causes friction due to movement.
  • Gauze dressings to help heal certain parts of the wound.
  • Infection and bleeding, but these are rare.

A thigh lift isn't right for everyone. Your risks may be greater or different than those of others.

Your plastic surgeon will review all potential risks and complications with you prior to surgery.

Where Will I Have Thigh Lift Surgery?

You'll have your thigh lift in a hospital as outpatient surgery under general anesthesia. Be sure to ask someone to drive you to and from the hospital.

If you're having another body contouring procedure at the same time, you'll likely need to stay one or two nights.

Recovery After Thigh Lift

In most cases, you:

  • Will have pain in the thighs for the first 24 to 48 hours post-op.
  • Will have compressive wraps around the thighs.
  • Must keep your legs elevated for the first week.
  • Can shower within the first few days after surgery.
  • Can go out in public in four to five days.
  • Must limit brisk physical activity for four weeks after surgery. As you become more active, you may notice some swelling in your ankles.

What Results Can Expect After My Thigh Lift?

After your thigh lift, you can expect:

  • A tightened, more youthful and attractive appearance to the inner thigh.
  • A large scar that may stay thick and red but tends to fade over time. It reaches its final appearance in 12 to 18 months.

View our before and after photo gallery.

Cost of Thigh Lift Surgery

Health insurance rarely covers elective surgery.

Call 1-877-639-9688 to discuss payment options with UPMC experts.