Overview of Thighplasty Surgery

A thighplasty, also known as a thigh lift, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that’s done to tighten and improve the appearance of the thighs. Aging, pregnancy, or significant weight loss can cause the thighs to have excess, sagging skin, or look dimpled. The goal of a thigh lift is to lift and contour the thighs so that they look slim and in proportion with the rest of the body. A combination of thighplasty and liposuction techniques may be performed to give the thighs a smoother, more toned appearance.

People considering thigh lift surgery should know that it is not a surgical means of losing weight. It is a procedure for those who are close to their ideal weight but unhappy with the sagging appearance that’s caused by excess skin.

Woman's thigh being marked up for plastic surgery
ronstik / Getty Images

Types of Thigh Lifts

There are three types of thighplasty

  • An inner thigh lift targets the skin in the lower portion of the inner thigh
  • A medial thigh lift targets the skin and fat on the upper part of the inner thigh
  • A bilateral thigh lift focuses on the skin on the front and outside of the thigh

Inner and medial thighplasty procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis. A bilateral thigh lift may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

The Procedure

Thighplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure with general anesthesia or epidural anesthesia.

Depending on the type of thigh lift and the area being treated, the incision pattern will vary. The most common thigh lift technique begins with an incision in the groin area.

During the procedure:

  • Skin and/or fat are removed.
  • The underlying tissue is reshaped and tightened.
  • The remaining skin is lifted and smoothed, and sutured into place at the incision site.

Surgery typically takes 2 to 3 hours.


Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications are typically prescribed during the post-operative period. Post-operatively, you may have bruising, swelling, and soreness in the area. You will need to wear compression garments to minimize the swelling and promote healing.

You may have drains in place to collect excess fluid and reduce the risk of infection. You will need to record the amount of fluid collected in a logbook. When the level of fluid removed meets your surgeon’s expectations, the drains will be removed.

You will not be able to use a bathtub, swim, or use a hot tub until you receive clearance from your surgeon. You may shower 48 hours after the procedure. The surgical sutures will be removed within two weeks.

You will most likely be able to return to work within 7 to 10 days and resume physical activity after 4 to 6 weeks. While there are scars, they are mostly hidden in your body’s natural creases, and they will fade over time.


Aside from the risks that go with surgery and anesthesia, the risks of having a thighplasty include:

  • Pain
  • Poor healing of the wound
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Asymmetry
  • Numbness
  • Seroma (a buildup of lymphatic fluid around the surgical site)
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pulmonary or cardiac complications
  • Fat necrosis
  • Skin necrosis
  • Skin loss or discoloration
  • Loose skin
  • Unattractive scarring
  • Damage to the deeper structures, such as the lymphatic system

You may need to undergo revision surgery to correct these types of problems.


The results of your thigh lift will be seen immediately, but full results are generally only seen after a few months when the swelling goes down.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What is thigh lift surgery?

  2. Cedars-Sinai. Thighplasty.

  3. Sisti A, Cuomo R, Zerini I, et al. Complications associated with medial thigh lift: a comprehensive literature review. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2015;8(4):191-197. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.172189

  4. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the risks of thigh lift surgery?