A thigh lift is designed to remove excess skin from the inner thighs, smoothing and shaping the area for a tighter and fitter appearance. Men and women often experience difficulty sculpting the thigh region, as measures like dieting and exercise are usually ineffective in correcting loose skin. Dr. David Bottger, our board-certified plastic surgeon, can perform a thigh lift to get rid of redundant skin and create a beautiful, natural-looking contour. Whether performed alone or incorporated into a full body lift, thigh lift surgery can achieve a smoother appearance by addressing a combination of concerns, including loose skin, stretched musculature, and excess fat.
Who is a Candidate for a Thigh Lift?
When patients have good skin tone and simply struggle with excess fat, liposuction alone may be enough to enhance the medial thigh appearance. If, on the other hand, there is significant skin laxity or skin sagging present—as commonly occurs with massive weight loss or aging in general—liposuction by itself will not provide an adequate improvement to the area. In these cases, a thigh lift may be necessary to achieve your surgical goals. Among the different factors that can assess candidacy, those seeking a thigh lift should be:
- Patients in good health with realistic expectations
- Individuals who have skin excess due to massive weight loss (such as post-gastric bypass surgery patients) or other factors
- Patients with a loss of skin tone, or those who experience skin sagging as a result of aging
- Patients who are willing to accept the resulting surgical scars
If significant fat reduction is desired, a thigh lift plus liposuction may be the best approach to produce the best possible outcome. There are a number of body contouring procedures that can shape different areas of the body and your needs may be best fulfilled through a combination of treatments—such as a thigh lift performed in tandem with an arm lift. Dr. Bottger will listen to your cosmetic goals and suggest an optimal treatment plan based on your concerns.
How is Thigh Lift Surgery Performed?
A thigh lift may be performed one of two ways, depending on the severity of your concerns. If the degree of skin laxity experienced is mild to moderate, a transverse skin excision—which leaves the final scar within a crease of the groin—can be performed in the upper thigh area. When the skin laxity observed is excessive (often in massive weight loss or gastric bypass patients), a larger vertically-oriented skin excision will provide a better result, although a significantly longer scar along the medial thigh to the knee level should be expected. Thigh lift surgery is usually completed under general anesthesia and may require an overnight stay depending on the extent of the procedure.
What is Recovery From a Thigh Lift Like?
Immediately after surgery, a surgical wrap and/or compression garment will be placed to decrease swelling and help the thighs conform to their new shape. While you should get plenty of rest after your procedure, we encourage patients to practice light ambulation (e.g. walking around, standing, etc.) as soon as they feel up to it. This can help promote blood flow while preventing blood clotting and muscle fatigue. After approximately two weeks, you should be able to perform mild exercises and make a full return to non-strenuous work duties. Swelling will gradually subside as recovery progresses—a period that generally takes one month before the body is fully healed.
How Long Do Thigh Lift Results Last?
Thigh lift surgery is designed to reshape the thighs permanently, so your results should remain consistent well into the future as long as you maintain a stable weight. It would take a very large amount of subsequent weight gain to alter the smooth contour achieved with surgery. For this reason, the best way to preserve the results of a thigh lift is to avoid weight fluctuation. With an active lifestyle, most individuals are able to enjoy the results of thigh lift surgery for their entire lifetime.
The improvement achieved should be visible soon after your procedure, although it can take several weeks or months for all swelling to fully subside. The results should continue to refine as recovery progresses. While the outcome will vary for each person, patients generally notice a dramatic difference in the look and feel of their skin. The procedure cannot stop the natural aging process, but the thigh contours will always look smoother, firmer, and more sculpted than they would have if one had never undergone surgery.
Will I Have Visible Scars After a Thigh Lift?
The shape and size of your scars from thigh lift surgery will vary depending on which technique was used during the procedure. The transverse skin excision thigh lift usually leaves a smaller and more discreet scar than the vertical skin excision approach, with the incision placed within the crease of the groin. The vertical skin excision, however, extends along the length of the inner thigh to the knee and is generally reserved for patients who have more substantial skin sagging. In either case, the prominence of post-surgical scars can be minimized by keeping your incisions clean and following Dr. Bottger’s instructions on optimal wound healing.
What are the Risks of Thigh Lift Surgery?
The risks and complications associated with thigh lift surgery include—but are not limited to—infection, bleeding (hematoma), numbness, unfavorable scarring, and skin loss. These risks exist with any type of surgery and, although possible, significant complications are uncommon. Unfavorable outcomes can best be avoided by selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your thigh lift, as board certification often demonstrates a surgeon’s ability to provide high standards of safety and care. Since this credential is only awarded after undergoing additional training in cosmetic procedures beyond the minimum required to practice, board-certified plastic surgeons typically have more experience performing thigh lift surgery while minimizing complications than those who are not accredited.
How Much Does a Thigh Lift Cost?
The price of thigh lift surgery starts approximately at $9,000, which includes expenses for the surgical facility, anesthesia, post-operative garments, and other related costs. A member of our team will be happy to provide a cost estimate based on the unique details of your treatment plan after your consultation with Dr. Bottger. While health insurance generally doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures, our practice accepts plastic surgery financing plans from CareCredit®—a widely used and universally trusted healthcare lending company that can make the cost of your thigh lift much more manageable. Once approved, simply pay for your surgery in low monthly installments as part of whichever short- or long-term payment plan is most ideal for your budgetary concerns. Please contact our practice for more information about our accepted payment methods, or if you have questions about the cost of a thigh lift.
Can a Thigh Lift Get Rid of Cellulite?
Although eliminating cellulite is not considered a primary goal of thigh lift surgery, some cellulite along the inner thighs may be reduced or smoothed to some extent during the procedure. This possibility depends on where your cellulite is concentrated and which thigh lift incision is most beneficial for your needs and goals. During the procedure, excess skin is removed while the remaining skin is pulled taut and closed with sutures; in some cases, a thigh lift may reduce—or even eliminate—skin dimpling in the process. Dr. Bottger will be able to give you a more realistic idea of whether a thigh lift can improve your cellulite when he evaluates your concerns in person.
In general, the likelihood of improving cellulite with surgery may be greater when pursuing a lower body lift, which typically treats excess skin on the lateral thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. These areas are often prone to cellulite development with age, therefore patients whose goals include reshaping the lower body may experience adjunctive benefits in cellulite reduction during their procedure. Again, Dr. Bottger will be able to better determine whether this is possible during a consultation.
Is a Non-Surgical Thigh Lift Possible?
Since non-surgical treatments fail to comprehensively address loose skin, lax musculature, and excess fat affecting the thigh shape, a surgical thigh lift is the only way to smooth and firm the thighs for long-lasting results. This is especially true for patients who have undergone a bariatric procedure, as massive weight loss often leaves an extensive amount of excess skin that cannot be removed using minimally invasive techniques. While the results of a thigh lift cannot be achieved without surgery, Dr. Bottger can listen to your concerns in a consultation to help you determine the most appropriate treatment options for your needs.
If you feel you are a good candidate for thigh lift surgery and would like more information on the procedure, please contact Dr. Bottger to set up an initial consultation. Dr. Bottger’s office is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and also serves the West Chester and Bryn Mawr regions.