A thigh lift is a surgical procedure that tightens and smooths loose skin around the thighs and buttocks and removes fatty tissue through liposuction.

Fast Facts

  • Depending on the extent of loose skin and fat to be removed, this procedure usually takes 2-4 hours to complete.
  • There are two types of thigh lift, the inner thigh lift and outer thigh lift.
  • The only difference with the outer thigh lift is in the location of the incisions.
  • You may be asked to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and help with the tightening and shrinking of the skin.

Thigh lifts are sometimes referred to as thighplasty or leg lifts. Often, a thigh lift is performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck and buttock lift, in a procedure commonly referred to as a lower body lift. These combination procedures can also include liposuction.

Reasons for choosing to have a thigh lift

Thigh lifts are mostly performed on women. You are a good candidate for a thigh lift procedure if you have any one of these issues:

  • You have saggy lose skin on your inner and/or outer thighs.
  • You have excess skin due to significant weight loss.
  • You wish to improve the contour of your thighs, but are unable to achieve this through diet and exercise alone.
  • You have large amounts of fat on your thighs.

To get a rough idea of what your thighs would look like following this procedure, stand in front of a mirror and pinch and lift the skin of your inner thighs towards your groin area.

What to expect

Depending on the extent of loose skin and fat to be removed, this procedure usually takes 2-4 hours to complete. The procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, and it may be possible to go home after the effects of general anaesthesia have worn off. You may, however, be asked to stay in hospital overnight to be monitored.

There are two types of thigh lift, the inner thigh lift and outer thigh lift.  The more popular of the two is the inner thigh lift, where an incision is made on the inner thighs at the crease of the groin. Excess fat is removed through liposuction and excess skin is cut away. The remaining skin is then redraped and closed with sutures. Dissolvable sutures are usually used for this procedure.

The only difference with the outer thigh lift is in the location of the incisions, which are from the crease of the groin around to the hip.

The length of the incisions will depend on exactly where the excess skin and fat tissues are located, and how much is to be removed. Incisions can be limited to the upper thighs only or can extend to the knee if the lower thigh area is to be treated as well. Incisions are usually hidden in the crease of the groin and are not noticeable.

You surgeon may need to insert drainage tubes into the incisions to drain excess fluids that accumulate under the skin. These will be removed after a few days.

You will be bruised and swollen for a few days following the surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help with discomfort. The wounds made from the incisions will be checked and the supporting tape removed within seven days.

You may be asked to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and help with the tightening and shrinking of the skin. You should expect any scars to remain firm and pink for at least six weeks. With the correct scar healing treatment, scars will begin to fade after about six months.

Many people return to work within a week, largely depending on the extent of surgery performed and the levels of activity involved.

Before and after surgery

There are several things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery to improve the experience. There are also a number of things you can do following any surgery.

Recovery from a thigh lift procedure can take at least a week and sometimes longer. Before surgery, prepare whatever you require for your comfort at home during this recovery process.

Possible risks and complications

As with any surgical procedure there are risks and complications involved in a thigh lift.  Make sure you familiarise yourself with the list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery.

The best way to reduce risk in any surgery is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in thigh-lift surgery who has performed the procedure many times.

Just as you would discuss potential benefits before surgery, it is always advisable to ask your surgeon to address any potential risks as they apply to you.

 Rough costs involved

Costs will vary depending on the surgeon and the facilities used. Your surgeon will help estimate potential costs after an initial consultation.

A thigh lift usually costs around $9000, including surgeon’s and anaesthetist‘s fees and hospital costs.

Some Australian private health insurers may help pay for the hospital bed and theatre fees. Getting a doctor’s referral may enable you to make a claim on these costs.

You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.

This information is correct as of 2019.

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