Thigh Lift

As we age or lose large amounts of weight, the buttock, outer thighs, inner thighs and abdominal areas may sag. This is true for men and women. Clothes no longer fit as well so people tend to hide under larger sizes and, in some cases, stop doing enjoyable activities such as going to the beach. An outer thigh/buttock lift or inner thigh lift is like a facelift for the lower extremities. It may be combined with a tummy tuck, called a body lift, to address the front, sides and the back of the torso.


Buttock lift surgery is used to improve the shape and tone of buttock skin. Excess skin and some fat tissue is removed from the buttock area and the skin is advanced and tightened. If the excess skin extends completely around the entire waist, this procedure can be combined with abdominoplasty for optimum results. Good candidates for this procedure have excess skin and sagging of the buttock tissue with a small amount of excess fat, often caused by significant weight loss.

The procedure may incorporate liposuction to achieve balance between the torso, thighs, and buttocks. The incision required for the procedure is placed very low on the back, just above the buttocks, or in the buttock crease.  The scar, which usually heals very well, is hidden by most contemporary underwear and bikini swimwear.

Medical conditions such as bleeding disorders, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, hernias, or a history of smoking will be of particular concern to the doctor.  Information regarding medications you are currently taking or have taken in the past, including all kinds of pain medications, will be requested by the doctor. Your height and weight will be recorded. You should know that this is not an operation for obesity. Thus, any patients more than 50% over their ideal body weight should consult with our Surgical Weight Reduction department. The doctor also delineates the site of the planned incision for the buttock lift with you standing in front of a mirror.

You will be asked to discontinue medications that could lead to bleeding during the surgery. The specific medications will be reviewed with you at the visit. You are not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. Exceptions may be made for certain individuals. You will need to arrange for an adult to drive you to and from our hospital on the day of the operation and for the first visit after the surgery. You should wear loose fitting clothing that will wash easily in the event they are soiled. Do not wear jewelry, contact lenses, or bring valuables to the operating room. Remove all body jewelry from pierced body parts; this can interfere with the procedure and may represent a safety threat to you because of the use of electrocautery during the procedure. Do not shave or wax prior to surgery, as this may increase your risk of infection. Any shaving that is necessary will be done on the day of surgery by our staff.

The lift is performed through an incision that is above the buttocks through which the underlying tissue is undermined and lifted. Excess tissue is then discarded. This gives a more shapely appearance to the buttock area.

  •  Surgery and Recovery: The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and patients go home the same day. Recovery time is 7-10 days for most of the discomfort to subside, and 3-6 weeks until vigorous exercise can begin. A long curved scar is placed at the upper aspect of the buttock or in the buttock crease, which takes 6-12 months to mature
  • Buttock Lift Surgery: Liposuction may sometimes be incorporated to further improve body contour. Drain tubes are placed under the skin to evacuate any fluid, which may ooze after the operation. The drains are removed approximately 2 days after surgery. The closure of the skin is done with dissolving-type suture material, which does not require removal. Dressings are placed on the incisions. Patients are usually ready to be discharged from the recovery room from 6-8 hours after the conclusion of the procedure. This varies from patient to patient, depending on the extent of the procedure. It is necessary during the first 24 hours after the surgery. Patients cannot be discharged to the company of a minor or to a car service. Patients from out of Thailand should plan to stay locally for approximately 7-10 days.
  • Buttock Lift Recovery Period: For the first few days, you are likely to feel discomfort, which can be controlled with medication. Your buttock area will be swollen. The swelling will resolve over a period of several weeks depending on the extent of your surgery. We will provide you with instructions for personal hygiene and activity. We suggest you begin walking as soon as possible, although rest is very important as well.   You will be seen back in the office in 2-3 days, at which time the wounds are checked and dressings removed. Showering is permitted 48 hours after surgery. Individuals with deskwork type employment may resume work in one week. Lifting should be limited to 25 lbs. for four weeks. Others with work involving prolonged periods of standing or walking or heavy lifting may need to wait from 3 to 6 weeks. Vigorous activities or aerobic exercises should not be resumed for 6 weeks. The buttocks will feel very tight for several days. In the first few days after surgery, you will feel most comfortable lying flat. Over the next several days you will gradually be able to sit upright. You will likely experience occasional twinges of pain during the first several months after surgery. It takes several months for the buttocks to regain a normal feel. Temporary numbness, particularly just below the incision is common. The scar often becomes redder several weeks after surgery and begins to fade 2-3 months later. While the scar will never disappear completely, its appearance is usually very satisfactory. It may take the scar as long as 18 months to reach its final appearance.

Thigh lift

Large weight gain (with or without subsequent loss), pregnancies, hereditary factors, hormonal influences and stretching are all factors that contribute to unattractive thighs and buttocks.

Although weight control through diet and exercise is most important, many structural changes cannot be corrected through any method other than surgery. In cases where a large amount of excess skin is present in the form of folds, liposuction alone will not give satisfactory results. The excessive skin must be removed along an incision which is usually located within a bathing suit line at the level of a crease. Stretch marks may be improved, but can never be entirely eliminated.

The patient considering surgery should be in general good health and weight should be reasonable. The surgery is not a weight control measure though it may be helpful after a large amount of weight is lost and residual sagging skin remains. He or she should not smoke and should be on some type of exercise program. (Running or walking is recommended.)

Commonly during a leg lift, an incision is made in the upper inner thighs (possibly into the lower inner thigh), and the excess skin and fat is lifted at the surgeon’s discretion. He or she will determine how much can safely be removed. Once the excess is removed, the remaining skin is closed with sutures that can be removed in about a week. The type of incision and a patient’s resulting scar will be determined by the location and amount of excess skin and fat. It may be limited to the upper groin crease or possibly extend to the knee area.

You should wear loose-fitting clothing that will wash easily in the event they are soiled. Do not wear jewelry, contact lenses, or bring valuables to the operating room. Remove all jewelry from pierced body parts, as this can interfere with the procedure and may represent a safety threat to you because of the use of electrocautery during the procedure.

Thigh lifts are performed by making an incision in the inner groin crease, along the underwear line, so that the skin can be tightened without a scar on the leg itself. The skin is lifted down to the muscle layer, peripheral excessive fat is excised away, loose excessive skin is removed and the skin is pulled upwards like a pair of stockings.

The tissues are meticulously closed with several layers of specialized stitches. Stitches placed under the skin are usually absorbable. Those on the surface of the skin are removed after ten days.

An inner thigh lift procedure takes approximately two hours. Usually, the procedure begins with liposuction and is followed by the removal of excess skin.

Sterile dressings are placed on the incisions followed by an elastic garment that goes from the waist to just above the knees. Patients are usually ready for discharge from the recovery area approximately 4-6 hours following the procedure.

Surgery Length3 hours
Side EffectsTemporary pain. Swelling, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising, tiredness for several weeks or months.
Recovery PeriodBack to work: 2 to 4 weeks. More strenuous activity: 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of scars: 3 months to 2 years.
Stay in Hospital2 days
Stay in Thailand10-15 days

Recovery normally entails one to two days in bed, three to five additional days of relaxing and convalescing (during which the patient may begin to get up to shower, etc.), and another three to five days of progressive activity. (Driving, sex, etc. may gradually be resumed during this period.) Twelve to fourteen days is the usual length of recovery. Once the incisions have had some time to heal, you should wear tight bicycle pants to help the skin heal in position.

Depending on the extent of tissue excess and laxity, considerable improvement in contour and profile can be seen. Discomfort is much less than most patients expect. Any soreness is easily controlled with analgesics.

For two days, try to rest as much as possible and stay on a soft diet. Eat lightly, but drink plenty of fluids and eat fruit to prevent constipation. Slight oozing of your incision lines is normal for a day or two, but if you notice excessive swelling or large amounts of blood on your dressings, call the office.

During the first several days after surgery, it is not unusual to have drainage from your incisions. At the time of surgery, fluid is injected into your thighs to decrease blood loss and facilitate the liposuction. Much of your drainage will be this fluid. Walking during the first 48 hours is strongly recommended as tolerated. Climbing stairs or activities that produce tension across the wounds such as squatting should be avoided for the first three days.

You will be seen back at the office in two to three days for the removal of dressings and evaluation of wounds. Wearing the elastic garment is optional at this point. Some patients feel more comfortable with it, while others, especially in the summer, find them unpleasant. There is no data to suggest wearing a garment improves the overall outcome. Showering is permitted 48 hours after surgery.

The next visit will be at 10-12 days after surgery. This time, the doctor will reassess the incisions and verify that appropriate healing is taking place. Non-absorbable stitches along your inner thighs will be removed. Your thighs will feel “tight” and will be swollen. Most of the swelling should be gone by six weeks after surgery. Individuals with desk-type employment may resume work in one week. Lifting should be limited to 25 lbs. for four weeks. Others with work involving prolonged periods of standing, walking or heavy lifting may need to wait from three to six weeks. Vigorous activities or aerobic exercises should not be resumed for six weeks.

The scars will tend to become increasingly red after two weeks and begin to fade after two to three months. The scars will never completely disappear and will take from 12-18 months to reach their final appearance.