Thighplasty (Thigh Lift) | MedStar Health

Thigh lift surgery overview

If diet and exercise alone haven’t helped you achieve your goals, thigh lift surgery, also called thighplasty, can help. This procedure reshapes the thigh by reducing excess skin and fat, resulting in a thinner, better proportioned upper leg.

To perform the thigh lift, incisions may vary depending on technique, but will typically start in the groin. Excess fat and skin are removed, and then the incision is closed. If you only need excess fat, not skin, removed, liposuction may be an option for you. Your doctor will help you understand your options and recommend the technique to achieve the best result possible.


You and your surgeon will discuss the procedure in detail so you understand how it will be performed and have an opportunity to have your questions answered.

On the day of the procedure, you’ll receive medications for your comfort, typically IV sedation or general anesthesia. The incision made will depend on the degree of correction and technique preferred. Some people may be candidates for a minimally invasive procedure in which only an incision in the groin is made. Other techniques may involve an incision starting in the groin that extends to the back of the thigh or the front of the thigh toward the hip. Your surgeon will strategically make incisions in natural folds in the skin so they’re less visible.

Fat and skin are then removed, and sutures are used to support newly shaped contours. Sutures, adhesive, or clips are then used to close the skin.

Recovery after thigh lift surgery

After the procedure, your legs may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a support garment to help minimize swelling and to support your legs as they heal. Small tubes may be placed under the skin temporarily to help drain excess blood or fluid. You’ll typically return home on the day of surgery with instructions from your doctor.

After returning home, your doctor will advise you to take it easy; most people return to work or non-strenuous daily activities within a week or two. You’ll likely experience some bruising and swelling, which typically resolve in about a month. Most people return to all normal activities within four to six months.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Road NW,
BLES Building
1st. Floor
Washington, D.C., 20007


MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

106 Irving St. NW
POB North
Ste. 3400
Washington, D.C., 20010

Frequently asked questions

  • Am I a candidate for a thigh lift?

    You may be a good candidate if:

    • You’re physically healthy

    • You’re at a stable weight

    • Your expectations are realistic

    • You understand the risks that come along with surgery

    • You have excess tissue and skin on the inner and/or outer thighs

    • You’re committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle after surgery

    Keep in mind that a thigh lift isn’t intended just for fat removal. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat.

  • How much does a thigh lift cost?

    The costs for the procedure will vary based on the amount of correction needed and approach. Most insurance plans don’t cover thigh lifts.

    When you come in for your consultation visit, we’ll be better able to discuss fees in detail with you. Our staff will also review the financing options available.

  • Is a thigh lift covered by insurance?

    In most cases, thigh lift surgery isn’t covered by insurance. However, some plans may offer coverage when sagging skin around the thighs impairs your movement or causes recurrent infections. It’s always best to discuss coverage questions with your insurance carrier.

  • Do I need a referral to your office?

    If you’re exploring options for insurance coverage, you may need to request a referral from your primary care doctor, depending on your health insurance plan. Check with your carrier to see if medical coverage is an option for you and, if so, whether a referral is required.

  • What are the risks of thigh lift surgery?

    As with any surgery, thigh lifts do pose some risks. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, risks include:

    • Anesthesia complications

    • Bleeding

    • Fat tissue death (necrosis)

    • Fluid accumulation (seroma)

    • Imperfect or asymmetrical results

    • Infection

    • Numbness or changes in skin sensation

    • Persistent pain

    • Poor wound healing or wound separation

    • Poor scarring

    • Possibility of revision surgery

    • Scar tissue formation around the implant (capsular contracture)

    • Skin loss, discoloration, or looseness

    • Sutures that surface through the skin

  • How should I prepare for surgery?

    Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications. If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and better avoid complications.

    You’ll also need to arrange for transportation to and from the surgery and for someone to stay with you the night after the surgery.