A Thigh Lift, also known as Thighplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes the thighs by reducing excess skin and fat, resulting in smoother skin and well proportioned contours of the thighs and lower body. 


A Thigh Lift is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat from either the inner or outer thighs. This body contouring procedure is often desirable after substantial or bariatric weight loss or in individuals for whom dieting and exercise have failed to reduce excess tissue in their upper thighs. Thigh Lift is a complex procedure and as with any operation, there are risks and possible complications with surgery which will be discussed during your consultation.  Liposuction may be used in combination to the re-contouring of the inner thigh. 

If you are committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a moderate weight, a thigh lift can help you regain the youthful thigh contours you desire. If you are considering thigh lift surgery, the following information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure: when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect.



In general, best candidates include younger patients and patients with thick, elastic skin and a lower body fat percentage. Patients with thin, inelastic skin and a higher body fat percentage will generally have less dramatic changes and may not be ideal candidates for this procedure. Thigh lifts are not intended for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a thigh lift along with liposuction may be recommended. Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

During your initial consultation your surgeon will evaluate your health and you as a candidate for thigh-lift surgery and clarify what a thigh lift can do for you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and to discuss your expectations. Thigh lift procedures are performed at the Centurion Day Hospital under general anaesthesia. Your surgeon will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. We advise that you need to stop smoking two weeks before surgery and two weeks after surgery. This will help to expedite your recovery period an encourage better healing on cellular level and to avoid unforeseen complications.  


Body measurements will be taken by the surgeon or the sister to order your compression garment for after surgery. This is compulsory. After your consultation you will be provided with a personalised quotation based on the recommendation of the surgeon. While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and help you out for a few days.

Thigh lift procedures usually takes between two and a half to three hours depending on the extent of work required. The incisions for an inner thigh lift vary, depending on the amount of loose skin present, as well as how far the laxity extends down the thigh. When laxity is less severe, the incisions may be limited to the groin crease or the upper part of the inner thigh where they are hidden. When the laxity is severe, the incisions may need to extend from the groin to the knee. Thigh lifts are often combined with liposuction to improve the shape and skin contour.


Incision patterns vary based on the area or areas to be treated, degree of correction, and patient and surgeon preference.


Inner Thigh Lift Incision

One technique used for a thigh lift places incisions in the groin, extending downward and wrapping around the back of the thigh. Another technique removes excess skin from the groin down to the knee using an incision along the inseam. You may also qualify for a minimal incision inner thigh lift that involves an incision only in the groin area. Your plastic surgeon will determine what's appropriate.


Medial Thigh Lift Incision

Improving the contours of the outer thigh may require an incision extending from the groin around the hip and across the back. Liposuction may be but is not always included with an inner thigh lift, depending on your individual requirements. The area from the groin to the knee is re-contoured, and the procedure is repeated for the other thigh.

Advanced techniques usually allow incisions to be placed in strategic locations where they can be hidden by most types of clothing and swimsuits. However, incisions may be extensive.


Outer Thigh Lift Incision

This is a more complex procedure, usually involving re-contouring of the buttocks as well as the outer thighs and removal of more tissue. Scarring is more extensive, and the skin will be less elastic after the surgery, so weight should be maintained. Depending on the requirements of a lateral thigh lift, the incisions will extend from the groin, around the hip, and possibly a buttock fold incision will be included. The surgeon will attempt to place the incisions where the scars can be hidden by clothing, but the incisions will be more extensive than for a medial thigh lift.

Deep sutures within underlying tissues help to form and support the newly shaped contours. Sutures, skin adhesive tapes or clips may be used to close the skin incisions.

For the first few days, there will be swelling and you are likely to feel some pain and discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Sick leave is recommended for three to four weeks with possible extension depending on the healing progress. Recovery time for a thigh lift may vary depending on whether you opt for an outer thigh lift, an inner thigh lift, or both. In general, however, most people will need to take it easy for the first couple of weeks and can resume normal activities after four to six weeks.  


During your recovery from thigh lift surgery, dressings/bandages may be applied to your incisions following the procedure.  The sister will give you instructions on showering and changing your dressings. A small drain tube will be inserted to drain off blood and fluids for five to seven days. Removal of the drain will be during your first follow-up, seven days after surgery. It might be that there is still too much fluids draining which mean that the drain will have to stay longer. Should this be the case, you will be guided by the sister on how to proceed. Your last follow-up appointment will be at six weeks unless additional arrangements have been made by the sister or surgeon.


You will be provided and fitted on the day of discharge with a compression garment. Plan to wear the compression garment consecutively for six weeks following surgery. You should feel snug in your compression garment, but it should not be uncomfortable or painful. As the swelling reduces, the garment will not be as snug and you might have to invest in a second compression garment. Compression garments are available to purchase at the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic on special request and additional costs.


The results of a thigh lift are visible almost immediately. However, it may take several months for the final results to fully develop. Following a thigh lift, skin quality is improved both in appearance and feel. Some visible scars will remain, but the overall results are long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your initial improvement should remain.

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Centurion Cosmetic Clinic, understand that getting a plastic surgery procedure is one of your biggest life decisions.
It takes time, planning, and resources. We want you to know that our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons and the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team are here to help you every step of the way.


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Contact us for free phone consultation with one of our knowledgeable surgical consultants who are trained by our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons. They will answer many of your questions, provide you with additional information on procedures of your interest and pro-forma quotations. You can decide if you are ready for your consultation with one of our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons.

Consultation with Dr Paul Pienaar or Dr Liana Volkwyn

Meet your Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon during your one-on-one consultation. During the consultation the surgeon will discuss the procedure, preparations, after care and answer all additional questions. You will be provided with a personalised quotation after your consultation. The consultation fee is R 900.

Preparations & Surgery Day

After you reserve your surgery date, Centurion Cosmetic Clinic will need a 30 % deposit to secure your theatre booking at the Centurion Day Hospital. The surgeon and the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team will make sure you are well informed and prepared for your big day. Preparation and After care are very important parts of your plastic surgery journey.

Enjoy Results

The post-op phase is an important time. The Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team will make sure you are well informed with post-op information and will arrange your first follow up appointment on the day of your surgery. You will have to visit the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic for your first follow up appointment 7 to 10 days after surgery and then again on 6 weeks after surgery. Healing and recovering are of great importance so you can enjoy your amazing results and your improved quality of life that you have envisioned.

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