thigh lift

A thigh lift is a popular body contouring surgery performed on women and men who have lost weight or are experiencing skin laxity due to aging. Dr. Michaels is one of the few plastic surgeons who is specially trained in addressing the physical concerns of after-weight loss patients and providing appropriate treatment.

Before and After Photos

At Michaels Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, thigh lifts, lower body lifts, tummy tucks, arm lifts, and upper body lifts, are some of the most common procedures performed on weight loss patients. Dr. Joseph Michaels is a talented plastic surgeon and has completed one of the few fellowships dedicated to addressing the physical effects of weight loss and age-related skin laxity. For more information, and to book your personal consultation with him, call (301) 468-5991 (Rockville), (703) 957-8610 (Fairfax), or contact us online

About Thigh Lifts

Skin laxity on the thighs can be the result of weight loss, weight gain, or aging. It can prevent patients from fitting comfortably into their clothes, forcing them to buy larger sizes which can be a source of considerable embarrassment and self-consciousness. (1) Fortunately, Dr. Michaels performs thigh lift surgery to remove lax skin and reposition tissue to tighten the thighs, providing enhanced contour and definition.

Depending on the patient’s anatomy and what they hope to achieve, Dr. Michaels will likely perform one of two popular thigh lift techniques: lateral thigh lift or medial thigh lift. There are variations of each technique, which he will determine once he has the opportunity to meet and examine the patient.

Dr. Michaels performs liposuction in nearly every thigh lift. Even if excess fat is not an aesthetic problem, this allows him to safely remove more skin. It also removes residual fat from areas that won’t be directly treated to help optimize thigh contour. If there is minimal skin laxity and excess fat, liposuction can enhance the contour of both the inner and outer thighs.

Lateral Thigh Lift

A lateral thigh lift can address excess skin on the outer thigh. Surgeons often include this treatment as part of a circumferential lower body lift. The incision for this technique begins at the top of the outer leg, near the hip. Dr. Michaels makes two incisions extending towards the front and back of the leg, each hidden below the bikini or underwear line. This positioning helps to camouflage visible scarring. Next, he removes the appropriate amount of skin to achieve optimal contour. Finally, he tightens and sutures the skin so that the outer thigh contour is smooth. This technique can improve the appearance of a patient’s silhouette.

Medial Thigh Lift

A medial thigh lift, also known as an inner thigh lift, can address excess skin on the inner thigh. When a minimal incision is required for minor corrections, then it may be called a mini thigh lift. For this technique, Dr. Michaels makes an incision in the natural groin crease where the inner thigh meets the pubic area. One of the benefits of the medial thigh lift is that the incision is discreet and easily hidden due to its location. The downside is that only a limited amount of skin can be lifted in this manner. It works best for patients that have excess skin primarily on the upper part of their thigh. For patients with lax skin extending further down, Dr. Michaels can make a second incision down the vertical length of the inner thigh. This incision is well hidden on the inner thigh and should not be visible from the front or back. Similar to a lateral thigh lift, Dr. Michaels removes the excess skin to achieve the optimal contour. Medial thigh lifts can provide functional benefits as well as aesthetic, as excess skin and fat in the inner thighs can cause chafing and make walking uncomfortable. (2)

Quick Facts


3-6 hours (depending on extent of procedure)




Can be done on an outpatient basis, inpatient stay is required in some patients

Side effects

Temporary swelling, bruising, tightness, and some pain


Pain, wound separation, bleeding, infection, rare damage to nerves, asymmetry, incomplete improvement


Back to work in 1-2 weeks. Resume light exercise after 3 weeks. Resume strenuous exercise after 5-6 weeks. Swelling resolves after 8-12 weeks.

Duration of Results

Proper diet and exercise can maintain results

Benefits of Thigh Lifts

Receiving a thigh lift from Dr. Michaels can provide numerous benefits. These include:

  • Reduced chafing caused by excess skin on the inner thigh
  • Efficient results due to the easy inclusion of liposuction
  • Fitting into flattering clothing more easily
  • More easily participating in an active lifestyle
  • Reduced self-consciousness and boosted self-esteem
  • Having more attractive and aesthetically pleasing legs

Who is a Candidate for a Thigh Lift?

Patients who are interested in improving the contour of their thighs, especially if they have excess skin on their inner or outer thighs, may be good candidates for a thigh lift.

Before having any type of surgery, you must be in good physical and mental health. This increases the likelihood that your surgery is successful. You should also have realistic expectations prior to choosing any procedure. Dr. Michaels offers a multitude of different procedures to address patients’ particular concerns, which is why we recommend coming in for a consultation in order to gain insight from a body contouring expert.

Personal Consultation

If you are interested in undergoing thigh lift surgery, you should first schedule a consultation at one of his two locations in Rockville, Maryland, or Fairfax, Virginia. At your consultation, he will speak with you about your beauty goals and let you know if they are reasonably achievable. He will also examine your thighs to determine the ideal technique. If he believes that you may benefit from a thigh lift or a different procedure, he will develop a one-of-a-kind strategy in order to address your needs. He will go through the details of your procedure, including topics like incision placement. Following your consultation, our team will be able to provide you with a customized price quote. To schedule your personal consultation, call (301) 468-5991 (Rockville), (703) 957-8610 (Fairfax) or fill out this form. 


Preparing well for surgery helps to ensure that your treatment goes smoothly. Before your thigh lift appointment, we will give you detailed preparation instructions. These will include medication, diet, and lifestyle guidelines. Before any surgery, you should avoid anti-inflammatory medications, herbal supplements, and other substances that have blood-thinning effects. These substances can cause excess bleeding during surgery and lead to complications. If you smoke, you should stop for as long as possible before and after your procedure. The negative health effects of smoking can cause problems during surgery and can affect your ability to recover. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle will allow your body to heal properly and decrease your recovery time after surgery. Understanding what cosmetic surgery can do for you will also help.

Don’t forget to prepare your home for recovery. You will need time off from work and rest for about one week, so you should make sure everything you will need is within reach. Stock up on healthy groceries and prepare a comfortable place to spend your time. Arrange for someone to drive you home from our facilities. If you can arrange for someone to look after you on your first night back home, this will aid your recovery.

Thigh Lift Procedure

Dr. Michaels typically performs thigh lifts as outpatient procedures, though some cases will require overnight care at our facility. They can take from three to six hours to complete, depending on the patient’s needs. When you come in for your procedure, we will administer general anesthesia to prevent discomfort. If you are not comfortable with general anesthesia, we can discuss alternative options before your surgery. 

To begin, Dr. Michaels will make the necessary incisions. He will perform liposuction to remove any excess fat, and proceed to remove excess tissue and skin. Finally, he will close the incisions, pulling the skin tighter and reshaping the contour of your thighs in the process. When the procedure is complete, we will take you to a recovery room where we will monitor you as the anesthesia wears off.


Thigh lifts typically require one to two weeks of downtime for recovery. Most patients can resume everyday activity three weeks after their surgery, and strenuous activity five to six weeks afterward. You may experience some swelling, bruising, tightness, and discomfort after your surgery. These side effects are temporary, and they can be alleviated with a prescription that we can provide.

We will give you personalized recovery instructions. These will include how to take care of your incisions, how to encourage healing, and things to watch out for. If you have any questions or concerns as you recover, do not hesitate to contact us.


You will be able to see a difference in the shape and contour of your thighs immediately after your procedure. However, the full aesthetic results of your thigh lift will be obscured by swelling for eight to twelve weeks. When your swelling goes down, you will see the transformative effects that a thigh lift can have on your appearance. 

Ultimately, the only way to determine whether or not one would benefit from a transformative procedure such as a thigh lift is by meeting with a doctor who specializes in body contouring procedures, such as Dr. Michaels. Request a consultation in order to find out.

Corresponding & Complementary Procedures

Dr. Michaels can perform thigh lifts as standalone procedures or in combination with different procedures to meet his patient’s specific goals. These can work in addition to your thigh lift to enhance your appearance.


Dr. Michaels performs liposuction in nearly all of his thigh lift procedures to help improve the contour of the thighs. It involves the removal of excess fat cells from the body. He uses a thin tube-like tool called a cannula to break up the fat and remove it using suction. If you have good skin laxity, you may only need liposuction to enhance the appearance of your thighs.

Lower Body Lift

A lower body lift addresses excess skin on the abdominal area, buttocks, and inner and outer thighs. It involves liposuction in these areas to remove excess fat, skin and tissue. In some circumstances, Dr. Michaels will perform a medial thigh lift at the same time as a lower body lift. An arm lift and breast lift can also be combined with a lower body lift for comprehensive results.

For more information on the procedures that Dr. Michaels offers, visit our blog.

How Much Do Thigh Lifts Cost in Maryland?

The cost of a thigh lift surgery can vary depending on several factors. During your consultation, we will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the costs involved, allowing you to make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and aesthetic goals. To learn about thigh lift surgery at Michaels Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, call (301) 468-5991 (Rockville), (703) 957-8610 (Fairfax), or visit our contact page


Are the results of a thigh lift permanent?

If you receive liposuction during your thigh lift, the loss of fat cells will be permanent. However, gaining weight can expand your remaining fat cells and change the shape of your thighs. The skin-tightening results of your thigh lift will last for years, though they will be susceptible to the effects of aging. Living a healthy lifestyle will help to keep your skin tight. 

How long do thigh lift procedures take to complete?

Thigh lifts can take from three to six hours to complete. This depends on the steps your surgeon needs to take to provide optimal results. 

What does recovery from a thigh lift look like?

Recovery from a thigh lift typically requires one to two weeks of downtime. You will need to take time off from work and rest at home.


  1. Di Pietro V, Colicchia GM, Cervelli V. Medial Thigh Contouring After Massive Weight Loss: The Liposuction-Assisted Medial Thigh Lift (LAMeT). Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2020;13(4):305-313. doi: 
  2. Bell D, Winters R. Thighplasty. PubMed. Published 2023.