What is thigh reduction and brachioplasty?

Thigh reduction, or 'thigh lift', is a cosmetic surgery that involves removing excess skin and fatty tissue from the thigh area. The procedure may be performed in combination with other procedures such as liposuction. 

Where the skin is too loose for liposuction alone to result in a thigh reduction with a good skin appearance, a thigh reduction with skin removal would be required.

Who is it for?

Those who choose to undergo thigh reduction surgery usually have large amounts of skin or fatty tissue in the thigh area. In many cases, this is due to ageing or a major weight loss. Many patients suffer from chafing between the legs, making activities challenging.   

In many cases, the procedure is done in combination with liposuction in an effort to further empty the loose skin of any fat. This allows the surgeon to only remove skin while preserving all of the important structures in the patient's legs such as nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics.

How is it done? 

Thigh reduction involves a general anaesthetic and a hospital stay.    

Thigh reduction is most commonly performed with liposuction. An incision is made in the groin crease from front to back, or down the inner thigh in the most inside, hard-to-see part of the thigh. Excess tissue is removed and wounds are carefully stitched or stapled closed, sometimes with permanent internal anchoring sutures, keeping all the incisions hidden by clothing. This method takes two to three hours and is used to remove skin and excess fatty tissue in both the front and back of the thigh. An alternative technique involves making an incision on the inner thigh from the groin down to slightly above the knee only. Skin and fatty tissue are removed before the skin is sutured together. 

Key facts

  • Post-surgery, the treated area becomes swollen and bruised. While any bruising gradually dissipates and the patient will see changes to the area as soon as the garment is removed, it will take weeks, and possibly months, for all of the swelling to resolve and to reveal one's new body form. 

  • Following surgery, it is best to take one to four weeks off work, depending on the size of the procedure. Patient's can resume driving when they are comfortable and no longer taking strong pain medication; normally two weeks after surgery.

  • These procedures cause bruising discomfort, which normally makes the patient stiff and sore. The discomfort can be controlled with oral pain medication. It is crucial that the patient drinks plenty of fluid and waits at least three weeks before participating in heavy exercise. 

Important to know

So you can make an informed decision, your elected surgeon will discuss the possible risks associated with thigh reduction and brachioplasty. Although the majority of patients do not experience these complications, it's important to understand how they can be managed in the event that they occur. 

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Mr Guy Watts

Guy Watts

28 Reviews

Plastic Surgeon
Western Australia, Australia

Scared Perth September 3rd, 2016

Dr Guy Watts is an absolute perfectionist. He provided me with every bit of information I could possibly need. This was the hardest yet best decision I have made for myself since losing 55kg naturally. The attention to detail and after care have been second to none. I would recommend Dr Watts to anyone who expects nothing less than the best. He will do everything in his power to achieve the best results for any of his patients. I couldn't be happier with my results and it's only 4 weeks since my total body lift.
Dr. Ellis Choy

Ellis Choy

179 Reviews

Plastic Surgeon
New South Wales, Australia

Irmgard July 4th, 2014

I have always had problems with my weight throughout my life and I finally had to see a specialist to have lap band surgery. After successfully losing over 40kgs and my weight being stable for a couple of years, I had added problems with the excess flabby skin on my thighs. It caused more pressure on my arthritic knees and back and there were problems with keeping this area free of rashes and infections. I also had to buy bigger pant to fit the excess skin in, so I decided that I needed to do something about it and my Bariatric Surgeon recommended Dr Ellis Choy. On my first consultation with Dr Choy for discussing the thigh reductions possibility, he made me feel comfortable and relaxed as he explained the procedure and showed me what I would look like after the procedure. He also explained the risks involved in having the surgery, that this surgery was major and time wise and answered all my questions making me feel confident and informed about this procedure. I decided to go ahead and all paperwork was completed and I was booked into hospital. I then had problems with my private health insurer regarding this procedure as being for “cosmetic” purposes and not for health reasons. Dr Choy and his staff were fantastic and helped lessen the stress of having to explain and provided detailed paper works for the health insurer to finally agree to pay for the surgery to go ahead. Dr Choy and his team were very professional and reassuring on the day of the surgery and everything went well. Unfortunately I had a few problems with my wound opening up after I left the hospital and had to have surgery to correct the problem with lots of visits from the community nurses until the all clear was given. The scar line is great and there is no hint of the problems encountered. Dr Choy and his staff were very supportive for what had happened but I knew there were risks involved with any surgery and it was no one’s fault as sometimes these things happen. It is now eighteen months since having this thigh reduction and my scar line is fantastic and my legs look better than I thought the outcome would be. No one can see the scar when I’m wearing dresses and now I can buy pants the right size. It has also lessened the pain in my knees and back and I am very happy with the outcome. I’m forever grateful for Dr Choy’s expertise and wonderful care in sculpturing my thighs. I can’t thank Dr Choy and his team enough for giving a new lease of life. Thank you so much!