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.