Thigh Surgery vs Liposuction After Weight Loss? | Geoffrey Barnett
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Thigh Surgery vs Liposuction

Posted on: August 30th, 2016
thigh surgery thigh surgery

The stubborn fat on your thighs is refractory to most traditional weight loss techniques. It is no surprise that a lot of individuals opt for plastic surgery procedures. This is especially the case for those who have lost large amounts of weight.  Many people can’t achieve well-toned, firmer looking thighs with exercise and weight loss alone.

The answer will depend on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Genetics
  • Fitness
  • BMI (body mass index)
  • Muscle-to-fat ratio
  • The degree to which your skin has been stretched
  • Level of collagen and elastin in your skin

Is Thigh Surgery Better Than Liposuction?

It has been observed that most massive weight loss ambitions have an unintended result: crepey-looking skin or redundant skin folds. People feel happy about their weight change but unhappy with the unpleasing visual results of saggy skin. This is particularly evident on the upper arms or triceps, the abdomen, the breast area, back and thighs.

Inner and Outer Thighs

Advancing age and metabolic changes are also part of a lack of skin firmness in the thigh area. Hormonal and genetic factors can also leave you with skin that seems to ‘drape’ down your thighs. Rubbing skin can cause chaffing and skin infections. It can also impede your comfort when participating in exercise or sports – or even just everyday walking. Liposuction can work for some men and women who have residual fat in their thighs. But if saggy, crepey skin is a factor, then you’ll likely require a thighplasty (Thigh Reduction Surgery).


Dr Geoff Barnett can assess the correct procedure for you. You may want to explore combined surgery.

Thighplasty: Thigh Reduction or Thigh Surgery

Thighplasty (also referred to as thigh lift, thigh surgery, or thigh reduction surgery) is a surgical method of reshaping and contouring the thighs. Having a thighplasty or thigh lift procedure can:

  • Allow you to more comfortably wear clothing or swimsuits (although you will have a scar).
  • Move about more easily in your day to day activities
  • Stop feeling like you want to cover up your thighs even in summer
  • Help reduce your susceptibility to chronic skin infections and painful chaffing

The reason liposuction may not work after significant weight changes is loose skin. Many post-weight loss patients have saggy, over-stretched ‘redundant’ skin folds and crepey thigh skin. Unlike liposuction, thighplasty does not only involve the removal of extra fat. Instead it focuses on all important cosmetic aspects such as fat proportion, muscle contour, elasticity and tonicity of skin.

It is noteworthy that thighplasty can be performed along the inner as well as outer aspect of thighs.
thigh surgery

Who are suitable candidates for Thighplasty?

Thighplasty is a complex procedure. Despite amazing results, thigh surgery is not for everyone. Certain factors can make a person more likely candidate for this procedure; these are:

  • Presence of extra or loose skin on thighs
  • People who have an overall healthy body weight but saggy/ chubby thighs
  • The candidate to be healthy and at a stable weight for best results and an optimal recovery process

You may be able to opt for liposuction if you:

  • Only want to get rid of excessive thigh fat
  • Have good skin elastin and collagen
  • Haven’t had major weight changes over the years

In general, while liposuction is also a serious surgery, it is less invasive than a full thigh reduction. Liposuction was also was developed for the removal of stubborn fat that doesn’t go away with exercise and diet. This is called “exercise resistant or stubborn fat stores.”

Removal of fat in small quantities can be performed during thighplasty procedure. But if there is too much fat to be removed, then the thigh reduction/thigh lift procedure may be performed. It can be done in two stages. Liposuction is ideally performed several months before the thighplasty or surgical reduction of the thigh. After recovery from the earlier liposuction, surgical excision of excess skin and fat tissues

What should you know about the Thigh Lift procedure?

Thighplasty begins with an incision along the most subtle areas of thigh. The length and depth of incision depends upon the amount of skin available and extent of procedure. The excess droopy skin and fat can be removed via incisions, to make your skin tight and fully-contoured. These are the different types of thigh-lift surgeries. mummy-makeover-thigh-lift-1

For inner thigh lifting, an incision is made along the groin area, extending downwards sometimes to the knees.

Outer thigh lifting may involve incisions in the tummy or hip area as well.

The Spiral Thighplasty

There is another newer variety of thigh surgery which is known as spiral thighplasty. In this procedure, a Surgeon mainly targets the inner, outer, front and back of thigh. The incision for a spiral thighplasty surgery is often introduced below the buttock fold. It then extends up to the junction between thigh and pubic area.

Whatever type of thighplasty procedure you have, Dr Geoff Barnett fully customises his surgery to your anatomy. It is very important, however, to maintain realistic expectations about what any procedure can accomplish. And remember, there will be a scar, although many patients prefer a scar over chronic skin conditions.

Hospital Procedures under General Anaesthesia

Thighplasty surgery is always carried out under general anaesthesia, in a fully accredited Hospital. Dr Barnett can give you more details in a consultation, including what to expect, along with surgical risks.

Recovery Process

The recovery period can be a challenging time for any patient. You will often have to wear compression garments day and night for several weeks after your surgery. You will need to wait a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks before you can return normal activities. Common adverse effects after the procedure include discomfort, pain, difficulty sleeping, and swelling of thighs.

There are other risks to surgery, some of which are life threatening. You will be given full information of surgical risks during a consultation. Thigh surgery a relatively safe procedure when done by a qualified surgeon in a fully accredited Australian hospital.

The extent of swelling depends upon how intensive the procedure is, and it can take a longer time to heal. Most swelling subsides within a month but complete healing or recovery may take 6 months or more.

Can you combine other surgeries with thigh surgery?

If your plastic surgeon believes it is in your best interest to do so, a thigh lift procedure can be combined with other surgical procedures. Combination surgeries are becoming common, however, many plastic surgeons prefer not to combine too many procedures at once. There are several reasons why separate procedures may be best for you, including:

  • Reducing the length of time you’ll need to be under anaesthesia and risks such as DVT risks
  • Less difficulties during recovery
    • If several areas have been treated in one surgical session, it can be very uncomfortable during the recovery process, impeding sleep and day to day movements
  • Too many procedures at once can delay recovery time
    • Slow recovery periods and too much ‘out of daily life’ time can sometimes lead to feeling down or even depressed after surgery

It is important to discuss these factors with your surgeon and the surgical support team so you know what to expect.

Risk of Complications after Thighplasty:

As compared to other plastic surgery procedures, thigh surgery produces more visible scars. They do fade over time, however. Extended procedures require long incisions which may leave longer and more visible scars. Some people are also more prone to scarring (or visible scarring such as keloids).

It is important to keep in mind that no surgical method can stop the natural ageing process. Whilst you will have far better thigh contours after surgery, you will need to keep your expectations realistic about what surgery can accomplish. In addition, if you want to maintain surgical results for longer time, you must adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain a stable weight.

Want to see before and after thigh reduction photos? Our nurses are happy to show you body lift surgery results including thigh surgery in a free consultation.

Or schedule a surgical consultation directly with Dr Geoff Barnett. Please phone (03) 8849 1400 or Contact Us if you would like an appointment or further information.


  1. Nayar, H. S., Kling, R. E., MacIsaac, Z. M., Katzel, E. B., Coon, D., James, I. B., … & Gusenoff, J. A. (2013). Medial Thighplasty in the Massive Weight Loss Population: Risk Factors and Complications in 106 Patients. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 132(4S-1), 71.
  2. Bertheuil, N., Thienot, S., Huguier, V., Ménard, C., & Watier, E. (2014). Medial thighplasty after massive weight loss: are there any risk factors for postoperative complications?. Aesthetic plastic surgery, 38(1), 63-68.
  3. Afshari, A., Gupta, V., Nguyen, L., Shack, R. B., Grotting, J. C., & Higdon, K. K. (2016). Preoperative Risk Factors and Complication Rates of Thighplasty: Analysis of 1,493 Patients. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, sjv275.
  4. Bertheuil, N., Thienot, S., Chaput, B., Varin, A., & Watier, E. (2015). Quality-of-life assessment after medial thighplasty in patients following massive weight loss. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 135(1), 67e-73e.
  5. Garcia, E. B., Gurgel, A., Sallum, N., Pedroso, J. C. M., Tedesco, A. C. B., Takassi, G., … & Ferreira, L. M. (2013). How To Reduce Thighplasty Complications Using the Boomerang Technique. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 132(4S-1), 162-163.