Thigh Lift Introduction

A thigh lift is useful for reshaping and contouring the thighs. Dr. Kim removes excess skin and fat from the upper leg so you have better proportions and a more toned leg contour. Thigh lift surgery is the same thing as having liposuction in these areas. Liposuction is more suited for patients with firmer fat deposits, whereas thigh lift is ideal for removing loose, sagging, stretched skin that will not disappear with diet and exercise.

The Thigh Lift Procedure

The pattern and length of your thigh lift surgery incision depends on the location and amount of excess skin and fat to be removed. The incision can be very small and not extend beyond the groin area, or it may be larger and extend from the groin around the hip. Usually, the larger incision is used when Dr. Kim improves the contours of your outer thigh, not just your inner thigh. During your personalized consultation with Dr. Kim in his offices in the Galter Pavilion on the Northwestern campus in downtown Chicago, he will discuss your incision options and work with you to decide which option is best. Often, he is able to place even large incisions in a location not readily visible.

Through the incision(s), Dr. Kim is able to tighten your tissues for a firmer, smoother lower body contour with improved tone. The tissue under the skin as well as the skin itself will be reduced and reshaped, allowing for more proportionate and more attractive body contours.


Dr. John Kim, cosmetic plastic surgeon, typically performs his thigh lifts as outpatient procedures, meaning you will go home the day of surgery or less commonly be admitted to the hospital for 23 hours or less. Directly after surgery, he may apply dressings and bandages to your incisions and perhaps an elastic bandage as well to reduce any swelling. Thin, small drains may be placed beneath the skin for a few days or weeks to drain excess fluid or blood that accumulates at your surgery site. Dr. Kim will provide you with specific directions as to how to care for your body following surgery, including medications to aid healing and avoid infection and when to schedule follow up appointments to see him in his Northwestern Plastic Surgery office.

As you recover, it is crucial that you follow the plan of care Dr. Kim outlines for you. He will discuss what to expect during your recovery period, including pain expectations, activity levels, and driving restrictions. It is very important that your incisions are not subjected to any abrasion, motion, or excessive force as they heal. The healing process varies from patient to patient based on how extensive the surgical correction was, but it is typical that patients are required to wear a compression garment to provide support to the affected tissues as they heal and to minimize swelling. After just a few weeks, patients are usually able to resume the majority of their normal daily activities, including mild exercise.

Swelling typically begins to subside after 2 weeks, and you will start to notice your tighter, smoother contours at that time. Scars often appear prominent the first few months after surgery, but those too begin to subside over time. They gradually flatten and lighten in color, but they will not disappear entirely. Thigh lifts can give patients with extra, sagging, stretchy skin very positive results. Your slimmer contours can provide you with a more beautiful physique and increased self-esteem. These lift surgeries are considered permanent; however, Dr. Kim always recommends that you maintain a healthy weight and diet so as to retain your excellent results.