The thighs are one area where fat can accumulate and be very difficult to get rid of. Not only this, but weight fluctuations can cause stretching and sagging of the skin. For these reasons, surgical correction of the thighs is one of the best options available. This process is called a thigh lift and uses incisions to remove fat and excess skin.

Improvement of the appearance of the thigh generally focuses on 3 main goals:

  1. Removal of unwanted fat collections
  2. Treatment of loose or lax thigh skin
  3. Correction of cellulite

Although a surgical thigh lift does not generally address cellulite, Dr. Carpenter can recommend your best options for treatment with non-surgical options.

What are My Options for a Thigh Lift?

Fat collections within the thigh can be circumferential or may be localized to a specific areas, such as the lateral thighs (“saddlebags”), upper-inner thighs, or the lower inner knee areas. In general, localized fat collections can be addressed with only liposuction. Dr. Carpenter prefers to utilize SmartLipo techniques, which use laser energy to melt fat for easier suction. However, when loose and stretched skin is present, surgical techniques including skin excision are more effective.

A new and exciting area of thigh contouring utilizes the “Precision Tx” fiber-optic laser to contour the lower thigh just above the knee. Many women experience excess wrinkling of the skin in the knee area and this has been difficult to treat with traditional excisional techniques in the past. Laser tightening of the skin in this area can yield significantly-improved results for the appearance of the knee region.


Loose skin in the upper-inner thigh can be removed with a small, crescent-shaped incision within the bikini line, or a small T-shaped incision in the upper-inner thigh. For larger thigh lifts, such as those required after massive weight loss, a full, traditional thigh-lift uses an incision that runs up the medial portion of the thigh from the knee to the bikini line. This may be done with or without liposuction to the anterior of the lateral thigh. Excess or sagging skin in the lateral thigh can be removed with a lateral thigh lift utilizing a scar that runs in the bikini line just below the buttock area.


Cellulaze is the only FDA-approved treatment for long-term correction of cellulite in the buttock and thighs. The procedure is done under local anesthesia and usually only one treatment is needed to see results. The procedure uses laser energy to change the anatomy of the fatty and fibrous tissue under the skin that gives rise to cellulite. Results are long-lasting and can be achieved in tandem with surgical techniques.

Results and Recovery

The extent of your recovery after a thigh lift will depend on which options are best for you and your goals. Although liposuction can only require a few days of downtime, techniques that require surgical incisions will increase your recovery. Whether opting for liposuction or surgery, you can expect some swelling and discomfort afterwards, which can be aided with the use of a compression garment to help blood flow and improve your new contours. During your consultation with Dr. Carpenter, you’ll discuss all of your options and the associated recovery so that you have a complete picture of your procedure.

Schedule Your Consultation

Dr. Carpenter is a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring and can recommend your best options for surgical and non-surgical thigh rejuvenation. To begin planning your unique procedure and discuss your options, contact Allegany Plastic Surgery by calling or filling out our online form.