The Thigh Lift Recovery Timeline - Aesthetic Center at Woodholme

The Thigh Lift Recovery Timeline

A thigh lift is a surgical procedure performed to shape and contour the upper leg. By eliminating excess fat and tightening loose skin, a thigh lift can drastically and permanently improve the look of your lower body. It can even be customized to focus on the inner thigh, the outer thigh, or both.

While a relatively simple procedure, it’s always best to know what to expect following any surgery. The truth is, your recovery is the most important part of your surgery, so following your plastic surgeon’s directions and allowing your body to rest are key factors in achieving your best results. Here’s what to expect from your thigh lift recovery after surgery at the Aesthetic Center at Woodholme.


Thigh lifts are performed under general anesthesia, so you may feel groggy for a while upon waking. Soreness is to be expected, and it isn’t unusual to feel nauseous for a few hours. Your thighs will have been wrapped in bandages, and you’ll likely either be wearing or need to wear a compression garment. Drainage tubes may be placed beneath the skin to allow fluids to drain as you heal.

Because of soreness and the fact that you’ll be on pain medications, you won’t be able to drive following the procedure. Arrange to have a friend or family member drive you home and stay with you for the first day.


You’ll experience swelling and bruising after your thigh lift, and it will probably peak at this time. You’ll also begin to experience less pain and discomfort from this point forward. It’s advisable to walk around a bit regularly to prevent blood clots from forming – but otherwise, keep activity to a minimum as your incisions heal.


After one week, you’ll have a follow-up visit with your plastic surgeon to check on your healing. 

At this time, you should continue to wear your compression garment according to instructions, which protects your incisions and gives needed support to your thighs. It also helps the skin adhere to the new contours.

Continue to use caution when sitting, standing, bending, or walking, as these activities strain the thigh muscles. You can begin to do light activity at this time, but hold off on strenuous activity until cleared by your plastic surgeon.


This is a good time to start incorporating some careful, simple exercise into your recovery regimen. This might include light walking. However, still avoid any activity that puts undue strain on your thighs. By this time, most swelling, pain, and bruising will have subsided and you may see the beginnings of your results.


At this time, your incisions should be fully healed. You should be able to return to life as usual, more or less, at this point. Make sure to check with your plastic surgeon about returning to exercise, especially if you plan to do leg-heavy exercises like running, cycling, climbing, or lifting.


At six months, all swelling should be gone, and you should see the results of your thigh lift, which is a tighter, more sculpted look. The look of your thighs may continue to improve for up to a year. With a healthy and active lifestyle, you can maintain your new look for many years to come.


The thigh lift is one of the best ways to reshape your thighs and enjoy a more balanced, leaner look. To find out if you’re a good candidate for a thigh lift, schedule a consultation with Drs. Papel, Kontis, and Brown at the Aesthetic Center at Woodholme by calling or filling out our online form.

Dr. Ira D. Papel is certified in Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Papel earned his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from Boston University of Medicine. He completed a residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Papel is considered an international expert in rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty, and facial aesthetic surgery.