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Thigh Lift Recovery and Downtime

How much downtime/time off work for a thigh reduction?

Doctor Answers (10)

2 weeks for the initial recovery (light activity OK) then 8-12 weeks for full recovery.

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The first two weeks are critical after thigh reduction surgery. During this time, it is important that swelling be kept to a minimum and incisions are allowed to fully heal. It is critical to be very careful and cautious during this time, moving slowly and intentionally to avoid pulling on incisions. Open wounds in the thigh area are difficult to heal because of the tension of gravity pulling down on the full weight of the legs and because of the movement when walking, sitting, bending, and even just getting in and out of bed.

Once you make it through this time and the incisions are well-healed, you should be able to return to light activities -- slowly increasing your activity being mindful not to allow yourself to become swollen. The most important thing to remember is that pain will not always be a strong enough signal to keep you from overdoing it. You may not have pain, but if you have swelling, you are doing too much.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

How extensive the thigh reduction is determines your recovery time

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Removal of tissue from the inner thigh or medial thigh will leave an incision along the groin crease. This requires 2-3 weeks of healing. It is not uncommon to have small separations in the incision, requiring additional healing time. Most do not require surgical closure as a second follow up operation.

Larger thigh reductions, such as a lower body lift (which addresses the buttocks/posterior thigh, hips/lateral thigh, and anterior thigh), may require 4 to 6 weeks of recovery. The longer the incision, the longer the time required to allow them to heal.

Start with a one on one consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to determine which thigh reduction procedure will achieve your particular goals in improving the appearance of your thighs. This will then determine where there will be incisions and the amount of time you will need to set aside to heal properly. Best of Luck!

David N. Hing, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon

Down time after a medial thigh lift

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Medial thigh lift is a tough procedure for both the surgeon and the patient.  I tell my patients 2 - 3 off of a desk job if everything goes swimmingly.  Sometimes I think I need 2 - 3 weeks off after doing one of these challenging operations. 

The rate of complications is high but they usually consist of delayed healing or prolonged swelling which is manageable.

Any patient having this procedure or just about any major plastic surgery procedure can expect 6 weeks of feeling very tired - sort of like the first trimester of pregnancy.  I tell my patients to go back to work part time the first week and schedule a nice nap when they get home.  Something magical happens at 6 weeks and patients are usually back to their baseline energy level.

Patients who short change their recovery time end up sore and frustrated.  As usual, I learned the hard way.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa L. Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Thigh lift

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Down time form a thigh lift or a thigh reduction procedure can take anywhere form 3 to 4 weeks.  You will need about 6 weeks to be completely healed however.  I would plan to take at least one month off work.  Optimizing your nutrition with protein supplements will help you to heal faster.

Ask you doctor

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The down time depends on the procedure. If you have a lot of excess skin and may need liposuction with the thigh lift ,your down time may be 10-14 day. Thigh lifts have high rate of wound break down and this may delay the full recovery.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Activity after thigh lift and reduction

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These vary tremendously in their design and therefore restrictions may be different.

Limitations in activity are typically placed to minimize stretching of the scar.

However, we do prefer patients to be active to minimize the possibility of a deep vein thrombosis. In the meantime you may wear compression stockings to minimize your risk and perform point and flex toe/calf exercises (like they instruct you on an airplane) to diminish venous stasis.

Excessive bending or flexing may be prohibited by your surgeon. Aids such as a walker or toilet seat riser may be beneficial.

Generally, we find our paitents need around two weeks to feel mobile and independent.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Thigh reduction

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Thigh reduction implies reducing the size of the thigh. That could be outer thighs, inner thighs, buttock or any combination of these to achieve the results you desire.

The down time varies depending on what need to be done and the design of the procedure. It can vary from 3 to 6 weeks.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Thigh lift downtime

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You should take it very easy the first two weeks after surgery. You can resume most activities usually by three weeks. Expect to be off of work for two weeks, but you will be able to be up and around - this is encouraged to keep your blood circulation going, but make sure to take it easy.

Recovery Following Thigh Lift: What to Expect

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Thigh lift surgery tightens excess thigh skin which ultimately improves thigh contour.  Patients can anticipate limited physical activity for ten to fourteen days following surgery.  I typically tell patients bathroom and kitchen privileges initially with slow resumption of normal activity over the next two weeks.  Patients can usually return to work in two weeks if no strenuous activity or heavy lifting is involved.  After six weeks, they can resume all their normal activities including heavy lifting.

                  Drains are places at the time of surgery and are usually removed within two weeks of surgery.  Patients typically wear compression dressings for about three weeks following surgery.  This minimizes swelling and increases comfort.  Most patients are initially given narcotic pain relievers and switched to double strength Tylenol five to seven days following surgery.

                  Patients with small children should have assistance with childcare for at least one week and patients should not drive while taking narcotics.  

                  For many patients, thigh lift surgery is a life changing experience.  The procedure ultimately improves self-confidence, self-image and self-esteem. 

Returning to work after Thigh Lift surgery

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Taking adequate time to recover after a thigh reduction procedure is important. Some limitations of activity are necessary in order to reduce chances of the scar stretching, and some doctors recommend wearing compression garments to minimize the risk of blood clots.

I recommend taking at least 1 week away from work for your initial recovery, as long as your work does not require you to do any activities that require physical exertion on your part. I also recommend waiting at least 21 days until doing any activities that raise your heart rate, such as working out or heavy lifting. Once you are beyond that point, you should be able to resume your normal activities, unless advised otherwise by your surgeon.

Scott W. Mosser, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.