Ask a doctor

Thigh Lift Scars: Vertical vs. Horizontal

i had a liopscution in May and planning to do thigh lift as i have saggin in the inner thigh and little sagging from outer thigh. i heard is vertical scar is bad as it's get wide and it's visiable as the horizontal scar which will be in the bikini area so it's not visiable and usually its good scar. so what would you recommend ? and also am planning to do tatto on the scar. so how long i need to wait to get the tatto on the scar ?

Doctor Answers 19

Thigh lifts - vertical vs. horizontal

The vertical design thigh lift removes more skin, and gets more of a better improvement in the mid and lower thigh than the smaller horizontal design, but at the expense of a significantly longer scar.  It's more commonly needed in people that have had MWL (massive weight loss), or significant previous liposuction of the inner thigh.

It's a trade-off of amount of improvement vs. amount of scar.


Hope that helps,

Thight lift scar issue

Depending upon a patients skin laxity, I will perform either a medial thigh lift with an incision in the groin crease, or will use an "L" shaped one extending down the inner thigh in a vertical fashion.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Thigh lift

There are very few indication for the vertical scar medial thigh lift.  It is usually reserved to extreme excess that extend to the knee area and even below.The scar is wide and may become thick (Hypertrophic). But this method tightens the thigh significantly, with very good results and very bad visible scar.

The transverse grion scar will tighten moderate laxity of the medial thigh, the scar is well hidden. Unless the scar is not well fixed to the pubic bone and muscle fascia to anchor it in place. Otherwise the scar will migrate down and will show on the upper thigh below the BIKINI.

So Discuss your options with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon, who can discuss the pros and cons of each.

Also remember that the transverse medial thigh incision can be extended laterally to lift the lateral thighs, and if extended all the way to the buttock yuou can lift the buttocks

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Incision Placement for Thigh Lift

                  The type of incision utilized when performing thigh lift surgery is entirely dependent upon the patients anatomy and aesthetic goals.  When the deformity is relatively mild a horizontal incision can be placed in the groin crease.  This incision is nicely hidden in this location and usually provides a good aesthetic result.

                  When the deformity is more significant and excess tissue is present in multiple dimensions a more aggressive procedure is indicated.  This procedure will require excision of excess tissue in both the vertical and horizontal planes.  This usually involves extending the transverse incision along the inner aspect of the thigh to level of the knee.

                  Both of these incisions remove and tighten excess thigh skin and significantly improve thigh contour.  They are associated with high satisfaction rates amongst patients.  Unfortunately both horizontal and vertical thigh lift incisions can be associated with unattractive scars.  For this reason, meticulous surgical technique is necessary whenever performing this procedure.  Horizontal incisions can be easily hidden by clothing along the groin crease, but in many cases there’s no way to hide the vertical incision.

                  It’s not unusual for patients to develop skin sag after aggressive liposuction.  Under these circumstances many patients require some type of thigh lift procedure.  The exact procedure chosen is dependent upon the patient’s anatomy.  In your case it’s hard to make a determination without a physical examination or pictures that extend to the knee level.  In addition, tattoos can be utilized to hide scarring, but that should be delayed until wound healing is complete.

                  If you’re considering thigh lift surgery, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan that addresses your concerns.  

Best Thigh Lift Scars: Vertical vs. Horizontal

Different Plastic Surgeons with great experience and results often argue the answer to your question. The most important choice is finding the best surgeon (see below link).                        My choice as to whether a vertical scar is needed is on the basis of my exam and where the most excess skin is located. For example if a roll  of skin high up  on the inside of the thigh then a groin scar incision is  preferred, where as if there is circumferential excess from the knee to the groin then a vertical incision is best in my hands

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Horizontal incisions for thigh lifts

In general I rely on horizontal incisions and I avoid vertical incisions when doing thigh lifts. This usually gives a better cosmetic outcome while adequately addressing loose skin. 

Vertical vs horizontal scar

Without looking at a picture it is hard to say in your case.  In general if you have laxity to the mid-thigh you will need a vertical component to your lift.  I place this scar in the middle of the medial thigh and the scar does fade with time.  You are trading a scar for contour.  Good luck.

Thigh lift scar placement

The answer to your question depends on your anatomy.  In other words, where is the excess skin and fat in your thighs? If the excess is localized to the upper thigh or upper medial thigh, then a horizontal scar hidden in your groin crease would suffice.   However, if you have more excess skin and fat extending down your thigh to the knee area, depending on the severity of excess skin, you may need to the vertical (medial inseam) incision line.  

Thigh lift scar options

Excess skin has to be surgically removed. Surgery results in scars. 

Regarding vertical scars in a thigh-lift:

  • This technique is largely reserved for patients who have had a large weight loss, like a post-bariatric surgery patient with an extreme amount of loose skin
  • I have not personally experienced widening of the scars in my patients
  • It HAS been my experience that the resultant scar is much less unsightly than the loose sagging skin the patient had before surgery. 

Thigh lift scar placement

The type of incision will depend on the degree of laxity and how far this laxity extends down your thigh. Body contouring is really a trade off between skin and scar and you have to know in yourself what you will be able to tolerate. Horizontal scars are better hidden, but the tradeoff is that it really only corrects laxity in the superior portion of the thigh. Unfortunately it is not possible to get an adequate lift of the middle/lower thigh through this type of incision. Placing too much tension on a horizontal incision can lead to widening of the scar and distortion of the pubic region. Vertical scars can be well hidden on the inner thigh and often fade well. This is a more appropriate operation for patients with laxity of the middle and lower thighs. Regarding the tattoo, it takes the incisions/scars about one year to mature so I would wait at least that long before getting some new ink. Best of luck.

Joseph Michaels, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 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.