I'm 6 Weeks (On Thursday) out from my Medial Thigh Lift and I'm Still Having Some Swelling Issues. Is This Normal? (photo)

I recently had a medial thigh lift (July 25th) as well as a brachioplasty as stage 1 of a three-staged surgical process after being 4 years out from having roux en y gastric bypass surgery. My arms have already healed beautifully. However, I'm still having trouble managing the swelling in my legs. While I've been back at work for 2 weeks now, yesterday I noticed that my lower left leg, ankle and foot were incredibly swollen - basically, whatever wasn't covered by my lower compression garment.

Doctor Answers 3

Swelling and medial thigh lift

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persistent, recurrent swelling are not uncommon after a medial thigh lift. The fact that it is unilateral ( one side ) is a little concerning and I think even though already 6 weeks out, you should call or visit with your Plastic surgeon to make sure you do not have a DVT ( deep vein thrombosis ).

San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

The Management of Prolonged Post-Operative Swelling

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Persistent lower extremity swelling is unusual following thigh lift surgery and should be investigated vigorously whenever it occurs. This is especially true when the swelling is unilateral. Although it's not unusual for patients to retain fluid in the immediate post-operative period, this usually resolves in the first two weeks following surgery.

Late swelling following thigh lift surgery can occur for a variety of reasons. Many of these causes are potentially serious and could represent life threatening conditions. For these reasons, it's important to determine the cause of this problem as soon as possible.

This type of swelling can be caused by deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities. This problem can occur following surgery and involves the formation of blood clots in the lower extremity veins. These blood clots have the potential to break free and go to the lungs where they can cause life threatening situations.

This type of swelling can be related to disruption of the normal lymphatic channels during surgery. In some cases, this type of swelling may be unrelated to surgery. This type of swelling could be related to congestive heart failure. In some cases, drugs that are used to manage hypertension such as amylodipine can cause peripheral swelling.

When lower extremity swelling occurs late in the post-operative period, it should be investigated aggressively. The treatment will depend entirely upon the causative factors. It's, therefore, important to consult your plastic surgeon as soon as possible.

Swelling after Medial Thigh Lift Surgery

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Hi Dana.  Swelling is quite common after an inner thigh or leg lift. During the first six weeks post medial thigh lift surgery, I require my patients to wear a compression garment, typically extending from the ankles to the below the rib cage.  This helps contain the swelling from spreading to other parts of the body.  I also require that within the first two weeks, patients spend most of their day elevating their feet, either sitting or lying down. Moreover, keeping activity to a minimum is important during the initial healing process, over doing it can exacerbate the swelling.


In your particular case returning to work may have aggravated the swelling in your leg.  It is important that you reach out to your plastic surgeon regarding your current symptoms.  Uncommon complications having similar attributes to swelling are: blood clots and lymphedema.  During your physician’s visit your plastic surgeon will be able to thoroughly examine you, and assure you there are no major concerns.

Congratulations on your weight-loss journey!  I wish you the best on your upcoming surgery.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

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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.