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
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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 32 reviews

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. 

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 103 reviews

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.  

Vertical or Horizontal Thigh Lift Scar? How about BOTH

In reality, for major thigh laxity following major weight loss, both a vertical AND horizontal incision for removal of vertical and horizontal excess are useful for removal of thigh cutaneous redundancy in 3 dimensions. However, you are correct about the cosmetic appearance with many individuals reporting satisfaction with correction of skin ecess but dissatisfaction with the visibily of the scar. Therfore many patients chose a compromise with the length of the vertical component.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Scar location for a thigh lift

There are two types of scars used for a thigh lift.  A horizontal scar placed in the groin crease is best for patients who have significant vertical laxity(loose skin which can easily be pulled upward).  A vertical incision along the inner aspect of the thigh from groin to knee is best used in you have significant horizontal skin laxity or looseness. The specific incision needs to be tailored to your specific anatomy.

I would add that the scars can migrate or widen from their original position; something patients should be made aware of before their surgery.

I recommend consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in this type of body contouring procedure.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 279 reviews

Tattooing only draws attention to thigh lift scars!

But if you must tattoo your scars, I would wait until the scars have fully matured and you and your doctor have decided that no touch-up or revisional surgery is recommended. A year (rarely more) may be necessary for maximum scar softening, settling, and fading (maturation).

Vertical or horizontal incision choice depends on the distribution and degree of skin laxity. No one answer is "correct" for all patients, especially for those who have has massive weight loss and have lots of loose skin to tailor surgically.

The vertical scar is not as bad as the wrinkled saggy skin, so I would disagree with my colleagues who would try to dissuade you from this scar (if you truly need it). The horizontal scar is not a "slam dunk" of scar perfection either, and needs careful technique with someone experienced in proper attachment of the thigh skin to Colles ligament and other support tissues, in order to minimize scar widening and migration down the inner thigh.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 220 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.