The Brazilian Butt Lift has gained tremendous popularity in recent times in women, and more recently, in men. Overall, the risks of the Brazilian Butt Lift are fairly minimal and success can be easy to achieve with little pain or downtime.
There are many options to augment the backside of a patient, including creams, potions, exercises, and surgery. While exercise like squats and lunges can strengthen the area and give a boost to the booty, oftentimes it is not enough. Surgical intervention may include implants or fat transfer to the area. The most popular is termed the Brazilian butt lift and involves using liposuction to remove fat in one area and transfer it to another area, namely the buttocks. This has become very popular due to the fact that we are able to use a patient’s own resource. That’s why I like to call this a type of “Green plastic surgery” because resources are recycled for an additional benefit.
The Brazilian butt lift offers a permanent solution to a flattened derrière. Unlike implants, which can move and feel too firm, fat transfer is soft, moldable, and has a natural feeling to it. It is typically done on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home the same day. Depending upon how much liposuction needs to be performed on other areas, the surgery can last between 2 to 4 hours. There is minimal soreness afterwards and the major restriction is to not lie flat on the augmented area for a period of time, upwards of 4 to 6 weeks.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the fat, this procedure might need to be repeated to achieve the desired result. Approximately 50% of the fat that is removed and then reinjected is reabsorbed by the body. Therefore when planning the surgical procedure, often the surgeon will over inflate the area with the expectation that some will disappear. What remains, is permanent.
When performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon in an accredited surgical facility, this procedure is relatively safe. The known causes of death from this procedure seem to involve fat embolism where small portions of fat break off and enter into the blood vessels causing blockages. This risk seems to be mitigated by using blunt straw-like instruments called cannulas that can limit the entrance into blood vessels by penetration. Other highly publicized side effects leading to death can be related to injecting other foreign substances into the backside leading to severe localized and systemic infections. There have been reports of non-medical grade silicone, gasoline, cement, and other substances injected into the buttocks. Typically the stories are arising in non-US locations, that have become popular destinations for surgical tourism. These have increased in popularity due to attractive geographic locations in which to heal, and decreased regulations which lead to decreased cost. However with decreased regulations, often times, corners are cut and disastrous results may ensue.
The most common complication of the Brazilian Butt Lift is one of under-filling. As stated earlier, some of the fat transferred will get reabsorbed. The initial skin tightness of the buttocks can limit the amount of fat that can be transferred safely to this area as well. It is better/ easier to fill in some deflated or flattened areas than to over-augment the buttocks.
Buttock augmentation has surprisingly also become more popular in men. To counteract the “disappearing rear” syndrome that so many men seem to suffer from, many are turning to the Brazilian Butt lift.
While technically the same procedure, stylistically it is a bit different. There is no tolerance for a rounded full backside in men like a woman often requests. Men seem to want a less degree of enhancement, especially on the hips and sides and desire to keep a more masculine or square appearance to the buttocks.
Dr. Michael Burgdorf, M.D., MPH, author of The Mommy Makeover: Restoring Your Body After Childbirth (www.drmichaelburgdorf.com), is a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder/president of Music City Plastic Surgery in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame, where he played football. He attended medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans and stayed there for his surgical residency. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Burgdorf and his family moved to Mississippi where he completed his plastic surgery residency at the University of Mississippi in Jackson.