Brazilian Butt Lifts are exploding in popularity – the number of procedures performed in the U.S. skyrocketed 86% from 2013 to 2014. Popular culture is dominated by extreme examples of the curvaceous posterior. (Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj to name a few). Many patients express curiousity about the procedure but are hesitant to procede for two main reasons: fear of ending up with a gigantic backside and dismay over the postopoperative restrictions. Let’s talk about it.
What Is a Brazilian Butt Lift, Anyway?
A “BBL” is the term for shaping the buttocks with fat that is obtained by liposuctioning it from other areas of the body.
Sometimes It’s More about Lifting than Augmenting
Taking a look at the before and after pictures above shows a fit woman in her late 40’s. Although she exercises regularly, she couldn’t improve the appearance of the fat deposits to her low back and the flat shape of her butt. She is a perfect candidate for a butt lift. Because she is tall and athletic, she wanted her butt to be more shapely, not necessarily much larger. Her procedure was therefore customized so that the unwanted fat (from the low back and abdomen) were removed and placed back in strategic areas to the butt and hips to rejuvenate and lift her buttocks. The amount of fat injected to the crown of the buttocks was limited to avoid creation of an over-sized backside.
The Recovery Isn’t as Bad as It Sounds
It’s true that patients cannot put pressure directly on the grafted areas for 8 weeks postoperatively. However, we recommend several ways to be able to sit relatively normally so your routine is only minimally disrupted. Most importantly, when we sit, we typically put pressure on the backs of the thighs more so than on the buttocks themselves. Sitting on a stool without a back can avoid pressure. I recommend patients sit on a “boppy” pillow folded in half. (A “boppy” pillow is typically used for breastfeeding). This creates a “C” shaped cushion that is useful for situations where prolonged sitting is unavoidable, such as while driving or at work.
“I Heard That the Fat Melts Away.”
It is true that some portion of the fat will dissolve. Whatever fat that survives beyond 6 months will be permanent. To compensate for fat loss, I always graft slightly more fat than what I would like for the final result. Although some fat doesn’t survive, it would be very unusual for all of the fat to disappear and I have yet to have a patient who was dissatisifed with the final result. What’s more, if the final result were to be unsatisfactory, the procedure can always be repeated.
Why Don’t Patients Just Get Butt Implants?
Butt implants are an option, but I believe fat grafting to be superior. This is because it has the advantage of “killing two birds with one stone”, meaning the buttocks appearance is enhanced, while simultaneously improving the areas of the body that are liposuctioned. In addition, the fat is soft and a natural part of your body. Finally, there are concerns unique to implants including the risk of infection and difficulty in placing them precisely while avoiding important structures in the buttocks.
Dr Jeffrey Horowitz is a board certified Plastic Surgeon who is fellowship trained in Aesthetics. He is committed to the well being of his patients.