According to new research the Brazilian Butt Lift is the 4th most enquired about procedure in the UK. The backside holds a special place in Brazilian culture and has featured in Brazilian music and poetry throughout the 20th century. In 2011, the country started the Miss Bumbum competition which judges women’s bottoms and annually crowns a “Miss Butt”.
But what is behind it’s growing popularity and how can women decide if the procedure is right for them? Expert Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Professor Marcos Sforza from MyAesthetics gives us the lowdown on everything you need to know about the Brazilian Butt Lift…
What is a Brazilian Butt Lift?
Brazilian butt lifts (BBLs) are a specialised fat transfer procedure, augmenting the size and shape of the buttocks without implants. Excess fat is removed with liposuction and a portion of fat is then strategically injected into the buttocks.
How does it work?
The patient undergoes liposuction first, which removes fat from areas such as the abdomen, thighs and lower back. The surgeon will create a small incision and carefully insert a cannula connected to a syringe to extract the fat, which is suctioned out through tubes, as the doctor moves them under the skin to target specific fat deposits.
After removing the fat, the surgeon purifies it by removing debris, red blood cells, white blood cells and oil. Every patient is different, but the average amount of fat required for each buttock is about 250 to 400 ccs.
The mature, purified fat cells are injected into the buttocks in a thin line of droplets, so they feed off neighbouring cells until the blood supply develops to support them.
Why has it become more popular?
Traditional buttocks augmentation enhances, but it offers very little benefit to other body areas. However, BBLs give patients the chance to enhance the buttocks, while simultaneously slimming down another body area.
The BBL operation has also gained popularity because it doesn’t require foreign bodies (such as silicone implants) or synthetic fillers. This means patients are less likely to experience allergies, infections, or a high rejection rate.
Who would it be suited to?
Despite its name, a BBL isn’t a traditional “lifting” procedure and doesn’t address loose skin. The best candidates are those whose buttocks lack fullness and do not have a well-defined V-zone separation along the top where the cheeks diverge or where the back ends and the buttocks begin.
The procedure can be particularly beneficial for older women, as the ageing process results in loss of fat, contributing to typical features of older and flatter buttocks. It’s not a procedure for leaner individuals, as they won’t have enough excess fat for transfer. You do, however, need to be in good physical and mental shape and have realistic expectations before surgery.
What are the potential risks or implications?
BBLs generally carry a very favourable risk to benefit ratio when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon. Of course, there are always medical risks associated with surgery and these include bleeding, infection, blood or allergic reactions. Fortunately, they are also rare.
The one thing I do see in about 5-10 percent of patients is a small seroma, which is a collection of fluid under the skin. This is a relatively common occurrence with liposuction and either goes away on its own or may need to be painlessly aspirated with a tiny needle. Some times small oil cysts are also formed but they tend to disappear in time or may also need aspiration.
There is the possibility of fat necrosis occurring, which is when the [re-injected] fat dies and can cause lumps to become infected. One of the ways surgeons are trying to prevent this is by injecting fat in smaller aliquots. This allows them to meticulously place fat in a three-dimensional manner, so the buttocks are reshaped, rather than just simply enlarged.
Recently, several fatal cases occurred mainly in the US and Latin America and they are mainly related to technique failure and extremely large volumes of fat transferred (over 1 litre).
What aftercare should be followed?
During the first two to three weeks, you’ll need to stand or lie on your stomach at all times, except to use the bathroom. After this initial healing period, you’ll be instructed to sit in a modified position, using a “donut” pillow to reduce pressure.
A gradual return to exercise is generally permitted within three to four weeks after surgery and activity restrictions are usually lifted after eight weeks. A snug elastic garment or body stocking must be worn over the treated area for two to three weeks after BBLs. This is done not only to control swelling and bruising, but also to minimise postoperative pain.
Early wound inspection is essential to exclude post-op complications such as infection, necrosis and haematoma. A three-month assessment should be made to examine all recipients and to plan further staged procedures if necessary.
How long does it usually last?
As long as you maintain your body at a stable weight, the results should be permanent. The amount of fat you have six months after surgery is what usually remains, which is normally around 60-80 percent of the fat injected.
You’ll need to keep an active and healthy lifestyle in the months following your procedure so you don’t lose or gain a substantial amount of weight. Drastic fluctuations can impact results.