The Hidden Danger Behind the Brazilian Butt Lift

Celebrities that parade their ample assets equally in the nude, or in revealing clothes pulled tightly over their impressively shapely butts are continuing to boost the trend in “booty enhancement”. The explosive popularity of athleisure, the gym to street wear fashion movement, is also adding to the increased interest in butt lifts. Snug leggings paired with cropped tees or a sports bra, beg to be displayed atop an alluring, fuller, rounder backside.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that fat grafting, in general, is one of the fastest growing procedures in the United States The process of grafting the extracted fat into American buttocks for aesthetic enhancement soared by 26% in 2016 and another 10% in 2017.  Last year board certified plastic surgeons performing over 20,000 of these procedures. While these numbers are impressive, there is a dangerously hidden backstory to the Brazilian Butt Lift. If performed by anyone less than a highly qualified board certified plastic surgeon, buttock augmentation can lead to severe complications, even death.

What is a Brazilian Butt Lift?

In order for one to make an educated decision it is important to understand how the appearance of the buttocks can be improved. As we age, put on weight, lose weight, or go through hormonal changes our bodies begin to alter.  You may notice changes in the size and shape of your butt. Skin and muscle start to travel downward. It is a plastic surgeon’s job to defy gravity and pull everything up for a youthful looking body. The appearance of your buttocks can be improved in three ways:

  1. A Butt lift or Gluteoplasty- A great technique for managing loose skin that refuses to tighten even with a constant dose of exercise. It is also a great technique to for post weight loss patients who need to lift up a saggy backside.
  2. Brazilian Butt Lift- A Brazilian Butt Lift adds immediately visible volume and lift to a flat or small posterior. Fat is harvested from a donor site, processed and injected into the buttock. This procedure can be performed together with a butt lift or mommy makeover and in plastic surgery parlance is referred as “fat grafting.”
  3. Body sculpting with liposuction- Creates a toned appearance but will not add volume.

The Brazilian Butt Lift is obviously named after the country where it was invented, Brazil. The Brazilian Butt Lift technique was developed by the late Ivo Petanguy, an internationally, highly regarded plastic surgeon. The procedure quickly caught on in the United States, as it can also result in a tighter, flatter tummy, contoured flanks and thighs (depending on the area the fat is harvested from) along with an attention-stealing butt. If you are at your optimal weight, healthy, a non-smoker and have realistic expectations of the outcomes, you may be a candidate. Your surgeon will need to determine if you have enough fat to harvest, if you have the right body type for an enhanced butt lift and if you will need a surgical buttock lift as well. Liposuction is the first step in a butt lift. Under local anesthesia fat will be harvested, processed and injected into the subcutaneous tissues for a fuller, rounded shape. The transfer is at minimum a two hour procedure. Your body can absorb as much as 40% of the injected fat so your buttocks will lose some of the fullness within the next six months.

No Ands, Ifs or Butts About it

Always check your doctor’s credentials during a consultation. As this sounds like a relatively “easy” procedure, some people masquerade as doctors and offer silicone injections which can cause severe deformities, pulmonary emboli, kidney malfunction, years of pain and infection, multiple surgeries to attempt removal and, unfortunately, even death.

A plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is best trained to perform a Brazilian Butt Lift. Plastic surgeons are trained to understand how the fat, the muscle, and bodily systems all work together and are careful to control the surgical environment. While buttock augmentation appears to be simple, the side effects can be devastating. If individuals with insufficient training attempt to augment the buttocks, the outcome can be disfigurement or death. Processed fat is safe for injection but when improperly performed it can result in muscle death (necrosis), deep vein thrombosis, and fat embolism and blot clots. If it travels to the lungs, it can cause immediate loss of life. The death rate for this procedure is one in three thousand which much higher than any other cosmetic procedure. Even under the care of a top-notch plastic surgeon, there can be numbness, swelling, bruising, fat absorption, irregularities and infections.

In summary, the Brazilian Lift is in demand among women who covet a well-contoured backside that enhances the way they look in their clothing. I advise women seeking this procedure to find a qualified board-certificed plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. It is better to postpone the procedure than to make a decision based on budget. No one wants to see their dream turn into a nightmare, especially when with a little research, savvy and smarts you can achieve the body you are seeking.