What is it? As our society increasingly embraces full figured curvy women, “Brazilian butt lift”s have become more and more popular. The actual procedure involves large volume fat grafting to the buttock area. This means that fat is harvested from other places on the body via liposuction (like the abdomen, back, love handles and thighs). It is then injected into the gluteal region both above and within the muscle in large volumes. The areas of injection are tailored to the ultimate gluteal shape and size that you desire. The benefit of the procedure is two-fold. Not only do you get improvement in your gluteal area, but you also get slimming and tightening of the rest of your body where the liposuction is performed to harvest the fat. Additionally, by slimming the lower back and love handles, this can also further create the appearance of a round projected buttock. However, patient’s should be aware that a significant amount of fat is generally needed in order to make a noticeable difference in the appearance and shape of the buttock, especially if a drastic change is desired. This means that there needs to be enough donor fat on the rest of your body. If you are very slim, you may not be a candidate for this surgery. We will ask you to purchase a compression garment before surgery. If you desire a Brazilian Butt Lift in Houston, visit us at Lift Plastic Surgery.
What happens during surgery? During surgery, liposuction is first performed of the desired areas of the body, and the fat is captured in sterile containers. We then strain the fat to remove extra oil and fluid. You will then be placed on your stomach. Several small punctures are made above and below each buttock. The fat can then be injected in two different ways depending on volume and surgeon preference. One option is with syringes and “cannulas” (thin metal tubes). The other uses the liposuction machine in reverse and a special blunt cannula. The fat is injected into multiple layers both above and below the muscle to ensure that there is good blood supply to the new fat and it will continue to live in its new home. Throughout injection the size, shape, and symmetry are constantly checked and molding is performed. The small incisions are then closed with absorbable sutures and you are then placed in a compression garment with gauze pads to absorb drainage.
What will my recovery be like? You should expect that you will have some drainage of fluid from the puncture sites used for the liposuction and fat grafting for several days as your body gets rid of extra fluid. You should plan to use gauze pads to absorb the drainage and prevent soiling of your clothes. You are able to go home the same day as surgery, and you will be able to start showering the next day. Postoperatively, you will have some discomfort, swelling and bruising, but it is usually not significantly painful. We ask that you avoid sitting as much as possible for the first 3 weeks after surgery. This limits pressure on the fragile fat grafts which increases the chance that the fat will survive, and decreases the chance of deforming the shape of the buttock before the grafts are stable. If you must sit, you should shift your weight frequently and use a padded seat to prevent placing too much pressure on the area. You must wear a compression garment at all times other than showering for the first 6 weeks to limit swelling and improve your results. No vigorous exercise or activity is allowed for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Expect that you will have swelling, and this will gradually decrease over the next few months before you will see your final results.
Are the results permanent? Studies have shown that usually about 75% of the fat injected survives, for this reason we tend to put slightly more than you need at the time of surgery to offset the small amount that will be lost. Overall, the results are generally durable. The fat injected will act like the normal fat in the rest of your body. This means that if you gain weight you will gain weight in your buttocks as well, and possibly preferentially.
Is a Brazilian butt lift safe? You may have heard reports in the news about patients dying after having the procedure performed. As a patient looking to have a cosmetic procedure you should know that this is a real risk. Since the procedure is not performed under direct visualization, it is possible that while injecting fat into the buttock, that the fat could also be injected into a blood vessel in the area. This may cause something called a “fat embolism” where fat enters the blood stream and lodges in different organs causing a complex reaction that often ends in death. However, the incidence of fat embolism during fat grafting to the buttock is quite rare. Current research estimates it to occur in 1 out of every 1,000 procedures. Most patients do extremely well with this procedure. However, the risk of fat embolism, though rare, is real even with the most careful surgical technique. You must be willing to accept this risk before undergoing surgery.