Are Brazilian Butt Lifts Safe? The Answer Is Complicated.


Dr. Paul Durand BBL Careaga Plastic SurgeryPhoto Credit: Chris Carter

Dr. Paul Durand completed a fellowship in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery at the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute, considered the top program in the nation for cosmetic surgery. Since then, Dr. Durand has gained extensive recognition in both plastic and reconstructive surgery and has presented and published on numerous topics, including invitations to lecture and perform live surgical demonstrations in Latin America and Asia.  Haute Beauty chats with Dr. Durand of Careaga Plastic Surgery about Brazilian Butt Lifts and the risks associated with going under the knife for this procedure. 

Buttock augmentation can be performed with either implants or using a patient’s own fat. If done properly, the latter method has become the most popular as it offers great results without the problems seen with implants such as implant infection and malposition. During a BBL liposuction is used to extract fat from various areas, most commonly the abdomen, flanks, and back. After processing, this fat is then injected to the buttocks in a subcutaneous plane (and NOT in the gluteal muscles). It is very important that you go to a qualified plastic surgeon that understands the planes of injection and avoids injecting any fat in the muscle layer, which can lead to disastrous complications.

These findings were confirmed in one of our cadaveric studies. This showed that if you inject fat in the muscle you are allowing it to migrate close to the big blood vessels that can carry this to vital organs. On the other hand, if the fat was only injected in the subcutaneous plane the muscle fascia (covering) would keep it in a safe place throughout the procedure. So BBL’s can be safely performed but they have to be done by experienced and qualified plastic surgeons.

BBL Brazilian Butt Lift

HB: How do Brazilian Butt Lifts work?

It is important to understand that not all fat injected in the gluteal region is permanent. About 40% of the volume injected is reabsorbed by the body and lost by 6 months. It is for this reason that this is taken into account at the time of the procedure. The good news is that all the remaining fat after this reabsorption period does stay in the area permanently as long as the patient maintains a similar body weight.

HB: Who is the best candidate for a BBL?

Fat transfer to the buttocks can only be done in patients that have enough fat to be transferred. Patients that are very lean are usually not candidates for a fat-only BBL. Other options can be explored for such patients. The best candidates are those who are not obese, healthy, and have enough fat to be transferred.

HB: What does recovery look like?

Recovery from this procedure is very similar to those who undergo liposuction. Proper compression garments have to be worn for several weeks after the procedure to help with swelling and ensure a quicker recovery. Some surgeons offer lymphatic drainage massage to aid with healing. Patients need to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time in the grafted area for at least 3 weeks. Special BBL pillows can also be used to minimize sitting restrictions.

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