The Surgeon Minute

Slimmer Waist, Perkier Butt – What’s Not to Love About BBL?

Slimmer Waist, Perkier Butt – What’s Not to Love About BBL?

Do you have a little extra fat somewhere on your body? How about a backside that could use a boost? If you answered yes to both questions, you may be a candidate for a Brazilian Butt Lift, or a BBL.

The procedure is effectively two procedures rolled into one: liposculpture to improve the contour of the body, and fat grafting to improve the size and shape the buttocks. During a Brazilian Butt Lift, the plastic surgeon removes fat from one or more parts of the body where it is unwanted – think waist, hips, thighs – and uses that fat to sculpt and define the backside.

“Anybody that has a deficiency in their buttocks area can really benefit from this operation,” says Dr. Richard Zienowicz of Body by Z Plastic Surgery in Providence, Rhode Island. “Typically, the best candidates are people that have some extra fat above the waist, and around the waist. We subtract it and we add it to the buttocks. It’s a win-win in every way.”

Why is it Called the Brazilian Butt Lift?

Brazilian women have long been associated with feminine curves and shapely backsides. “Brazilian women typically like to have a very formidable derriere,” points out Zienowicz, who explains that the procedure’s name stems from the association of an attractive female figure with the women of Brazil.

Websites and online plastic surgery discussion boards are filled with patients sharing the number of cc’s (cubic centimeters) of fat they had injected into their buttocks to achieve their pictured outcome. Often patients come into a consultation with a number already in mind. Zienowicz cautions his patients not to get stuck on a number. “The size that we’re able to accomplish depends on your anatomy,” he explains. “That’s something that we’ll talk about at our consultation.”

The Amount of Fat Injected Depends On:

  • The amount of fat that is available to harvest
  • The amount of skin laxity in the buttock area available to accept additional fat
  • The proportions desired

While you cannot pick your post-surgery proportions in advance, it is important to decide on a general look you want to achieve after surgery. Do you want a booty that appears lifted and perky, but still natural? Or do you want a more exaggerated round and curvaceous look? The bottom line is, every person’s individual anatomy plays a role in determining their unique outcome.

Will I Need to Gain Weight Before the Procedure?

Not everyone has enough excess fat to deliver the results they desire in an augmented buttock. In those cases, the surgeon may advise the patient to gain ten or twenty pounds, in order to have additional fat to work with. An intentional weight gain prior to surgery can have downsides that should be discussed with your plastic surgeon in advance. Zienowicz cautions patients who decide to gain weight prior to surgery to carefully consider the benefits and the risks. “If you want a large buttocks and you’re a great candidate for it, then we can deliver that, but think about what you’re doing to the rest of your body.”

Recovery from BBL

After undergoing a BBL procedure, patients experience some pain, swelling and bruising in the areas operated on. While the pain subsides after a few days, the swelling may take several months to completely resolve. Surgeons often recommend special compression garments be worn to reduce swelling and support the newly boosted buttocks as it heals.

“Recovery from BBL is generally very comfortable,” says Zienowicz. “The first day or two the buttocks can be sore. There is generally about a 48 to 72 hour period of discomfort, which is easily controlled with the medicines that we give.”

Butt augmentations that rely on artificial implants tend to have more post-operative problems than augmentations done with fat.  Because Brazilian Butt Lift relies on the patient’s own fatty tissue to augment the buttock, rather than an implant, Dr. Zienowicz has never had a problem where the fat has had to be removed after surgery.

Figure Enhancing at Any Age

While J.Lo and Kim Kardashian have triggered a wave of young women seeking pronounced curves, the procedure also works wonders for older women who simply want a more feminized figure without appearing bootylicious. As long as a patient is healthy, there is no age limit for a BBL. “Recently I did a woman in her 60’s,” shares Zienowicz. “She danced around the mirror in my office on the first post-operative visit and said, ‘I have a buttocks for the first time in my life!’ She was just beyond happy.”

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