As we age, we begin to lose fat (volume) in certain areas, notably the face and the buttocks. With the latter, a flat, saggy butt is not only unattractive, but it can make you look older than your years, throwing off the contour of your entire torso. A buttock augmentation with fat grafting, where fat is removed from an area where you have too much and placed in your derriere, is one of the fastest growing procedures in cosmetic surgery.
But what if you are aren’t a candidate for fat grafting to the butt? Is there another option to restore lost volume? Dr. Christine Hamori of Boston has found great success using fillers in the buttocks to improve shape and restore a more youthful looking body contour.
Who is the Ideal Candidate for Fillers in the Buttocks?
Father Time exacts his toll on not just the skin and tissues of the face, but also in deflating the butt. During your 40’s and 50’s, volume loss in your derriere can result in a deflated, sagging butt. Sometimes referred to as a “pancake” bottom, it can be quite aging. If you think about a youthful butt, it’s lifted, firm and round. And while a buttock augmentation with fat grafting is the gold standard for improving this issue, some patients simply aren’t a candidate. The reasons vary:
- too thin
- extremely fit (such as long distance runners)
- unable or unwilling to give up the time for surgery & recovery
Buttock augmentation is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia as well as downtime for recovery. It also requires that the patient have enough excess fat to harvest and for really fit, thin patients, this can be an issue.
Fillers in the Buttocks
In the past, these patients simply didn’t have an option for improving the contour of their buttocks. However, plastic surgeons today are using fillers to help augment the area. It’s especially effective for addressing the sides of the buttock, and can also help to pump up the volume on the top. “A lot of these thinner women have a kind of flattening,” shares Dr. Hamori. “As you get into your 40’s and 50’s, you kind of lose volume.”
She will oftentimes combine fillers with a tightening procedure like Ultherapy or Thermage, two non-invasive skin-tightening devices, to firm up the bottom of the buttock. Her goal is “to give you more of that round shape.”
Ideal Fillers in the Buttocks
Dr. Hamori’s go-to filler for the buttocks is Sculptra. Made from poly-L-lactic acid, the advantage of Sculptra is that it “revs up the collagen system in your body” so that it basically acts like a collagen stimulator. While using it in the buttocks is an “off-label” use (meaning that it is being used in a way for which it has yet to receive FDA approval) this is a perfectly safe procedure in the hands of a highly skilled plastic surgeon. Other fillers that work well in this area are the volumizing hyaluronic acid fillers, as well as Radiesse.
Fillers in the Buttocks: The Procedure
Fillers in the buttock is an in-office procedure that does not require general anesthesia or an OR. Dr. Hamori places the patient in the prone position and carefully marks him or her so that she knows precisely where she is injecting the filler. The treatment area is then numbed with a combination of numbing cream and ice. Fillers in the buttocks is more uncomfortable than painful. While you will feel the needle going into the skin, this procedure is nothing on the pain scale compared to fillers in the face or the lips. The skin in the butt is thicker with fewer nerves so it’s just not as sensitive.
Once the area is numb, Dr. Hamori dilutes the Sculptra to about 10cc’s and injects it beneath the dermis into the subcutaneous tissue. You must then massage the treatment area for the next couple of days, and in 6 weeks, you return to repeat the procedure. The end results is a more lifted, fuller, firmer looking buttock.
Pros & Cons of Fillers in the Buttocks
The number one pro of fillers in the buttocks is that it is highly effective for improving body contour in really thin and/or fit women. The downside is that there is a limit to the amount of volume that can be added. Furthermore, the procedure can be quite expensive. It costs about $500 – $1,000 a vial for Sculptra, and patients will need multiple treatments consisting of multiple vials at each visit. That said, it truly does work. “It really, really helps, and it lasts about 2 years” shares Hamori.
While a relatively new procedure, patients are extremely happy with the results and process. They’ve wanted a larger buttock, and now they can have one. Up to a point. Fillers aren’t an option for making the butt significantly larger, but they do greatly improve the shape. Contour is, after all, more important than pure volume. And for the many patients looking to affect change without surgery, fillers like Sculptra are a tremendous new option for buttock contour and volume.