The Surgeon Minute

Fat Grafting for Better Curves, Not Bigger Booties

Fat Grafting for Better Curves, Not Bigger Booties

Super-sized Kardashian butts are trending, but when it comes to beautiful backsides, the bottom line is bigger isn’t always better. Thousands of women who aren’t trying to follow in Kim’s footsteps are still benefiting from the popular procedure known as the Brazilian butt lift, otherwise known as fat grafting to the buttocks.  

Fat grafting is not just about volume, points out board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Van Natta. Instead, it’s about creating more attractive curves. While the aging butt may not even be on the radar initially, patients undergoing tummy tucks and liposuction with Van Natta are consistently thrilled with the results when they decide to re-use some of the fat they are having removed to augment their backside.

Your Butt Changes as You Get Older

Aging backsides are as commonplace as aging faces. Like everything else, the butt typically begins to go downhill around age thirty. The skin on the buttocks becomes loose as the fat shrinks, giving the butt a flatter, saggier and longer appearance. Van Natta has found that as many as 90% of the patients he sees in consultation for tummy tuck or liposuction also have a deficiency in their buttocks that would benefit from a simultaneous fat grafting procedure.

Balancing Addition & Subtraction

During buttock augmentation a more attractive butt contour is created through a careful balance between fat removal and fat grafting.  Removing fat in the waist, the hips and the thighs affects the shape of the buttocks just as much as the addition of pure volume.  

Contour reshaping with buttock augmentation.

“This is not about making a big mega butt. It’s about shaping,” explains Van Natta. “If they have a little deficiency on the side, I’ve got the fat. Put a little of that back in, and then, the combination of taking the waist down, maybe taking down the saddlebag, and just rounding out and shaping up the buttocks… it’s amazing.”

Is Buttock Augmentation Dangerous?

If you pay attention to the headlines, you are probably already aware of several deaths associated with butt augmentation procedures. With any surgical procedure there are risks involved; there are a few that are unique to fat grafting.

The deaths that have occurred during buttock fat grafting have been due to what is called a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot. An embolism occurs when blood flow within the vessels is blocked, in this case by the fat globules that are being injected. When fat is placed deep within the muscles of the butt, where the blood vessels are larger, there is an increased risk of this happening.  

Buttock augmentation - dangerous?

Superficial fat placement, points out Van Natta, is critical to a safe butt augmentation procedure. “I don’t think a woman should shy away from buttock fat grafting just because of reports in the media that there have been deaths,” he shares.  “The key is to have an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon who does a lot of these procedures. The other thing that’s incumbent upon the surgeon is to stay superficial.  Don’t go deep and don’t put too much of the fat in an area that you know could be problematic. With careful surgical technique, there really shouldn’t be a problem.”

Careful Surgeon Selection is Extremely Important

Not everyone who markets themselves as a plastic surgeon is experienced with buttock augmentation. They may not, in fact, even be trained as a plastic surgeon. Do your homework and check your surgeon’s credentials as well as their experience. Are they certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? How many buttock grafting procedures do they do each month? Have you seen before and after photos of their work?

During the consultation, take the time to have an in-depth conversation about operating room safety. Dr. Van Natta recommends asking your surgeon how they avoid catastrophic problems from occurring. Your surgeon should feel comfortable explaining their technique to you, just as you should feel comfortable that you are in safe, experienced hands.

Keys to safety with a buttock augmentation.

Keys to Safety with Buttock Augmentation:

  • Select an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon
  • Select a surgeon with a high volume of buttock fat grafting experience
  • View before & after pictures
  • Ask them how they avoid catastrophic problems

Patients Love the Results

Women who hadn’t even thought about augmenting their butts until Van Natta pointed out the possibility wind up being very happy. The way it improves their overall appearance and enhances the result of their tummy tuck or liposuction cannot be understated –  creating contours brings all of the results together into one. “They come back after surgery and say, ‘I love my butt!’,” shares Van Natta. “That’s my favorite thing.”

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