The Surgeon Minute

Safety and Results with the Brazilian Butt Lift

Safety and Results with the Brazilian Butt Lift

The Brazilian Butt Lift, or BBL, “is one of the fastest growing procedures in all of plastic surgery,” says board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Camp of Fort Worth. It is a surgical procedure in which fat is taken from one or more areas in the body and transferred to the derrière. Why? Because a more shapely, lifted, and, in some cases, bigger bottom, can change a patient’s entire body contour. It can make you younger, slimmer, and feel more vital. However, in the wrong hands, a butt augmentation with fat may be dangerous.

Dr. Camp discusses some of the things to consider when contemplating a BBL so that your surgery is as safe as possible, as well as what you can expect in terms of your recovery.  

Is a BBL Dangerous?

According to the latest statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), buttock augmentations are up 25.5%. Whether this is thanks to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez or not, one thing is for sure: the BBL has hit the mainstream. “But it’s also been in the spotlight for being a little bit dangerous,” says Dr. Camp.

The plastic surgery societies have performed studies on this procedure over the last couple of years and discovered that there is an “alarmingly high complication, and even death rate,” Camp shares. This has triggered patients to worry and ask whether a BBL is safe or not? “The reality is that it is safe when it is done safely,” explains Camp. 

It is Vital to See a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Anytime that a procedure becomes popular, there is an uptick in people performing it who are perhaps not qualified. It is vital with the BBL in particular that you see a board certified plastic surgeon with a lot of buttock augmentation experience. The surgeon must know where it’s safe to go and where it’s not safe to go. What the plastic surgery societies task force and studies showed is that when the fat is injected into the right part of the body by a surgeon with a deep understanding of anatomy _as well as knowledge of the proper position in which to place the patient in the operating room), any risks are dramatically reduced

Safety of BBL procedure.

Second, it is paramount that your surgeon have the right instruments for harvesting and transferring the fat in order to insure that none of the small blood vessels are injured as this has been shown to cause complications. “I think the reality is that the procedure is under a lot of investigation and scrutiny but it’s still a good procedure,” says Dr. Camp. It’s still in high demand, and there is no question that it delivers patient satisfaction and transformative results when it is done safely. His advice to patients is:

The BBL Procedure

A buttock augmentation with fat is really a procedure in two parts. The first part involves liposuction. Your surgeon will remove excess fat from an area or areas where you have too much. In the right hands, this is really more like sculpting. The goal is to gather enough fat while also ensuring that your entire torso is in proper portion. With a BBL, this often entails removing fat from the: 

  • abdomen
  • flanks
  • thighs
  • arms

It’s about getting the right amount of fat and the right amount of contour. After the fat has been harvested, the surgeon then performs fat grafting to your buttocks. The placement of the fat is very precise and is never the same for any two patients. It is specific to your anatomy, needs and desired look. 

Buttock Augmentation Recovery

In terms of recovery, some patients are surprised because liposuction can be a little bit deceptive. The incisions are so small and well hidden that people think that it’s going to be no big deal. However, the movement of the instruments that are inserted through these small incisions “actually creates a great degree of soreness,” explains Dr. Camp. Most patients are not in pain, but they are really sore for the first 4-5 days after surgery. This period can lengthen to 1-2 weeks of soreness depending on how many areas are addressed with liposuction.

BBL results - Dr. Camp.

The real issue with BBL recovery is not so much about recovering from the liposuction as it is about protecting the fat. For two solid weeks, Dr. Camp advises his patients not to:

  • sleep on their back
  • sit directly on their buttocks 

His office will instruct you on sitting strategies and ways to “off load” the fat. Fat grafting “is just like planting seeds in a yard,” says Dr. Camp. It’s crucial that you let those seeds take hold and grow. This is what allows the new fat cells to become stable and hold their shape so that you maintain your results.

So, while patients are back to work after 2 weeks, for 6 weeks, he advises them to practice limited sitting. This is the biggest challenge for most people, but it is also important for insuring the best possible outcome.

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