The Surgeon Minute

An Alternative Procedure to the Brazilian Butt Lift

An Alternative Procedure to the Brazilian Butt Lift

Brazilian Butt Lift surgery has received a lot of negative media attention lately due to the unusually high mortality rate associated with the popular plastic surgery procedure. While many men and women are unhappy with the way their sagging, aging buttocks looks in jeans or a bathing suit, they are often hesitant to consider surgery for their backside due to the recent headlines.

“There are some real safety concerns with Brazilian Butt Lifting,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder IV. “We do have other modalities of improving your backside without doing a true Brazilian Butt Lift that may be a safer route.”

What is a Brazilian Butt Lift?

During a Brazilian Butt Lift, fat is harvested from one part of the body and is then injected into the buttocks. The result is twofold: a slimmer waistline and a perkier, rounder derriere.

Risk of Death with Brazilian Butt Lift

The increased risk of death associated with the Brazilian Butt Lift is a consequence of fat unintentionally entering into the veins of the gluteal muscles during injection. This can cause what is known as a fatal fat embolism. A fat embolism occurs when a glob of fat enters into the the bloodstream and becomes lodged, blocking the flow of blood.  

By injecting fat only into the subcutaneous plane, rather than the deeper muscles of the butt, the risk of embolism can be avoided. In the hands of a properly trained, board certified plastic surgeon the Brazilian Butt Lift is still be a safe butt-boosting option.  

Many of Dr. Snyder’s patients, however, have what he refers to as “appropriate concerns” regarding the safety of the Brazilian Butt Lift. These patients are interested in alternative surgical options that can provide lift and shape to their backside without the risks associated with the Brazilian Butt Lift.

A Surgical Butt Lift

One way to provide lift and shape to the buttocks, Snyder explains, is to remove excess skin in the buttocks. Anytime skin is removed, an incision is the result. In the case of a surgical butt lift, this incision is typically placed just below the waistline.

Butt lift incision.

“By giving you a posterior incision, we can lift the buttocks and take out some skin and usually some fat, so we better define the waist,” explains Snyder. “This also improves how your behind looks in pants or in jeans or in a bathing suit.”

The incision used for this procedure is similar to an abdominoplasty incision, except that the incision is on the backside of the body instead of the front.  The incision is typically placed so that it can be hidden just below where the waist of a pair of pants.

Dr. Snyder’s patients who are undergoing an abdominoplasty often consider continuing the incision fully around the waist to improve their backside at the same time as they are improving their front. This combined procedure is referred to as a circumferential body lift, or a belt lipectomy, as the incision extends fully around the waist in the style of a belt. In the past, a lower body lift was often only associated with patients who had undergone massive weight loss and needed large amounts of excess skin removed. Today, the procedure is considered a great option for anyone who could benefit from an improved shape to their waist, as well as elevation of their buttocks.

Posterior liposuction - Snyder.

Recovery from Butt Lift Surgery

During surgery, the tissues of the buttocks are elevated, but there is not much work additional surgery done to the area where a patient sits or lays. This translates to a relatively quick recovery during which patients may only take pain medication for a few days.

“If we’re combining this procedure with an abdominoplasty in the front, then the toughest part of that recovery is really the recovering from the abdominoplasty,” explains Snyder.  “If we’re just doing this as a posterior re-shaping, people actually don’t have a lot of pain.”

In the days following surgery, patients are careful to wear clothing that does not irritate the incision where pants would typically sit. After a few days of rest most patients return to light physical activity, and they can typically return to full body workouts out after about four weeks.   

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