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Patients who are unhappy with the appearance of their buttocks, whether due to their size or shape or the presence of sagging skin, can enhance their figures with butt lift surgery. This procedure is often ideal for those who have lost weight and feel their buttocks lack shape or who simply wish to improve the appearance of their backsides.
A butt lift is a surgical procedure that can be customized to meet each individual patient's unique needs and desired results. Patients with excess drooping skin may opt for a traditional excisional butt lift, while those who want to subtly augment their backsides may prefer the popular Brazilian butt lift. In any event, butt lift surgery can make having a firm and sexy rear end possible.
Like most plastic surgery procedures, butt lift surgery can be performed on its own or in combination with other procedures such as abdominoplasty and breast augmentation as part of a more comprehensive body contouring plan.
Many patients want to improve their shape and confidence with a butt lift procedure, but you must meet certain criteria to qualify for this surgery. In general, to be a good candidate for a butt lift, you should:
- Be in good general health, since you will likely need to use anesthesia and should be able to recover properly from surgery.
- Be psychologically healthy with realistic expectations for your procedure.
- Not smoke, as this can compromise your ability to heal well from surgery. If you currently smoke, you may be able to undergo butt lift surgery if you can refrain from smoking for a time specified by your surgeon before and after your procedure.
- Avoid drinking to excess, as this can also interfere with the surgical process.
- The candidacy requirements vary for a traditional or Brazilian butt lift. You may be eligible for conventional butt lift surgery if you:
- Have excess skin, fat, and tissue in your buttocks that you would like to have removed.
- Have worked to eliminate excess fat and tighten your skin with proper diet and exercise. You will also need to maintain healthy nutrition and exercise to preserve your results.
- Do not plan to lose further weight, as this could interfere with the results of your surgery.
- Be at a stable weight, since fluctuations could reverse your results. Typically, plastic surgeons recommend that patients who have experienced massive weight loss sustain a healthy weight for between three months and two years before attempting plastic surgery procedures.
In contrast, you may be a good candidate for a Brazilian butt lift if you:
- Want to add volume to your backside. Patients who want to remove excess tissue from their rears may prefer a traditional butt lift or other body contouring procedures.
- Have tried to tighten and enhance the shape and size of your butt with exercise and nutrition. A butt lift is a serious surgical procedure, so it should only be performed on patients who cannot achieve their desired results in other ways.
- Have excess fat deposits elsewhere in your body that your surgeon can remove with liposuction, purify, and use for fat transfer during your Brazilian butt lift. These deposits should ideally be easily accessible, such as love handles around your hips. Since the fat will need to be purified, you typically need to provide between three and four times the amount of fat that you would like to be transferred. If you lack excess fat deposits, you may need to gain weight before your procedure or consider an alternative.
- Do not suffer from extra sagging skin. In this case, you may need to have a traditional butt lift before attempting the Brazilian fat transfer technique.
- Have the correct body shape for a butt lift. Your surgeon can help you decide if adding volume to your rear will be proportionally appropriate for your appearance.
Your plastic surgeon can help you determine whether you are a good candidate for either (or both) of these procedures at your initial consultation. During this first appointment, he or she will discuss your goals for treatment and decide if there are any factors that would preclude you from undergoing butt lift surgery.
Many patients who undergo butt lift surgery consider it an investment in their appearance and improved self-confidence. Depending on your particular situation, the price of Brazilian butt lift may vary from $2,000 to $10,000. Cost factors for butt lift procedures include:
- The type of butt lift surgery you choose. Typically, a traditional butt lift is more expensive, since it requires the surgeon to carefully remove tissue, tighten underlying muscles, and trim excess skin. If you include a butt implant or fat transfer in your traditional butt lift procedure, this will also increase the price.
- Your surgeon's expertise and experience. The most qualified surgeons may cost more up-front, but working with them can save you expense in the long-term since they tend to provide excellent outcomes with a lower risk of complications.
- Where you have your butt lift surgery. Due to regional price differences, the cost of butt lift surgery can vary depending on the city in which it is performed. Some patients may choose to travel to a different plastic surgeon for their butt lift to lower costs or work with a more qualified doctor. In this case, you will need to weigh travel expenses into the cost of surgery.
- Your overall health and medical history. If you suffer from a chronic condition such as uncontrolled diabetes or an immune deficiency, your surgery will be more difficult to perform and your recovery may be longer.
- The type of anesthesia and sedation your surgeon uses. This will vary depending on the kind of butt lift surgery you require, your medical needs, and your personal preferences.
- Medications for your recovery. You may need to take painkillers and antibiotics as you heal, which will come at an additional cost. Some doctors may include these with the price of surgery.
- Your compression garment and any other materials needed to help you heal properly. Your surgeon may also provide these.
- Whether or not you decide to combine your butt lift surgery with any other cosmetic procedures. For example, many patients choose to undergo a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) at the same time as a butt lift to rejuvenate their shape. Any additional plastic surgery will increase your costs.
- Your insurance coverage. Most likely, your health insurance provider will not be willing to cover your butt lift surgery, since this is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. However, your insurance may pay for a portion or all of your surgery if excess skin is causing medical issues such as skin infection.
Your surgeon will help you break down your particular butt lift surgery costs at your initial consultation.
To help make butt lift surgery more affordable, many surgeons' practices offer payment plans or financing. These may be provided directly through the clinic or by outside lenders. Most financing programs allow you to spread the cost of your surgery between six months and several years, but you will need to pay interest on your loan. Alternatively, some plastic surgeons' offices may provide incentives such as discounts for paying the full amount up-front.
If you have a demonstrated medical need for butt lift surgery, you will need to contact your insurance provider to learn more about payment. Your insurance provider may cover some or all of your costs, and they may either pay your surgeon directly or reimburse you after your procedure. You will typically need to provide the appropriate paperwork to both your insurance company and your surgeon to facilitate this process.
You should address all of your payment concerns with your surgeon's office before your procedure. On the day of your surgery, make sure to get an itemized receipt so you can check for errors, understand the costs, and keep records for insurance.
How to Choose a Surgeon
Butt lift surgery can be a complex and personal process, so finding the right plastic surgeon is important. In addition to having the expertise and experience to provide you with excellent results, your surgeon should make you feel comfortable and listen to your concerns. Thoroughly researching your options and asking the right questions can help you find a surgeon to suit your needs.
Looking for Prospective Surgeons
There are several ways you can find potential cosmetic surgeons for your butt lift procedure. These include:
- Asking your friends and family who have had similar surgeries for referrals. If someone you know has had a good experience working with a local doctor, this could be a good sign.
- Inquiring about referrals from other medical professionals you trust. If you have experienced massive weight loss, your bariatric surgeon or nutritionist may have recommendations. You could also ask your general practitioner for a referral.
- Searching review sites for overall ratings and previous patients' reviews. A highly-rated surgeon likely does excellent work for his or her patients, while you might decide to stay away from doctors with only one star and a host of negative comments. Reading patient testimonials can help you learn more about the surgeon and better understand what to expect from your butt lift procedure.
- Going through lists of accredited plastic surgeons in your area. Many professional organizations provide databases of their doctors.
Interviewing Your Potential Doctor
Rather than just relying on anonymous reviews, referrals, or your friend's recommendations, it's important to talk to the surgeon yourself before making your decision. You can call, email, or speak in person with your prospective surgeon to get your questions answered and gain an understanding of his or her personality. When you talk to your surgeon, you should ask some or all of these questions:
- Are you a board-certified plastic surgeon? Your surgeon should be properly trained, tested, and certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Are you a member or fellow of any professional groups? Membership in a professional organization can indicate that your prospective surgeon stays current with continuing education programs and consistently produces quality results for his or her patients.
- What types of butt lift surgeries do you offer? Ideally, your plastic surgeon would be able to perform both traditional and Brazilian butt lifts. If you are interested in using a specific technique for your procedure, ask if he or she provides it.
- Do you specialize in a particular type of plastic surgery? While some plastic surgeons may technically be able to perform butt lift procedures, their true expertise may be in facial surgery or breast enhancement. It is best to work with a surgeon who specializes in body contouring and lower body surgeries.
- How often do you perform butt lifts? This is an important question, since it can reveal how popular your prospective surgeon is for this procedure, suggesting that patients trust him or her to provide good results. It also indicates how experienced your surgeon is, since a doctor who provides butt lifts every week will typically be more confident and capable than one who rarely performs this type of surgery.
- What alternatives to butt lift surgery do you offer? At your initial consultation, your surgeon may determine that a different procedure will better suit your needs. If your prospective doctor offers alternatives to butt lift surgery, such as butt implants, this could be a good sign, as it gives you more choices.
- Will you be performing my surgery? Sometimes, plastic surgeons work in partnerships or clinics with multiple doctors, so the person you speak to may not be the doctor who will actually perform your butt lift. Ideally, you would be able to communicate your questions and concerns to your surgeon directly.
- What is the typical cost for a butt lift at your practice? Butt lift surgery is a customized procedure, so a prospective surgeon will only be able to provide an estimate, but this can help you budget for your procedure and consider your options. However, avoid simply choosing the lowest-priced surgeon, since cost could be an indicator of quality.
- What is included in this price? To clarify your costs, ask exactly what is included in the price estimate your prospective surgeon provides. Including post-operative care and supplies could make your procedure more affordable.
- What are the risks of butt lift surgery? Your prospective surgeon should be transparent about the general risks of butt lift surgery. Of course, these may vary based on your unique circumstances and wishes.
- What do you do for patients who are unsatisfied with their results? Even excellent surgeons don't always provide outstanding results for their patients. Your potential surgeon should have a plan in place for unsatisfied patients. Ideally, he or she might even provide free revisional surgery to correct any resulting cosmetic or medical issues.
- What is your success rate for butt lifts? While your surgeon doesn't need to have a 100 percent success rate for this procedure, a higher proportion is obviously better. Some complications may be unavoidable, but a low success rate could be an indicator of your doctor's lack of skill.
- Can I see any "before and after" photos or read your testimonials? Looking at other patients' photos or reading their reviews can help you determine if your prospective surgeon fits your needs. Since butt lift surgery is a cosmetic procedure, your doctor should be able to show you photos that look similar to your desired results.
- What are your general requirements for candidacy for butt lift surgery? On a practical level, this question helps you determine if you would be eligible for a butt lift at your prospective surgeon's office. In addition, if he or she is willing to operate on patients who currently smoke or doesn't provide weight recommendations for traditional butt lifts, this could be a mark against his or her commitment to safety and medical ethics.
- Where do you perform this procedure? Some plastic surgeons have hospital privileges at local facilities, while others perform procedures in their own offices. If your prospective surgeon works out of an independent clinic, make sure the office is accredited, meaning that it meets standards set by organizations like the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
- How many years of experience do you have? While other factors like specialization or the number of butt lifts performed can outweigh this factor, it's generally better to work with an established, experienced plastic surgeon.
- What kind of follow-up care do you provide? Your recovery can significantly impact the success of your butt lift surgery and the appearance of your results. It is important to work with a surgeon who is willing to be there for you through every step of the process. Comprehensive post-operative care should typically include weekly appointments for several weeks and availability for any questions or concerns that arise after your procedure.
- Do you offer financing and insurance options? While most surgeons' practices work with insurance companies and provide payment plans, not all do. To effectively budget and plan for your surgery, check that your prospective surgeon's office has the payment options you need to make your procedure possible.
The above list is comprehensive, so you may not need to ask all of these questions. However, discussing these topics with your prospective surgeon can help you gauge if he or she is the right doctor for you. Finding a surgeon you trust can improve your chances for success with butt lift surgery.
The Initial Consultation
Once you've decided which surgeon to use based on your research and interview, you will schedule your initial consultation for butt lift surgery. During this first appointment, you will confirm your candidacy for the procedure, discuss your questions and concerns, and plan your customized surgery with your doctor.
Before Your Consultation
The time with your plastic surgeon is valuable, so to make the most of your initial consultation, you should come prepared. Before you come into your surgeon's office, you should:
- Ask your general practitioner and any relevant specialists to send your medical records to the surgeon's office. These could include pertinent information about allergies, chronic conditions, and weight fluctuations.
- Contact your health insurance provider to determine if a portion of your butt lift costs could be covered. If so, bring any relevant documentation with you to your initial consultation.
- Make a list of medications and supplements you take. Some of these may interfere with the drugs used during your procedure, so your surgeon will be able to tell you which ones to stop taking and for how long.
- Compile a list of all of your questions and concerns about your butt lift. This can help you not forget any and give you an opportunity to do research on your own. If you can easily find the answer to one of your questions online or from another practitioner, you won't need to ask your surgeon.
- Find a photograph that represents how you would like your backside to look after your surgery. This could be a younger picture of yourself, an image of a celebrity, or even one of your surgeon's "after" photos, if available. Your surgery will be easier to plan if you and your doctor can discuss your desired results in more detail.
- Determine when in your schedule you could have your butt lift surgery, understanding that this procedure will require at least a week off of work. If you qualify and feel comfortable with your surgical plan, you may schedule your procedure at the end of your initial consultation, so you should be prepared, especially since plastic surgeons' schedules can fill up quickly.
Doing these things can help make your initial consultation as productive as possible, so you can feel confident proceeding with your surgery.
During Your Appointment
On the day of your initial consultation, you will typically spend about one hour with your surgeon. During this time, he or she may:
- Examine your body, particularly your hips, abdomen, and buttocks. If you are pursuing a traditional butt lift, your surgeon will assess the amount of excess skin, fat, and tissue you have. If you are interested in a Brazilian butt lift, he or she will look for an appropriate area to perform liposuction. In addition, your doctor will look at your overall shape and proportion to determine how to perform your butt lift for natural, beautiful results. This process also gives you the opportunity to point out specific problem areas and your goals.
- Review your medical records, going over any potential risks with you. If you need to quit smoking or gain a certain amount of weight to become a good candidate for a butt lift, your surgeon will inform you of the specific goals you must reach at this time.
- Go over the possible types of butt lift you qualify for and which techniques may best suit you. Do not hesitate to provide your feedback during this part of the initial consultation. A butt lift is a personalized procedure meant to serve your needs and cater to your desired results.
- Discuss your expectations for your surgery and correct any misconceptions you may have about the procedure or its outcomes.
- Answer any questions you may have (according to the list you have compiled).
- Photograph your buttocks, with your consent, for use in future "before and after" photos for patient education and marketing.
After you have finished your physical examination and discussion, you will probably discuss your payment with the front office staff and go over your preparations for surgery with a nurse. If you feel comfortable with your surgical plan, costs, and preparations, you will schedule your procedure on this day.
Types of Butt Lift
There are two basic types of butt lift surgery. In the traditional procedure, the surgeon lifts your buttocks by removing excess skin, fat, and tissue, pulling the skin taut and repositioning it for a lighter, younger look. The less invasive Brazilian butt lift requires only very minor incisions and a fat transfer. Each of these procedures has its own benefits and disadvantages, so the type you choose will be depend on your unique needs and wishes.
Traditional Butt Lift Procedures
During this procedure, your surgeon will make an incision into your buttock to manually remove thin layers of fat (too much surplus fat will make you ineligible for this procedure), tissue, and skin. He or she may also tighten your underlying muscles and create sutures deep within your tissue to hold your now-smooth buttocks in a lifted position. There are four basic types of traditional butt lift procedures, based on the incision the surgeon makes to correct your ptosis (sagging):
- An upper butt lift is a more intensive surgery. During this procedure, your plastic surgeon will incise across the contours of the top of your buttocks. He or she will then use this to access the underlying tissue, removing or repositioning any excess for a more attractive appearance.
- If you suffer from only mild to moderate sagging, your doctor can excise tissue from the bottom of your buttocks to remove any unwanted tissue and move the bottom crease of your buttocks upward.
- The "butterfly" butt lift is named for the incision the plastic surgeon makes from the central crease of the buttock up and outward. This type of surgery can tighten sagging tissue, but does not typically reposition or lift the buttocks.
- To limit scarring and reduce mild ptosis in the hips and edges of the buttocks, your surgeon can make a lateral incision on either side of each buttock.
Your surgeon can discuss your incision options with you to help you choose which type of traditional butt lift will suit your needs. Although traditional butt lifts do leave scars, your doctor will work to limit the length of your incision and place it in a less visible area. In addition to lifting, your surgeon may be able to augment your buttocks during these procedures with a butt implant, by repositioning your excess tissue in a more flattering way, or by transferring fat from other areas, as in a Brazilian butt lift.
The Brazilian Butt Lift
This type of butt lift is very popular because it requires only small incisions and can give patients a perkier rear. During a Brazilian butt lift, your cosmetic surgeon sculpts your body using liposuction. He or she removes stubborn, unwanted fats from other areas such as your thighs or abdomen, purifies them, and injects them into your buttocks. Adding volume can create a younger, lifted look for your buttocks, but it does not address excess, sagging skin. Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight may need to have a traditional butt lift or lower body lift, after which they may choose to undergo a fat transfer.
Before the Procedure
Your plastic surgeon or surgical nurse will provide you with pre-operative instructions at your initial consultation or when you schedule your appointment for surgery. In general, you should work to ensure that you are as healthy and fit as possible before undergoing your procedure. You should also plan ahead so that your recovery is simpler and easier. Before your procedure, you should:
- Quit smoking and heavily drinking alcohol for the amount of time specified by your plastic surgeon, if you do.
- Stop taking particular drugs, such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), aspirin, and certain supplements, since these can make it harder for you to heal.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Maintain healthy nutrition and exercise, especially if you are undergoing a traditional butt lift. If you need to gain weight to qualify for a Brazilian butt lift, you should speak with your surgeon or a nutritionist about the healthiest way to do so. In both cases, eating a high-protein diet can help your body prepare for recovery from surgery.
- Clean your buttock and surrounding areas thoroughly to prevent infection, if you have sagging skin.
- Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from the operation, as well as someone to help take care of you for two to three weeks after surgery.
- Ensure that you will have two to three weeks off of work. If you have children, you will also need to hire a nanny or ask a friend to help you take care of them as you heal.
- Get proper sleep and wash your hands regularly to avoid becoming ill. Your surgeon will not be able to perform your butt lift if you become sick, which could be a major inconvenience to you and your doctor.
- Take supplements like iron and vitamin C to boost your body's ability to heal.
- Think of and ask any lingering questions you have about your butt lift procedure. You should feel completely informed and assured when you go in for your surgery.
- Go over your post-operative care instructions with your surgeon or nurse. This will help you and your caregivers understand what to expect so you can plan for any issues.
- Obtain your compression garment, painkillers, antibiotics, gauze, and any other materials you might need during surgery. Stopping by the pharmacy or having to pick up your garment will be much more difficult after your procedure.
- Do not eat for about 12 hours prior to your surgery, as this can cause problems with anesthesia and sedation.
Following your surgeon's instructions and planning for your return home after surgery can help your body lift procedure go smoothly so you can relax, heal, and enjoy your results.
Traditional and Brazilian butt lifts have very different procedures. Overall, a traditional butt lift is more invasive and similar to other plastic surgeries such as a tummy tuck or lower body lift, while a Brazilian butt lift is simpler and less intensive.
Traditional Butt Lift Surgery
Traditional butt lift surgery is a more involved procedure, your plastic surgeon will typically administer either general anesthesia or local anesthesia
Since traditional butt lift surgery is a more involved procedure, your plastic surgeon will typically administer either general anesthesia or local anesthesia and sedation to keep you safe and comfortable throughout your butt lift. Then, he or she will make an upper, lower, butterfly, or lateral incision into your buttocks to access the tissue beneath. Next, your plastic surgeon will remove any stubborn areas of fat using a scalpel or, in some cases, liposuction. He or she will then reposition the remaining tissue for a perkier, firmer look, suturing it to deep hip muscles or even to your hipbones.
If you opt for butt implants, solid silicone materials created to suit your preferences for shape, texture, and size, these will be placed at this point. Finally, your doctor will pull your skin tight across your sculpted buttocks, trimming the excess for a smooth appearance. Patients who combine fat transfer with a traditional butt lift will have fat injections at this point in the surgery. This procedure typically takes between two and four hours to complete.
Brazilian Butt Lift Surgery
A Brazilian butt lift enhances the size and shape of a patient's butt so that it better fits his or her figure and provides an attractive, prominent rear end. In order to perform Brazilian butt lift surgery, fat from areas of the body such as the back, abdomen, hips, and thighs is removed through liposuction. During this process, your surgeon will make a small incision in the region with excess fat and insert a small tube. He or she will then use manual motion, vibration, ultrasonic waves, bursts of air, or even lasers to dissolve fat deposits before gently aspirating them. Liposuction usually only requires local anesthesia to complete, but your doctor may recommend general anesthesia or sedation if you require more extensive fat removal or are particularly nervous about your surgery.
After they are removed, the fat cells are purified using a centrifuge and only the best tissue is used for injection into the buttocks with tiny cannulas (tubes) at various depths for a natural look and feel. The number, depth, and amount of injections depend on your surgeon's particular techniques and your desired results, but generally, a greater number of smaller injections provides a more realistic look. This step of the surgery typically requires just local anesthesia, as well, but can be performed under general anesthesia or sedation if needed. The final result is a rounder, fuller behind that looks natural because, unlike butt implants or synthetic fillers, it uses your own tissues. This procedure can usually be completed in approximately two hours.
After your butt lift, your skin and tissue will need to heal properly to provide beautiful results. Your will need to see your surgeon for follow-up appointments, follow his or her instructions to care for your buttocks, and give yourself time to rest so that you can enjoy your new rear.
Right After Surgery
Directly following your butt lift, you may feel groggy and disoriented, especially if you have been under sedation or general anesthesia. Your buttocks will also most likely be swollen and bruised from surgery. For this reason, you will need someone to drive you home from your procedure and take care of you. Before you leave the surgeon's office, you will need to:
- Understand how to properly care for your wounds, which may include emptying surgical drains or placing sterile gauze.
- Put on your compression garment, which will cover the areas of your incisions, liposuction, or fat transfer.
- Be able to stand and walk comfortably.
- Learn how to sit or lie down without putting pressure on your buttocks, as this could interfere with your recovery and results. If you have had a traditional butt lift, this will allow your incisions to heal properly, and if you've undergone a Brazilian butt lift, this allows your transferred fat to integrate well with your existing tissue. Many butt lift patients use pillows under their thighs to sit without disrupting the results of the surgery.
- Obtain your painkiller and antibiotic medications. Ideally, you will have filled these prescriptions prior to the procedure or your surgeon will have provided them. In some cases, your surgeon may also recommend that you take anticoagulant medication to prevent blood clot formation.
At home, you will need to rest (in an appropriate position), wear your compression garment at all times, and stay hydrated, giving your body the time and care it needs to heal. You should have a friend or family member stay with you for at least a few days to help you.
Although each patient may experience a slightly different healing time and process, the recovery timeline is typically as follows:
- During the first week, you should plan to take time off of work and have a friend or family member care for you. You can shower, removing your compression garment and gently washing your buttocks, in about two days. You should come into your plastic surgeon's office within the first week of recovery so that he or she can examine your buttocks and remove your drains, if they are no longer collecting much fluid. Sutures may be removed within ten days of your procedure, depending on your healing. You may not drink alcohol, smoke, or take medications like aspirin. Many patients return to work after the first week, but you may need someone to help you care for your house and children for two weeks. Plastic surgeons typically recommend taking short walks around your home during this time period to decrease swelling and keep your blood moving properly. Some plastic surgeons even recommend having regular massages to improve your circulation and help you recover more quickly from butt lift surgery. Depending on your condition and your customized procedure, you may be able to travel after the first week.
- Two to three weeks after your procedure, you may be able to resume normal activities, except for squatting, stretching, or more strenuous exercise. You may be able to stop wearing your compression garment and sit on your buttocks at this time, depending on your surgeon's assessment and instructions. If your drains are still in place, as is typically the case with traditional butt lift surgery, your doctor will likely remove them at this time, as long as their output is low enough. You may be able to drive, provided that you can sit comfortably on a pillow in the car and have stopped taking painkillers.
- One month after your butt lift surgery, you can resume swimming and bathing in the tub.
- Two to six months after your procedure, most of your discoloration and inflammation should have diminished. Most patients are fully healed at this point.
- One year after your butt lift, you can expose your buttock tissue to sunlight. Before 12 months have elapsed, you should avoid sun exposure or wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen to prevent skin damage. At this point, your tissue or fat transfer should have settled so you can enjoy your results.
Generally, the recovery period for a traditional butt lift is longer than that of a Brazilian butt lift, given that it involves larger incisions and more intensive tissue modification. Your surgeon will be able to provide a more detailed recovery timeline based on your unique surgical plan and medical needs at your initial consultation.
As a customized cosmetic surgery, the results of a butt lift may vary between patients. Both traditional and Brazilian surgeries typically provide patients with perkier, firmer, rejuvenated rears. Traditional butt lifts may provide more dramatic results, since they involve removing layers of skin, fat, and tissue, while Brazilian butt lifts sculpt unwanted fat from other areas of the body to plump the buttocks and hips for a curvier appearance. While both procedures enhance the look of the backside, a traditional butt lift is more focused on slimming the butt, while a Brazilian butt lift involves adding volume to the rear for a sexier, younger look. The results of both of these surgeries can last for many years, provided you take care of your body and do not experience massive weight fluctuations.
Your Unique Results
To learn more about the potential results of your butt lift surgery, discuss your expectations, desired outcomes, and concerns with your plastic surgeon. Staying informed about your procedure and following your surgeon's instructions can help you enjoy your new backside. One of the best ways to learn about butt lift results is to look at other patients' outcomes by asking to view before-and-after photos of doctors' actual patients.
Both Brazilian and traditional butt lifts improve the appearance of the buttocks, but since they have different candidacy requirements, techniques, and results, they each provide distinctive benefits.
Brazilian Butt Lift Benefits
Brazilian butt lifts are one of the most popular surgeries for many reasons. The benefits of this procedure include:
- A more natural appearance and lowered risk of rejection than implants or fillers, which can also be used to augment the buttocks.
- Simultaneously removing stubborn fats from other areas of the body and plumping the rear. Many patients use liposuction to remove fats from the abdomen to further enhance an hourglass figure.
- A less invasive surgical process than butt implants or traditional butt lift surgery, which allows for a shorter, simpler recovery.
Traditional Butt Lift Benefits
This procedure helps patients who have lost weight remove surplus tissue and enjoy a tighter rear. The benefits of traditional butt lift surgery include:
- Reduced risk of infection from drooping skin.
- An improved buttock shape through repositioning the excess tissue and fat.
- More comfortable exercise and daily activity once extra skin, fat, and tissue have been removed.
- Ability to combine techniques with Brazilian butt lift fat transfer or butt implants.
Your cosmetic surgeon can discuss the benefits of traditional and Brazilian butt lifts with you in more detail at your initial consultation. Both procedures can enhance your figure and boost your confidence, improving your overall quality of life.
While both types of butt lifts are safe and effective procedures, all surgeries carry certain risks. These can include:
- Infection. If your surgeon's instruments were not properly sterilized or if you fail to clean your wounds as instructed, your incisions or injection sites may become infected. You should call your surgeon immediately if you experience persistent redness, discomfort, fever, green or yellow drainage, or a foul smell from the surgical area. If your tissue is infected, your surgeon will likely need to clean it and you will probably need to take antibiotic medications (or increase your dosage if you are already using these drugs, which many surgeons prescribe as a preventive measure).
- Scarring. While usually minimal for Brazilian butt lift, traditional butt lift incisions leave large scars. Although these may fade over time and can be strategically placed, you need to be prepared to have scars if you choose to undergo this surgery.
- Reabsorbed fat. If you have a Brazilian butt lift or use fat transfer as part of your traditional butt lift, some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed, diminishing your results. However, you can minimize reabsorption by working with an experienced surgeon, making sure not to put any pressure on your buttocks for two weeks, and wearing your compression garment at all times except for showering for the first two to three weeks after your procedure. Surgical techniques that involve making smaller injections into diverse areas of healthy tissue can also maximize absorption. Plastic surgeons also work to minimize the reabsorption risks by injecting more fat than you need to plump your buttocks sufficiently. Reabsorbing fat is not dangerous to your health, but could mean that you do not achieve your desired results.
- Revisional surgery or additional procedures. Most butt lift surgeries are successful, but due to unforeseen circumstances, lower quality surgical work, or complications, you may not be happy with your results. In this case, you may need revisional procedures to enjoy the figure you want. This would involve additional time, discomfort, and cost. Working with an experienced, board-certified, well-reviewed plastic surgeon can reduce your risk for revisional surgery.
- Fluid accumulation (seroma). Damaged cells, blood vessels, and tissues can release fluids that build up under your incisions, causing uncomfortable swelling and increasing your risk for infection. Drains and proper incision care can greatly reduce your risk for seroma. If you do suffer from this condition, you may need to see your surgeon to suction or drain out the accumulated serous fluid.
- Excessive bleeding. Due to improperly sutured incisions, poor healing, or anticoagulant medications, your wounds may bleed excessively. Refraining from strenuous activity for the first month after your butt lift can minimize your risks for bleeding. Depending on the severity of your condition, excessive bleeding may require additional surgery or blood transfusion, although this is not common. Traditional butt lifts carry a higher risk for excessive bleeding than Brazilian methods, given the size and placement of the required incisions.
- Tissue necrosis. Modifying your tissues can inadvertently limit their blood and nutritional supply, causing them to die. These destroyed cells can cause skin irregularities, stiffness, and discoloration. Your doctor may need to surgically remove tissue affected by necrosis. This condition is more common in patients who smoke, which is one reason why your plastic surgeon will advise you to quit smoking before and after your butt lift surgery.
- Prolonged loss of sensation. Some numbness of the buttock tissue following surgery is normal, and sensitivity should return gradually. However, if nerves become damaged during the surgical process, you may experience a prolonged or permanent loss of sensation. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for loss of sensation.
- Blood clotting. Making incisions into your skin could lead to hematoma (blood clotting) or even deep vein thrombosis (larger blood clots that clump in your legs and could be fatal if they travel to your lungs, heart, or brain). Hematoma is uncommon and deep vein thrombosis is extremely rare. Your surgeon will assess your risk factors for both of these conditions at your initial consultation so that you can be prepared. In addition, he or she may prescribe anticoagulant medication to minimize your risk. Contact your doctor's office if you experience persistent swelling, redness, or irritation, especially in the legs. Hematoma can often resolve on its own, but deep vein thrombosis may require oral medications or additional surgical procedures to treat.
Your surgeon will discuss the risks of butt lift surgery and how they apply to your particular condition at your initial consultation. Understanding your risks can help you minimize them as you prepare for and recover from your procedure so you can focus on enjoying your new shape.
Temporary Side Effects
The techniques and materials involved in butt lift surgery can produce some temporary side effects. These may include:
- Numbness. Even after the local anesthesia wears off, your nerves may need to recover from surgery, so you may experience a temporary loss of sensation in your buttocks. Sensation should return gradually over several months but, in rare cases, it may not.
- Soreness. Due to the trauma of surgery, your buttocks may ache or feel sore following your butt lift procedure. This typically dissipates within a few days to a few weeks and can be managed with painkillers.
- Swelling. As your tissue responds to incision, fat injection, or other modifications, it may become inflamed. Your swelling should subside within six months, but if it persists, it may be a sign of a more serious complication such as seroma or blood clotting.
- Nausea and disorientation. If your surgeon used intravenous sedation or general anesthesia to perform your butt lift procedure, you may feel disoriented, groggy, or nauseated directly after your surgery. For this reason, and due to the effects of painkillers, you will need someone else to drive you home and care for you for at least the rest of the day.
- Allergic reaction to medications or materials. If you are allergic to the gloves, sutures, gauze, drugs, or any other substances used during your butt lift, you may develop an allergic reaction. This could cause redness, rashes, hives, irritation, or other uncomfortable symptoms. To minimize your risk of allergic reaction, discuss your medical history with your plastic surgeon at your initial consultation. He or she may be able to use different materials to accommodate your allergies. If you do experience an allergic reaction, this should abate within a few days to one week.
- General discomfort. The surgical process can put a strain on your body and cause general discomfort. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe painkillers to help reduce your discomfort. Getting plenty of rest will also help you remain comfortable and shorten your recovery.
- Swollen veins. If your drugs are administered intravenously, your veins may react to this and become inflamed. Gentle activity and anti-inflammatory medications should be able to reduce your swelling. Talk to your plastic surgeon if this condition persists.
- Suture complications. Brazilian butt lifts usually require just one suture, if any, but traditional butt lifts use long incisions that can involve many sutures. If you have sutures, your cosmetic surgeon will remove them several weeks after your surgery. Sometimes, sutures emerge through the incision line as the tissue heals. If this happens, your surgeon can safely remove them and clean the surrounding skin so you can continue healing.
Temporary side effects are to be expected after any type of surgery, including butt lift procedures. Communicating about your allergies, concerns, and medical conditions with your plastic surgeon before your butt lift can help you reduce your risks and remain comfortable. For most butt lift patients, these temporary side effects are worth the results of the procedure.
While all plastic surgery patients want to experience beautiful results, your safety should be your first priority. You should not undergo butt lift surgery because you feel forced or pressured to by friends or family members. Enhancing your buttocks should be your personal choice according to your needs, wishes, and comfort. Sculpting fat from various areas of your body, injecting purified cells into your buttocks and thighs, making incisions, repositioning tissue, and suturing involves certain risks and temporary side effects.
Before your procedure, your plastic surgeon and nurses should talk to you about the mechanics of the procedure, necessary preparations, post-operative instructions, and potential complications. You should ensure that you fully comprehend every aspect of your customized butt lift procedure before you sign any forms or provide your consent.
Your traditional or Brazilian butt lift procedure will be customized to your distinct needs, but learning about the overall statistics for this type of surgery can help you make your decision and learn what to expect. Some important numbers relating to butt lifts include:
- 80 percent: the increase in butt lift procedures between the year 2000 and 2013, according to reports by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This statistic reflects the increasing popularity of butt lifts, as men and women opt for more curvaceous backsides.
- 3,465 women and 274 men underwent butt lift surgery in 2013, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. While much more popular with women, these numbers show that about seven percent of butt lift patients are male.
- 51 percent: the proportion of butt lift patients over age 40, according to information from American Board of Plastic Surgery's 2009 data. 33 percent of patients were between ages 30 and 39, while just 15 percent were between 20 and 29 years old. This suggests that many patients use butt lift procedures to combat the effects of aging, although they can help patients at many ages.
- 32 percent: the proportion of procedures performed in the East North Central and West North Central areas of the United States, according to the same 2009 report from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This means that butt lift procedures are most popular in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
- 30 percent of plastic surgeons perform butt augmentations, according to 2013 reports from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This 11 percent increase from 2012 reflects the popularity of the Brazilian butt lift and similar procedures.
- 58 percent: the growth in the number of buttock augmentations just between 2012 and 2013, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. This was the largest increase for any type of plastic surgery.
- Over 200 percent: the increasing rate of commentary and discussion of Brazilian butt lift procedures on the popular plastic surgery website and forum RealSelf, as measured by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
These numbers reveal that butt lift surgery is becoming a more and more popular cosmetic procedure that many American women and men are taking advantage of to enhance their figures. Ask your plastic surgeon about his or her specific statistics and success rates to learn more.
The decision to undergo any type of surgery should be carefully considered, so it is important to understand the non-surgical alternatives to a butt lift. You may be able to use less invasive techniques to subtly tighten or plump your buttocks, but non-surgical alternatives will not be able to remove drooping excess skin and tissue.
Exercise and Nutrition
Proper diet and exercise should be the first course of action for patients who want to enjoy firmer, perkier backsides. Exercises like squats target your gluteus maximus and surrounding muscles to tighten them while burning fats. Running and other aerobic activities also strengthen these muscles, making them larger and more toned. If you have experienced moderate weight loss, you may be able to sufficiently firm your rear with exercises and healthy nutrition, but if you've lost massive amounts of weight, no amount of exercise or dieting will be able to get rid of your drooping skin. In fact, buttocks ptosis might make exercising more difficult, preventing you from reaching your health goals and desired look.
Given the rising popularity of the Brazilian butt lift, many fitness instructors have created "Brazilian butt lift" workout regimens to target your hips, buttocks, and thighs. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to use exercise and nutrition as an alternative to butt lift surgery, or as a complement to enhance the results of your procedure.
With more patients wanting to add volume to their rears for a curvier figure, some plastic surgeons have been using dermal fillers to plump the buttocks. Initially developed to smoothen wrinkles and fill out the face, these materials are injected like fat transfers, except they require no liposuction for harvesting and are synthetic. The most popular fillers are:
- Restylane®, Belotero Balance®, Perlane®, Juvederm®, and other hyaluronic acid products. Since this material naturally occurs in connective tissue, it typically integrates well with tissue and lasts between six months and one year.
- Radiesse®, which is a gel composed of tiny calcium spheres and water that can also last up to one year.
- PMMA fillers like ArteFill® consist of microscopic balls of polymethyl-methacrylate combined with collagen. Their effects usually last longer than other products, often more than five years.
- Sculptra®, which is made of poly-L-lactic acid, can last two years or longer.
These products work by immediately adding volume to your tissue and encouraging natural collagen production for longer-term results. Some doctors have used liquid silicone injections to plump buttocks, but this has not been proven safe and the material can spread throughout the body, putting your overall health at risk.
Buttocks fillers are typically not helpful for patients who have experienced massive weight loss since they cannot remove excess skin. They can be an effective, less invasive alternative to a Brazilian butt lift, but the materials required are often quite expensive, especially since they were developed for use in the face, which requires much smaller injections. In addition, most fillers require repeated treatment on a regular basis, increasing their cost and inconvenience over time.
Patients who want to contour their waist and buttocks by removing excess fat deposits may be able to use endermologie, also called lipomassage, rather than surgical treatments. During endermologie, your masseuse will use a special tool to help dissolve fats, drain any fluids that might cause swelling, and encourage your body to produce substances like collagen that help tighten skin.
The advantage of this treatment is that it is minimally invasive, but it usually produces only subtle, gradual results over time. By targeting your upper back and thighs, your endermologie practitioner may be able to create a more lifted appearance for your buttocks and sculpt your figure. However, this treatment will not add volume to your rear like a Brazilian butt lift or eliminate sagging folds of skin like a traditional butt lift.
Light and Ultrasound Treatments
Similar to endermologie, your cosmetic surgeon may be able to use light or ultrasound technologies to stimulate collagen production, improve your skin elasticity, and help break apart stubborn fats. During treatment, your doctor will move a small device over your body, strategically targeting the affected regions to enhance your buttocks' shape and size. These methods may be a viable alternative for patients who want to subtly improve their figures, do not have large fat deposits, and are willing to undergo multiple treatments over a longer period of time to see results. It will not add volume to the buttocks or remove drooping skin and tissue.
Topical Skin Tightening Lotions
If your primary concern is mild sagging in your buttocks as a result of weight fluctuation, aging, or hereditary conditions, you may be able to improve your appearance with topical treatments. These lotions, creams, and serums only mildly tighten your skin, and their results are temporary. However, they may be a good option for patients who want to enhance their appearance without undergoing surgery. They can also be used in addition to butt lift procedures to improve results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many patients who are considering or pursuing butt lift surgery have questions about the procedure. Find some of the most common questions and their answers below, broken up by butt lift type.
Brazilian Butt Lift
Do I have to be a specific clothing size or weight to have a Brazilian butt lift?
Not necessarily. Many plastic surgeons recommend that Brazilian butt lift candidates be 20 to 30 pounds heavier than their ideal weight and above a size six in clothing to ensure that there is enough fat for harvesting through liposuction, especially since the removed fats will need to be purified before they are transferred. However, your exact weight and clothing size do not matter as long as your surgeon determines that you have enough total fat to make the procedure a success. If you lack sufficient fat at your initial consultation, your surgeon may recommend an alternative procedure, such as butt implants, or instruct you to gain weight before attempting butt lift surgery.
Where can you get the fat cells?
Your surgeon does not need to remove fat cells from a specific area of your body for a Brazilian butt lift, since liposuction can be used in many regions. Many patients appreciate using fat from the abdomen, waist, or thigh areas for Brazilian butt lifts since this heightens the results, enhancing your new figure.
Can I use someone else's fat cells for the fat transfer?
No. Brazilian butt lift results look realistic because your body recognizes and integrates your transferred fat cells with your existing tissue. If your surgeon used fat from another person's body, your buttocks would react to it as a foreign substance and not absorb it.
How long do results last?
Your Brazilian but lift may take several months to stabilize, during which some of the transferred fat cells may be reabsorbed, especially if you put any pressure on your buttocks in the first few weeks after surgery. After you have recovered fully, your results can last years or even decades as long as your weight does not fluctuate dramatically and you maintain healthy lifestyle habits.
Traditional Butt Lift
How close do I need to be to my goal weight before undergoing surgery?
You should typically be within 20 to 30 percent of your goal weight before undergoing butt lift surgery. More importantly, you should have only a thin layer of fat in your buttocks and maintain a stable weight for three months to two years before your procedure, since further significant weight gain or loss could interfere with your results.
How long do results last?
Provided that you continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, your traditional butt lift results should last for many years. However, if you gain and then lose weight, your skin may begin to sag again.
Will I lose weight from this procedure?
Excess skin, fat, and tissue can be heavy, so removing it can cause some weight loss. However, your plastic surgeon may use the excess tissue to reshape your buttocks for a perkier rear, which could lessen the amount of resulting weight loss. In addition, you should not use butt lift surgery as a weight loss technique, since plastic surgery is no substitute for proper nutrition and exercise.
Can I also get a Brazilian butt lift if I have the traditional procedure?
Depending on your candidacy, you may have a fat transfer during or after your traditional butt lift, allowing you to experience the benefits of both types of surgery.
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