The Brazilian Butt Lift
-Win Pound, M.D.
Enhancement of the buttocks in the past has been done via fat transfer or silicone rubber implant placement. Due to the low survivability of fat, most initial treatments consisted of inserting large implants through an incision in the cleft of the buttocks. This technique was also fraught with problems ranging from infection, migration or malposition of the implants, seromas, nerve issues, scarring, etc. These days the tables have turned. The majority of buttock augmentation procedures are now done using fat rather than implants.
Fat is very fragile material with poor blood supply. In the past, transferring fat from one part of the body to another was difficult. Survival of the fat was hard to predict. Even under the best of circumstances, only about 30 – 50% of the transferred fat could be expected to survive. With better techniques for harvesting and transferring fat, we can now depend upon more fat to survive, thus making it a more predictable filler material as well as a more permanent one.
The Brazilian Butt Lift consists of two parts: harvesting fat and injecting fat. In order to create a noticeable change to the buttocks, a significant amount of fat must be transferred. This requires that a large amount of fat be harvested for use. The more fat that can be obtained, the better. The most obvious places for removing fat are in the thighs, hips, and abdominal areas. These are areas traditionally approached for liposuction, areas where the most fat tends to accumulate. Simply by removing fat from these areas alone, we can help shape the buttocks. This is shaping the butt by subtraction of the fat around the buttocks before the fat is even transferred. Patients with little fat to harvest will have little fat to add and their results will not be as good.
The second part of the Brazilian Butt Lift consists of the injection of the harvested fat. The fat is washed to remove blood and fluid. The fat cells are then carefully injected in layers into the buttock area on each side in order to produce a uniform, symmetrical result. It is important to limit the amount of fat resorption. This is accomplished by placing the patient in a compressive garment which helps shape and stabilize the fat. We also want to avoid pressure on the fat which might crush the fat cells. We want the fat to grow a new blood supply in its new home. Any movement or pressure on the fat will prevent this. With this in mind, patients should avoid sitting directly on the buttocks as much as possible for several weeks following their procedure. Placing a cushion under the thighs so that the thighs absorb the weight when sitting works well.
The Brazilian Butt Lift has become an increasingly popular procedure. With newer techniques in fat management, results for this procedure have improved dramatically over the past several years.