Diet and exercise can go a long way toward shaping your body, but sometimes it isn’t enough to achieve a specific result, such as larger breasts or a rounder backside. Breast and butt implants have been available for decades, but in recent years, surgery to achieve a fuller, shapelier behind without implants has been growing in popularity.
Known as a Brazilian butt lift, this procedure removes excess fat from one area of the body and injects it into the buttocks. In many cases, the fat is removed from a “problem area,” such as the hips, thighs or lower abdomen, so the results improve the aesthetics of the entire lower body. Despite its name, Brazilian butt lift surgery has no ties to Brazilian culture; rather, it is a nod to the Brazilian surgeon who first performed the procedure.
Along with diet and exercise, genetics play a role in the size and shape of your body. Some people are genetically predisposed to a flat backside, and surgery is the only option to create larger and rounder buttocks. Unlike butt implants, which are filled with silicone and implanted in the buttocks, a Brazilian butt lift uses your own fat to reshape your buttocks for a more natural look and feel.
“For a Brazilian butt lift to be successful, you must have enough excess fat in your hips, thighs or lower abdomen to remove and transfer to your butt, as well as have good skin tone in your hips and buttocks, since the procedure does not treat loose or saggy skin,” says Salvatore Pacella, MD, a plastic surgeon at Scripps Clinic. “If you have concerns about loose skin, talk to your plastic surgeon about combining a butt lift with skin tightening.”
Brazilian butt lift surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. The surgeon uses liposuction to remove fat from your lower body; the extracted fat is then purified and injected into specific points on the buttocks to achieve the desired shape and size. Pain is usually minimal, and you may have some tenderness, but prescription pain medication is rarely needed.
Following the procedure, you should be able to return to light daily activity and work within 10 to 14 days. However, you will not be able sit, lie down or put pressure directly on your buttocks for about two weeks. You’ll need to sleep on your stomach, and either lie on your stomach, kneel or stand during daily activity.
After a couple of weeks, your surgeon will give you the green light to sit in a modified position with a supportive “donut” seat or pillow under your thighs to prevent pressure on your buttocks. Generally, you can return to sitting without restrictions about eight weeks after the procedure.
Full recovery takes about six months. At this point, all swelling has subsided, and you can see the final results of the procedure. The results should last for many years, but it is important to maintain a stable weight without significant loss or gain, which can affect the outcome.
A Brazilian butt lift is a complex procedure that should be performed by a cosmetic surgeon with specialized training and experience in fat transfer techniques.
“It is important to have realistic expectations about Brazilian butt lift surgery and understand that your results will not be the same as someone else’s who has a different body shape to begin with” says Dr. Pacella. “Talk to your surgeon about what to expect, and look at before and after photos to get an idea of what your results might look like.”