What is buttock augmentation?
Buttock augmentation, sometimes referred to as a "Brazilian butt lift" when fat transfer is involved, uses butt implants, fat grafting or sometimes a combination of both to increase the size of your behind.
What buttock augmentation surgery can do
- Increase fullness, roundness and projection of your butt or buttocks
- Improve the balance of your figure
- Enhance your self-image and self-confidence
Buttock augmentation surgery is right for someone who does not like the shape of their butt or is looking to balance their body. It is commonly performed in one of two ways, with butt implants or fat transfer. The fat transfer procedure is commonly known as a Brazilian butt lift.
Buttock augmentation candidates
Buttock augmentation is a very personal procedure and you should do it for yourself, not for someone else.
You may be a good candidate for buttock augmentation if:
- You are physically healthy
- You have realistic expectations
- You are bothered by the feeling that your butt is too small
- You are unhappy with the roundness or general shape of your butt
- Your butt is asymmetrical
Buttock augmentation recovery
After buttock augmentation surgery, you will be taken into a recovery area to be closely monitored.
You may be permitted to go home after a few hours. Before leaving, you will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your buttocks and any areas that may have been liposuctioned following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
You will be instructed to wear a support garment "around the clock" following your surgery. Your surgeon will tell you how long you need to wear the garment and if there are any other garments that you may have to wear during your recovery.
Each buttock augmentation procedure has specific steps that you need to take to ensure a healthy recovery and good results:
Buttock augmentation with implants
You will need to wear a support garment for approximately two to three weeks after your procedure. This will help the skin redrape properly and provide support to the augmented buttocks. Final results are noticeable three months after surgery. At this point, most of the swelling will be gone and the implants will be settled in their normal position.
Buttock augmentation with fat grafting
You will be asked to avoid prolonged sitting for about two weeks (some surgeons prefer longer). This is very important because prolonged sitting will damage the fat.
You will also be encouraged to sleep face down or on your side. When you do have to sit, you will have to use a pillow or cushion placed behind the legs (hamstring muscles) to help raise the buttocks, avoiding pressure onto the fat grafts.
You will also be provided with a support garment that will apply even compression to the areas that were treated with liposuction. In addition, small temporary drains may be placed in existing incisions beneath the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid.
You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Your surgeon may encourage you to seek a lymphatic massage from a licensed massage therapist. You can generally resume exercise after six to eight weeks.
With either procedure, it is important to be informed about the steps you can take to aid your recovery.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- How long will I wear the compression garment?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
It may take several months for the swelling to fully dissipate. As it does, your new contours and enhanced self-image should continue to develop.
Following your physician's instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It's important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Buttock augmentation results
Your buttock augmentation results are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover from surgery.
Buttock augmentation incision lines are permanent, but will continue to fade over time. The final results of your buttock augmentation with implants will appear over the next few months as your implant, buttock shape and position continue to settle.
If your procedure was performed with fat transfer, it can take up to a year to see your final results. Some of the fat that leads to the initial shape after surgery will be reabsorbed by your body.
The results of your buttock augmentation surgery will be long lasting. Over time, your butt's size and shape can continue to change due to aging and gravity. You'll be able to retain your new look longer if you:
- Maintain your weight
- Keep a healthy lifestyle
If your surgery was performed with fat transfer, it is important to keep in mind that this fat can behave like any other fat in your body. If you gain weight, the fat in your buttocks may grow. If you lose weight, you may lose some of the volume in the buttocks as the fat shrinks.
Buttock augmentation procedure steps
Your buttock augmentation procedure can be achieved through either the use of implants or through transferring your existing fat, or sometimes a combination of both. Your surgeon may choose between a variety of incision patterns and techniques.
The appropriate technique for you will be determined based on:
- Butt size and shape
- The amount of fat you have on your body that is available for use through liposuction
- Your goals and activity level
- Skin quality and elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you. No matter which type of buttock augmentation procedure you have, anesthesia will be used to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
Buttock implant procedure
Step 1 – Buttock implant procedure
An incision will be made. The incision can be made toward the top of both sides of the upper buttocks, toward the bottom in both of the gluteal creases (the areas where your "cheeks" meets the top of the thighs), incisions between both cheeks (hidden in the crease) or with one incision placed down the center of the sacrum, or the crease between the buttocks. The length of the incision and scar is directly related to the affected areas.
Step 2 – Implant placement
A silicone implant specially made for the buttocks is inserted either in the muscle or above the gluteal muscle on each side.
The method for inserting and positioning implants depends on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your body type and your surgeon's recommendations.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Incisions are closed with layered sutures in the buttocks tissue and with sutures, skin adhesive or surgical tape to close the skin.
Step 4 – See the results
The results of buttock augmentation are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for fuller butt. Results of this surgery are permanent.
Fat grafting / Brazilian butt lift procedure
Step 1 – Liposuction
Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions. First, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula. In general, your surgeon may liposuction up to three times the amount of fat than what will actually be injected into the buttocks.
Step 2 – Fat injection
The fat, tissue and blood that were removed through liposuction are then processed. The syringes are then connected to a special cannula. Your surgeon will use this cannula to add the fat to the buttocks through small injections all over your behind.
Step 3 – See the results
The results of buttock augmentation are immediately visible; however, you will not see your final results until a year after the surgery, as it takes a while for the fat to "take." This procedure offers natural looking and feeling results, but the projection of the buttocks may decrease over time. Some of the initial volume you experience after your fat grafting procedure will fade as the fat is absorbed by your body ( on the average patients will retain 60-80% of the transferred fat, in some cases more in others less). Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for a fuller butt. As you gain or lose weight, your results may change as the transferred fat can grow or shrink just as any other fat in your body.
Buttock augmentation risks and safety
The decision to have buttock augmentation surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any buttock augmentation risks and potential complications.
Buttock augmentation with implants risks include:
- Opening of the incisions with implant exposed requiring removal
- Nerve damage
- Implant rupture
- Implant migration
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Pressure on your sciatic nerve
- Anesthesia risks
Buttock augmentation by fat transfer risks include:
- Excessive loss of blood
- Blood clots
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Numbness and pain
- Fat embolism, injection of fat into the bloodstream that causes inflammation in the lungs
- Fluid shifts and lidocaine toxicity
- Complications of liposuction
- Complications of anesthesia
- Swelling and bruising
- Possible need for a revision surgery at a later date
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Anesthesia risks
- Oil cyst
- Stretch marks
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
Your buttock augmentation consultation
During your buttock augmentation consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want the surgery, your expectations and the desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
Your plastic surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Take photographs
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of buttock augmentation and any risks or potential complications
The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your buttock augmentation surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.
It's important to understand all aspects of your buttock augmentation surgery. It's natural to be nervous about it, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Preparing for buttock augmentation surgery
In preparing for buttock augmentation, you may be asked to:
- Get a blood test
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs as they can increase bleeding
Buttock augmentation surgery should be performed in an accredited outpatient or ambulatory surgical center or a hospital. This is for your safety. If your surgeon has a may informal setting, he or she may not be a board-certified plastic surgeon.
If your buttock augmentation is performed on an outpatient basis, arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.