The most educated patient is the best patient, and this is certainly the case for patients seeking Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). The most important areas of knowledge include Procedure Technique, Realistic Goals, Safety and Recovery.
What’s Included in the Procedure
While the technique of BBL includes Fat transfer to the buttock, it also includes Liposuction of the Back area, possibly in conjunction with Liposuction of other areas if liposuction is desired in those areas and/or more fat is needed than the Back can provide. In those who have already undergone Back Liposuction in the past, the fat will likely be scarred and less plentiful, so typically other areas for Liposuction might need to be considered.
The importance of Back Liposuction in the BBL procedure cannot be understated: it is critical to undergo the contouring and reduction of the Back to allow for a rounder looking buttock. This is like a sculptor revealing a beautiful shape out of clay: beautiful outcome not only depends on what is added but also what is subtracted.
Fat transfer to the buttock adds the extra punch to the improved shape. The border of liposuction in the back is important to revealing enhanced buttock shape as are the sub-regions within the buttock that are enhanced to improve fullness and roundness, including the outer thigh/hip area if desired. Volumes of fat transferred can range from 200 cc to 900cc, depending on how deflated the buttock tissues are and size goals.
Realistic goals are important. The goal of achieving more fresh, round, youthful buttock shape is timeless, whereas a disproportionately large buttock might not meet the aesthetic trend that endures over time. Having a shapelier appearance under fitted clothes and in a bathing suit and workout clothing is likely.
Fat may only safely be transferred to the buttock skin, not the deeper muscles. Fat transferred to the buttock muscles is dangerous, and in the most devastating situation this fat may enter the bloodstream and clog inflow to the heart and lungs. Fat volume grafted to the skin layer also should not surpass circulation in the skin that can support the fat. If too much fat is transferred in a single procedure, the skin can wound and/or die and the fat can become lumpy and infected.
It is critically important that the BBL procedure be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who has been fully accredited to do the surgery in a similarly stringently accredited facility. Photos of the surgeon’s work should be available to you to understand outcomes your surgeon has achieved for patients. You should be encouraged to ask questions and get answers that pertain to your experience and likely outcome. Like stated in the beginning of this blog, the most educated patient is the best patient.
Choosing a Qualified Surgeon
Safety cannot be understated. Choosing a board certified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is your best bet at finding a surgeon who is held to the highest standards technically and facility-wise. Travel to a surgeon within the U.S. is alright if well coordinated and the surgeon has an excellent track record. Travel outside of the country or to plastic surgery business franchises/”mills” increasingly popping up in many major cities in the U.S. is discouraged. These plastic surgeons are typically not board certified by the most stringent boards and generally these locations provide no opportunity for follow-up.
If complications occur, and they are more likely to occur with surgery performed at a lower standard, then the stakes are high and the most devastating consequences have occurred. The plastic surgeon also must assess your personal safety in undergoing the operation, and assure that you are healthy and can safely tolerate the procedure. Preoperative workup including a history and physical exam, lab work and targeted tests in those who need them help support a safer procedure.
What is the Recovery Like?
Recovery for BBL is not bad! Incisions are small and limitations are not onerous. I do not limit my patients from putting any pressure on their buttocks: time spent applying pressure on the buttocks should be limited and instructions are provided. Soreness, swelling and numbness may take awhile to resolve and this occurs in stages.
Within 2-4 weeks patients should be nearly fully functional. By 3-4 months patients should be able to appreciate their results. By 6 months to a year full sensation and softness are achieved. Weight gain or loss will impact results, so maintaining a healthy diet and exercise are encouraged in this collaborative project between you and your plastic surgeon.
I am really excited about BBL and the results I can achieve for my patients. They look great and are so happy! Consider consulting with me if you aim to undergo BBL!