Brazilian Butt Lift Surgery
What is the “Brazilian Butt Lift?”
The Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), properly known as “gluteal fat grafting”, is a type of cosmetic surgery that improves the shape and size of the buttocks. Unwanted, excess fat is removed from other parts of the body (such as the love handles, thighs, or tummy area) and injected into the buttocks to create the desired fullness and shape.
The name “Brazilian Butt Lift” can be somewhat misleading. First of all, the BBL is not truly a “lift” procedure, because it does not involve the removal of loose skin. As well, the procedure was not developed in Brazil, or by a Brazilian plastic surgeon. Rather, the name is rooted in the reputation of Brazilian women for having full, perfectly formed buttocks.
How much does a BBL cost?
On average, the cost of Brazilian Butt Lifts are between $8,000 and $14,000. The overall cost can be influenced by several factors:
- Surgeon’s Fee: The experience and reputation of the surgeon performing your procedure can affect the cost. Highly skilled and well-known surgeons often charge a premium for their services.
- Anesthesia Fees: The administration of anesthesia involves the expertise of an anesthesiologist. The type of anesthesia used, the duration of the procedure, and the qualifications of the anesthesia provider influence the anesthesia fees.
- Surgical Facility: The surgical facility where your BBL is being performed may impact the cost. These fees cover the usage of the operating room and other associated services.
- Location Matters: The cost of living and the average pricing for medical services in a particular area can affect the cost of your procedure. In general, urban areas tend to have higher procedure fees.
- Extent of Procedure: The specific details and extent of your BBL procedure can affect the cost. Factors like the amount of fat to be transferred, the number of donor areas for liposuction, and the patient’s body type may influence the price.
- Pre and Postoperative Care: The care provided before and after affects the overall cost. This includes preoperative consultations, medical tests, surgical garments, prescription medications, and follow-up appointments.
- Additional Procedures: You may incur extra costs if you’re considering having other procedures alongside your BBL procedure.
If you are considering a Brazilian Butt Lift, setup a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. This will allow you to discuss your aesthetic goals and gain a thorough understanding of the specific cost breakdown and factors that pertain to your individual case.
Are you a candidate?
The BBL differs from some other popular esthetic procedures in that ideal candidates are drawn from a smaller group. Typically, candidates are women aged 18 – 30, although it is not unheard of for men to undergo the procedure.
Patients seeking a BBL typically have flat, shapeless buttocks and/or loose skin (although if the skin is too loose, a surgical lift may be required), and the buttocks do not seem to fit with the surrounding body.
Patients seeking BBL wish to have a fuller, more natural appearance. To determine whether you are a good candidate for a BBL, it is recommended that you set up a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon for a thorough evaluation.
During this consultation, which is typically free, your surgeon can determine your candidacy in addition to discussing any alternative treatment options.
How the BBL procedure is done
A Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) doesn’t involve artificial implants or the removal of excess skin. Instead, it utilizes a technique known as “fat grafting,” where fat is suctioned from one part of the body and then injected into the buttocks.
Typically, a BBL is performed on an outpatient basis, and only small incisions are made, often requiring no stitches. Anesthesia can vary, with roughly half of cases using a general anesthetic and the remainder utilizing local anesthesia or a nerve block.
Here’s an overview of what usually happens during the procedure:
- Your surgeon will mark the areas of your body where fat will be removed and injected.
- Anesthesia will be administered.
- The surgeon will use liposuction to extract fat from an area with excess fat tissue. This involves inserting a small tube (cannula) through a tiny incision and vacuuming out fat.
- The removed fat is carefully processed to purify it and prepare it for injection.
- The fat is then injected into the buttocks using a cannula through several small incisions. The surgeon strategically places the transplanted fat to achieve the desired cosmetic result.
- Finally, the incisions are closed and bandages are applied to the treated areas.
In some cases, the surgeon may recommend additional liposuction in surrounding areas to enhance the desired outcome, although this isn’t always necessary.
As with any procedure, there are potential risks or complications associate with BBL, some of which include:
- Poor wound healing
- Unfavorable scarring
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Numbness or other loss in skin sensation
The BBL has an unusually high mortality rate (1 death per 3,000 procedures). However, in a policy statement, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has indicated that in every case death was caused by fat embolism (bits of fat entering the bloodstream) due to implantation of fat in the gluteal muscle during the BBL fat insertion process. As such, they have advised that fat only be placed under the skin; although, it is easy to mistakenly place fat into the muscle. Plastic surgeons who have the skill and experience to properly adhere to these guidelines are unlikely to have serious outcomes, as no deaths have been reported when the fat is placed only under the skin.
Recovering from a BBL is a little more demanding that some other liposuction procedures, because you will be swollen and sore where you sit.
You must avoid sitting directly on your buttocks or sleeping on your back for about two weeks after treatment, until the swelling resolves. This is important as it can affect blood circulation to the area and potentially destroy the transferred fat cells.
You will experience tenderness in the buttocks and the areas on which liposuction was performed. This tenderness should resolve within a short time.
A compression garment will likely be provided to help limit discomfort. Within six to eight weeks, you can expect a full return to normal activity.
How long will results last?
The results of your BBL are semi-permanent due to the fact that even when you take care not to put weight on the buttocks after the BBL, as much as 40% of the transferred fat may not survive. Ultrasound studies have shown that the thickness of the implanted fat decreases by an average of 20% by 12 month. Despite the expected reduction in size in the first year, most of the effects of the BBL can be expected to last for years.
Depending on individual factors such as body type and the desired look, more than one BBL procedure may be required to obtain or maintain the desired results for some individuals.
As with any cosmetic procedure, results can vary significantly from patient to patient. It is important that you thoroughly research the procedure and your surgeon’s safety and patient satisfaction record prior to selecting treatment. The BBL consultation affords the perfect opportunity to evaluate the surgeon and practice facility, in addition to viewing before and after photos of past patients.
To learn more about butt lift surgery, schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon near you.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). (2019). Plastic surgery statistics report. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/documents/News/Statistics/2019/plastic-surgery-statistics-full-report-2019.pdf
- Conde-Green, A., Kotamari, V., Nini, K., Wey, P., Ahuja, N., Granick, M., et al. (2016). Fat grafting for gluteal augmentation: A systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 138(3), 437e-446e. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311358151_Abstract_Autologous_Buttocks_Augmentation_with_Fat_Grafting
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). (2018). Fat grafting to the buttocks. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/for-medical-professionals/advocacy/key-issues/fat-grafting-to-the-buttocks
- Sobel, A.W., & Obagi, S. (2019). Safety and ethics in gluteal augmentation via autologous fat grafting. The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery, 36(2), 53–54. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0748806819828939#articleCitationDownloadContainer
- Cansancao, A., Conde-Green, A., David, J., & Vidigal, R. (2019). Subcutaneous-only gluteal fat grafting: A prospective study of the long-term results with ultrasound analysis. Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 143(2), 447-451. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005203 (note: only available from academic sources).