Q: Doctor, you’re committed to improving your patients’ happiness and well-being. The Brazilian Butt Lift, which uses fat from one’s body to resize and shape their butt, is becoming increasingly more popular. Why do you think that is?
A: Brazilian Butt lift was started in New York – it caught on around the same time JLo and the Kardashians were bringing attention to this. Word of mouth has also increased and people have become more aware that they don’t have to stick to the way their bodies are naturally shaped.
Q: Is it true they’re changing the name, or that you’d like to change the name of the procedure?
A: In my world, “a Brazilian Butt Lift” is kind of misleading. We do SSGA, Safe Subcutaneous Gluteal Augmentation, which doesn’t have the same ring to it. We take fat away from areas that distract from the look and add it to the subcutaneous areas that lack it. This way, we give patients hourglass shapes that are long-lasting.
Q: What is the type of patient (age, sex) you typically see for this procedure? What are the results typically desired?
A: The typical patient is within 10-15 pounds of their ideal body weight. They are keeping in shape and have good habits, but are unhappy with their buttocks shape. [In their] 20s and mid-40s, typically women are the most interested in these procedures. If you can describe your shape, i.e “athletic” or “square” (typical male buttock looks like this), it can be [made] “round;” if [the butt is] narrower, we call that a “v shape.” It’s important that patients pay attention to their shapes to see if these procedures will help them. The procedure works by redistributing fat from the waist to the buttock. My goal is to get them a frame that fits their body best. We want to shift their body type to something that looks natural to their body.
Q: There are three procedural steps involved with BBL: fat harvesting, body contouring, and fat transferring, which I’d like to learn more about. In the first step, Fat Harvesting, liposuction is used on the areas where there’s excess fat (typically the back, abdomen, flanks, and the inner and outer thighs). This seems like a significant benefit in and of itself – getting liposuction. Do patients typically think so, too?
A: The two go hand-in-hand – people wanting this procedure usually want liposuction as well.
Q: Returning back to the first Liposuction part of the procedure: the goal is to gather body fat so that enough can be later injected into the buttock – typically, around 500-1000 ml is injected into each. For some patients, is this hard to get? For instance, are some patients too fit or too thin for Lipo?
A: Skinny BBL can still get done, but only if they have fat that distracts from their shape. These patients typically workout a lot and have a C-shape and they typically just want that. These people can have these nice shapes as well. Sometimes there is no distracting fat, in those cases they need implants to get the projections they want. In general, I don’t do those because in that patient group, the implants can look too unnatural due to the patient’s low body weight.
Example of a “Skinny BBL”
Q: The second part of the Brazilian Butt Lift involves body contouring/lipocontouring, which is the shaping of the buttock to the desired frame. How is the desired shape determined? Do your patients usually know what shape they want or is this discussed beforehand with you giving them examples of what can be done?
A: After I examine my patients, I take photographs and manipulate them based on the changes that fit best for them. I end up with barely realistic depictions, but it has the effect of giving patients an idea of what they can expect their bodies to look like (as opposed to them wanting to look like a celebrity). I try to be very realistic to the point of sometimes showing no real results. I try not to over-promise, I try to under-promise and over-deliver.
Q: What can the patient expect during this second aspect of body contouring/lipocontouring?
A: The patient can expect subtraction and addition. Sometimes, subtraction alone can give the patient what they’re looking for. Other times, both are required to help them achieve the shape desired. Picture the weight going down, but if nothing is subtracted from the hip, in most cases, it looks like it was just added to the buttocks and can look unnatural.
Q: The third and last part of the Brazilian Butt Lift is the Fat Transferring process in which the harvested fat is sterilely transferred via injection into the areas of the buttock that appear deficient. The desired butt size and shape will determine the amount of fat that is transferred. Does the injection typically hurt and is the patient conscious? How long does it take?
A: The final step is like the “icing on the cake.” The liposuction is the most uncomfortable part of the incision. The transfer can be uncomfortable [afterward] because the patient can’t lie or sit down properly. However, most people recover and are able to go back to work within 1-2 weeks.
Q: Are the results immediate?
A: Initially, people look overly done. About 40% of the fat is transferred. We over transfer an addition [and] people tend to swell right after. After two months, the swelling resolves and they have the general look they want after that time.
Q: After the procedure, can the patient go home straight away?
A: Patients can go home the same day after the procedure.
Q: What’s the recovery like for patients after the procedure?
A: Typically patients are given pain medicine – this is what keeps them out of work, as they cause drowsiness. We provide medicine for nerve pain as well; that can alter pain without altering the mind. Patients can expect to feel fairly comfortable thanks to the meds.
Q: Is there anything the patient must not do after the procedure? (e.g., swim, have sex, exercise)?
A: We give them a modified exercise protocol. We recommend walking, but keeping the heart rate below 90, then after a week, 90-120, after the second week, people can begin by engaging in light exercise. Generally speaking, people can have sex in about two weeks – this is a [concern] of ripping the incision and bleeding. So, we want to minimize these risks. For swimming as well, it’s the incisions that are at risk as they are not waterproof. They also don’t recommend showering for the next 48 hours.
Q: Do patients tend to feel differently after the procedure, not just physically but psychologically?
A: Generally, patients report higher self-confidence. They are more intimate with partners, it makes them feel like they are accomplishing more at the gym. They feel like they look more like the person they see in their minds.
Q: Is there anything you would advise to someone interested in getting a Brazilian Butt Lift or SSGA?
It’s really important that patients find experienced surgeons to do this procedure. They should be board certified and experienced. This is a high-risk procedure so asking if the surgeon practices the safest practices, such as using large instruments that have minimal risk of piercing the muscle. They should be using the latest techniques. It’s important to see board-certified plastic surgeons who use the latest techniques for gluteal augmentation using fat.