A Brazilian butt lift (BBL) provides a greater size and contour to the backside of a person as a result of fat (taken from the body of the patient) being injected into the butt. A BBL is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries currently performed around the world. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of butt lifts performed on a global scale has increased by 77.6% since 2015. One of the reasons that it has grown in popularity is the desire of patients to have a backside like Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian. Even though this butt augmentation procedure is very popular, there are some risks involved in having fat transferred to the butt. Let’s take a closer look at the Brazilian butt lift process in order to determine if it is dangerous and what makes it risky for patients.
A BBL actually addresses two issues for the patient when it is performed:
The fat that will be used during a Brazilian butt lift is removed via liposuction. The surgeon will then process and purify the removed fat before it is injected into the targeted section of the butt. Since the fat comes from the body of the actual patient, there is little chance of the body rejecting the injected fat or an infection resulting from the procedure.
The patient must have enough excess or stubborn fat located on the body that can easily be removed and injected into the buttocks. Ideal patients include someone with smaller buttocks that desires a backside with more volume. Patients that have a sagging booty and/or a butt that is small in size and appearance are also good candidates for the procedure.
Patients will notice an immediate improvement in the appearance of the butt where the fat was injected. There will also be an improved look to the area of the body where liposuction was performed. The final results depend on how much of the transferred fat “takes” as well as the amount of fat that is transferred into the booty.
Overall, it can take about three months for the final results to be visible. As long as the patient maintains a steady weight and follows all post-op instructions, the final results should be permanent.
Dr. Mark Mofid, a San Diego plastic surgeon, published a paper in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in 2017. Dr. Mofid stated that 3% of the 692 surgeons he surveyed experienced the death of a patient after they had performed a BBL. In addition, one in 3000 Brazilian butt lifts resulted in the death of a patient which makes it one of the most dangerous cosmetic procedures in the world.
Some of the most common risks involved with a BBL include misshapen or asymmetrical results in the final appearance of the butt. If not, enough fat survives the fat transfer process, the surgeon will not be able to provide the desired results.
There can also be a danger if the patient decides to save money and not have the procedure performed by a board-certified medical professional. Some “doctors” that do not have proper medical certifications do not always inject fat taken from the body of the patient. They can use other substances such as silicone which is not FDA-approved for use during a BBL. The results can be unsatisfactory and might require a revision surgery.
While these BBL risks are aesthetic in nature, there are some risks that can be fatal for patients. One danger involved in the surgery occurs when the cannula containing the fat is inserted into the butt. The cannula needs to remain above the gluteal muscle to keep the patient safe. If it goes below the gluteal muscle, fat can enter into the bloodstream and travel through the body and end up causing a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs).
Patients also need to take into account the fact that what is in fashion today with a BBL might not be in fashion in a few years. An extremely large booty like Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez might be desired today but that does not mean it will still be in style in the next few years.
Since fashion and beauty trends change as time goes by, it stands to reason that the desire for overly large buttocks might not always be the desired look for BBL results. Patients might want to go for more conservative results that can be added to/augmented if so desired in the future.
Patients that are interested in undergoing a Brazilian butt lift should discuss their desired final results with a surgeon in order to learn both the benefits and dangers of having a BBL.