The Dark Side of a Butt Lift

Posted October 23, 2021 by in Health + Fitness

The Brazilian butt lift (BBL) is a popular cosmetic procedure that increases the size and shape of the buttocks through fat transfer. 

Your board-certified plastic surgeon removes extra fat from the abdomen or another body area and carefully injects it into the buttocks. 

As long as the procedure is performed by a skilled and qualified surgeon, the Brazilian butt lift offers impressive results. But there is an increasing number of cases where things go wrong with the BBL. 

A 2017 survey of 700 surgeons around the globe found 32 cases of fatalities from fat embolism during BBL surgery. There also were 103 non-fatal complications, but there may have been other cases that weren’t reported. 

Please continue reading to learn more about the risks of BBL surgery:

What Can Go Wrong With The BBL

Intramuscular fat injection is a common method that plastic surgeons use during a Brazilian butt lift. Superficial administration of fat under the skin also is used, but there’s a better chance of fat survival when it’s injected into the muscle. 

According to Dr. Ashley Steinberg, “It’s essential that the surgeon carefully and skillfully inject the fat into the gluteus muscles. Vital blood vessels and nerves go through the gluteus region, so careless placement of the cannula can damage these critical structures.”

In the most serious cases, injecting fat into the gluteus muscle can lead to a fat embolism that can travel to the lungs or heart and cause a severe complication. This is a medical emergency that can be fatal if you don’t get immediate treatment. 

One estimate found the death rate from BBL due to fat embolism may be as high as one in 3,000. 

Dangers Of A BBL 

Most BBLs go well, and patients are delighted with the procedure. But this is a popular procedure, and some unskilled practitioners are performing BBLs. Some of the most severe dangers of BBL include: 

Unlicensed Practitioner

Training and experience are vital to a safe and successful Brazilian butt lift. Unfortunately, unskilled practitioners aren’t board-certified and may have limited experience with the procedure but have a financial incentive to proceed. 

These practitioners may know human anatomy, but they often haven’t been trained to do a BBL safely. 

That’s why you must ensure that your surgeon is board-certified and experienced with BBLs. 

Using Unapproved Fillers

BBL involves removing your fat from a problem area and injecting it into the buttocks to provide a larger and rounder shape. But some unlicensed practitioners may use fillers and silicone instead of your fat. 

Silicone and fillers are approved by the FDA to smooth lines and wrinkles and for breast enhancement. But they aren’t intended to be used for a Brazilian butt lift. 

BBL costs several thousand dollars, so some patients turn to these cheaper alternatives to have a BBL at a lower price. 

This is a bad idea because using fillers and silicone in the rear can lead to severe complications and poor results. Many patients eventually need revision surgery, but so much damage has been done that their bottom will never look normal again. 

Going Overseas For BBL

To save money, some BBL patients go overseas to have their cheaper BBL. But they may have a practitioner who isn’t trained and experienced in the procedure. And they may use unapproved substances to inject into the buttocks. 

Tips For Choosing A BBL Surgeon 

Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking for a surgeon for your Brazilian butt lift: 

Use Only A Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery training in the US takes six years on top of four years of medical school. Students perform hundreds of cosmetic procedures and learn how to create the best results, but also receive extensive training when something goes wrong. 

You should look for a surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Note that many doctors who call themselves ‘cosmetic surgeons’ aren’t certified by this organization. 

Surgeon Should Have Many Excellent Results

Your plastic surgeon should have many satisfied BBL patients, and you should ask to see before-and-after photos. Also, the surgeon should have a successful record of performing many large and small augmentations. 

Not every patient needs a lot of fat injected, so you should choose a surgeon with impressive track records in both scenarios. 

Surgeon Should Have Excellent Liposuction Results

The focus in BBL surgery is on the rear, but your surgeon should be skilled at liposuction, too. Many BBLs need revision eventually because of the poor liposuction result. 

If the surgeon removes too much fat, there can be dimples left behind. Your surgeon should be able to give you a flat, smooth abdomen. 

Surgeon Should Be Able To Address Asymmetry

Many patients want to correct an asymmetry issue or lack of fullness in the buttocks. Therefore, the surgeon should have a track record of fixing these problems. 

BBL is usually a safe and effective procedure to enhance the size and shape of the rear. But it’s essential to choose a skilled, board-certified surgeon to ensure the best and safest results.