There are multiple ways to increase volume in areas of the body where more volume is desired, whether it’s the breasts, the chin, or the buttocks. Two of the main augmentation strategies used today are implants and fat transfer. Each method has its own advantages that make it distinctly appealing to patients.
While breast augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States, according to demographic data compiled by national medical organizations, and while implants reign supreme in that area, butt augmentation has been growing in popularity. Unlike the breasts, however, buttocks surgery tends to most popularly involve fat transfer in a procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift. Los Angeles-area plastic surgeons Dr. Dan Yamini and Dr. Steve Svehlak know that many people may have heard the term, but may not be aware of what it actually means.
A Brazilian butt lift, named for the home country of its originator, Ivo Pitanguy, consists of the collection of fat cells from one area of the body to then be implanted in the buttocks. Though only a modest amount of fat is needed to make a difference, the volume is sufficient enough to limit this surgery to candidates who have an ample amount of donor fat in at least one collection area. For this reason, Brazilian butt lifts are not intended for thin people with no fat cells to spare.
When it comes time for the surgery itself, the plastic surgeon will make an incision in the donor area: typically the abdomen, hips, thighs, or arms. A wand called a cannula will be inserted, then used to gently loosen and free the fat cells so they can be suctioned out through the cannula’s hollow center. Great care must be taken at this step for two reasons:
First, the donor area should still look proportionate and contoured after the fat is removed. From a technical standpoint, a Brazilian butt lift is not one procedure, but two, since it involves preserving a natural appearance in the arms, belly, or wherever is targeted for fat removal.
Second, fat cells destined to be transferred elsewhere have to remain intact throughout the entire removal process. A Brazilian butt lift works only because living tissue is involved. The cells have to be able to re-connect to the body’s circulation system, which can’t happen if they are ruptured or otherwise damaged.
Once removed, the fat cells must be processed: filtered, washed, and purified. This ensures that only fat cells are being injected, as it clears away other liquids and tissues not desirable for adding volume.
With the properly prepared fat cells in hand, the plastic surgeon can then go about injecting directly into the buttocks. While the goal is obviously to increase the buttocks’ size, techniques must be employed to preserve the symmetry and shapeliness of the right and left sides. Given the very technical nature of the surgery, as well as the great need for aesthetic precision, it truly requires a combination of medical experience and artistic sensibilities.
Even the most carefully performed Brazilian butt lift will likely change in the weeks and months following the procedure, since a certain percentage of the fat cells can be expected to be reabsorbed. A touch-up visit can be scheduled to allow for “detail work” to ensure desired proportions, roundness, and symmetry.
The fat cells that do connect back into the body’s circulatory system will be there to stay, providing long-lasting volume and shapely new contours. The nature of the surgery makes it ideal for anyone looking to fill out buttocks that have deflated due to weight loss or the effects of aging, as well as for people who have naturally small or flat buttocks to start with.