Buttock contouring surgery — or butt lift for short — is a relatively new procedure in the world of cosmetic surgery, yet recently released statistics show that its popularity is on the rise. This guide details the various surgical procedures performed to enhance the volume and shape of the buttocks.
The Anatomy of the Buttocks
- The Anatomy of the Buttocks
- The “Perfect” Butt
- 4 Common Butt Shapes
- Factors that Affect the Gluteal Shape
- A Quick History of Butt Contouring Techniques
- The Traditional Butt Lift
- The Brazilian Butt Lift
- Ideal Candidates
- How Much Butt Lift Surgery Costs: 10 Determining Factors
- Preparing for Surgery
- Recovery: Post-Operative Advice
- Butt Augmentation Risks & Potential Side Effects
- A Word on Scarring
- Maintaining Your Results
- Frequently Asked Questions
Men and women alike want attractive and well-contoured glutes. And while men and women’s buttocks do vary somewhat in shape and appearance, all bottoms share four main aspects that define the way they look:
- Bone Structure
- Subcutaneous fat
Your pelvic bone, which forms the shape of your hips and the support structure for your buttocks, also happens to be the one part of your buttock region that you can’t change. Women tend to have a wider pelvis to allow for childbirth, which also causes the thigh bones to be set wider. This means wider shaped buttocks and hips, characteristics long associated with femininity.
Most of the shape of your buttocks is made up of muscle, along with some fat. There are a range of muscles in the buttocks region, many of which help you hold your body upright, but the main three that contribute to the shape of the buttocks are:
- Gluteus Maximus
The largest and probably the most powerful muscle in your body, the gluteus maximus makes up most of the muscle bulk in your buttocks.
- Gluteus Medius
This muscle is much smaller than the gluteus maximus, and sits deeper, behind it. The gluteus medius is sometimes referred to as your upper glutes.
- Gluteus Minimus
The smallest of the three gluteal muscles, the gluteus minimus is the deepest layer of muscle, below the gluteus medius.
Subcutaneous fat, or fat that is literally “below the skin,” covers nearly your entire body. Most people think of fat as unwanted or unhealthy, but the truth is some fat is good, and even necessary in some places. This much needed layer of fat, also called “adipose tissue,” is found in your buttocks as a layer that sits above the gluteal muscles.
Your buttocks need a healthy layer of subcutaneous fat to make everyday movements, such as simply sitting down. In general, this layer of fat is thicker in women. You can thank female hormones for this, as they encourage fat to be stored in the butt and thigh areas.
How this fat is distributed in your buttocks area is one of the major determining factors for the overall shape and appearance of your buttocks. This distribution is determined mainly through genetics, hormones, and diet and exercise.
The final layer of tissue that make up your buttocks is your skin. Similar to elsewhere on your body, the skin of your buttocks sits on top of the subcutaneous tissues, holds everything in place, and is subject to all the same signs of aging.
Like the skin on the rest of your body, the skin on your buttocks can have pimples, cellulite, and stretch marks. As you age, the skin all over your body, including your buttocks, loses its elasticity and thickness. For your glutes, this means sagging.
The “Perfect” Butt
Each individual butt is different, so achieving the “perfect” butt might be different for everyone. In fact, according to the 2009 study in the Seminars in Plastic Surgery, aptly named Ethnic Considerations in Buttock Aesthetics, your definition may be influenced by ethnicity.
Generally speaking, the ideal buttock shape is the result of a combination of a few key characteristics.
- Back curve
For many women, the curve of their back is a defining characteristic of their buttocks, or at least the top of their buttocks. Some people tend to have a more natural curve to their lower back, and that helps their buttocks project a more perky contour.
Why is this attractive? Scientists believe that it may be all about reproductive health: that tilt reduces the risk of spinal injuries during pregnancy. So, if you happen to be graced with a curvy lower back, you’re already well on your way to the ideal butt shape and achieving “butt cleavage.”
- Hips and waist width
This one is another visible sign of fertility, according to scientists. Wider hips don’t just make it easier to deliver babies, but coupled with a narrower waist, it’s a sure sign that you aren’t currently pregnant. You are also be able to store more fat in your butt with a wider waist.
- Gluteal fold
Another important factor in the ideal buttock shape is the definition of the gluteal fold. This crease in your skin marks the bottom of your butt, where your upper thighs begin. The ideal derriere has a well defined gluteal fold, clearly separating the thighs from the buttocks.
You don’t want to draw attention away from the buttock region, which means your thighs should be narrower.
4 Common Butt Shapes
A lot of women think that the perfect butt is all about size. In reality, it’s all about the fatty tissues that sit on and around the buttocks. Muscles are important to lay the foundation and can be worked for greater definition, but it’s fat that gives you the softer contours of the attractive female butt.
No two bottoms are exactly alike in shape, but most fit four general categories.
- The V-shape, most often thought of as the least attractive, is created when there is more fat in the waist and upper buttocks. The butt tapers off into the thighs, so that there’s no border between the butt and legs.
- Square-shaped buttocks tend to look flat from the side. A common complaint is that they look almost masculine. This tends to be the most complained about shape, and can be caused by a little too much fat in the “love handle” area around your mid-section and inadequate projection.
- A round butt is usually considered attractive. This shape has a lot of fat volume in the cheeks and on the sides. When there’s a substantial amount of volume, it’s also known as a bubble butt.
- The heart- or A-shaped butt is typically considered the “ideal” buttock shape. Picture an upside down heart, with a smaller waist and bigger hips. The bulk of the fatty tissue is near the bottom of the buttocks, with good projection.
Factors that Affect the Gluteal Shape
It can be extremely difficult to maintain that elusive and ideal butt shape, especially with so many factors that negatively affect it. As you age, time has a profoundly negative impact on the shape of your butt. The genetics you were born with can also play an important role in how your buttocks change. Lastly, diet and exercise can have a remarkable effect on the shape of your buttocks.
Age probably has the greatest effect on the appearance of your buttocks. Once you hit your 20s, the shape of your buttocks is usually fully formed, and you have a lot of good, healthy fat stored there. Your buttocks may be firm and high, even if you’re not physically active and lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Unfortunately for most women, things start to go downhill once they enter their 30s – or even before that time if you become pregnant. Muscle mass and tone, skin cell turnover (which is how often your body replaces your skin cells), and skin elasticity all start to decrease around this time. These decreases contribute to sagging and wrinkling.
As your 40s begin, you’ll likely start to see a bit more sagging, fat accumulating around your hips and love handles, and a butt that isn’t as high and “perky” as it used to be. This exacerbates in the 50s and during menopause. The decrease in estrogen that comes with menopause causes all kinds of changes to your body, including more fat being stored around your midsection and hips, and a loss of fat in your buttocks. Your butt begins to look flatter, and continues to droop.
Once you hit 60, the sagging continues. That said, it’s important to try to maintain strong gluteal muscles even during this stage of your life. No matter how old you are, your back and hips need strong and sturdy support to keep you from falling.
The way that your buttocks are naturally shaped is mostly directed by your genes. Your genetic makeup determines how the muscle groups of your buttocks are placed and contoured, as well as the width and overall structure of the pelvic bones that support them.
Your genes also dictate how your body stores and distributes its fat. Exercise can only change the shape of your buttocks to a certain degree.
Diet and Exercise
However, age and genetics are no reason to neglect diet and exercise. A strong dedication to exercise can help to build the muscle mass of your glutes, toning them into a more appealing shape.
A healthy exercise routine can also help your buttocks fight back against the changes that age and gravity can cause. Starting an exercise routine early in life can help preserve and prolong the butt you had in your 20s, and slow down the sagging and other hormone related changes.
A Quick History of Butt Contouring Techniques
Buttock contouring surgery, or butt lift for short, is a relatively new procedure in the world of cosmetic surgery. Sores, injuries, and deformities to the buttocks have been treated for a very long time, but the concept of shaping the area is still fairly new.
Its popularity has steadily increased as both the demand for body improvement surgery and the safety of liposuction have increased. A recent surge in the popularity of the procedure can probably be explained by changes in fashion and the media — just consider the impact celebrities like J Lo and the Kardashians have had.
The first reported attempt at a procedure to shape the buttocks happened in 1969. This initial attempt used breast implants to give the patient’s buttocks more shape. The result wasn’t very impressive. Over time the procedure was performed more, revealing problems with implants moving. These issues were resolved quickly by placing the implants between the gluteus maximus and the gluteus medius, rather than in the subcutaneous layer.
As liposuction became safer and more popular, it became the most frequently employed method for surgeons to remove unwanted fat from various areas of the body. This would eventually include the flanks, lower back, and areas surrounding the gluteal region. Liposuction was also quickly adopted as the primary means of shaping the butt.
If you are thinking about a butt lift procedure, there are two distinct techniques to consider: the more traditional butt lift, and the newer Brazilian butt lift. Both methods have their merits, and the procedure which is most suitable for you will depend on your unique body shape and goals.
The Traditional Butt Lift
A traditional butt lift may involve one or more of the following:
- Skin excision
- Butt implants
What happens during a particular butt lift depends on the patient and their unique aesthetic goal. Sagging generally involves skin excision, liposuction can be performed to sculpt the buttocks, and implants may be used to add volume.
When implants are used, the procedure is known as a butt augmentation.
Butt Lift Without Implants
In this procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in your buttocks to remove thin layers of extra fat, tissue, and skin. Depending on your unique needs, the gluteal muscles may be tightened. Sutures may be placed deep within the muscle and tissue to lift and hold your new butt shape in the desired position.
There are four main types of traditional butt lifts, each able to utilize liposuction to sculpt the buttocks. They are differentiated by the kind of incision your surgeon makes to correct your sagging:
- An upper butt lift focuses on the contours of the top part of your buttocks. The incision is made across the curve of the top of your butt, through which the underlying tissue can be removed with liposuction, or repositioned to enhance butt cleavage.
- If your problem is only mild to moderate sagging, your surgeon can remove tissue from only the bottom of your buttocks. This helps to reposition the fat in the lower gluteal area, and lifts the gluteal fold at the base of your buttocks.
- A lateral incision can be made on either side of each buttock to address mild sagging in the hips and outer edges of your butt. This method limits scarring.
- A “butterfly” butt lift uses an incision made from the central crease (the “crack”) and continues up and outward. This technique is good for tightening sagging tissue, but it doesn’t usually reposition or lift the butt.
Butt Lift and Augmentation with Implants
You might choose to include implants in your butt lift surgery if you have flat or poorly defined buttocks — especially if you have very little subcutaneous fat. With this procedure, implants are inserted through an incision hidden in the central buttock crease.
That being said, depending on your needs, a different incision site might be better, and can easily be done. The implant is then placed beneath the gluteus maximus to give the buttocks a fuller, rounder appearance.
There are three main types of implants available:
- Water-based implants, as you can guess, are filled with a sterile saline solution. They are considered the safest option because in the unlikely event of a rupture, your body will harmlessly absorb the water. On the other hand, they are not popular because they can rupture when poked sharply or upon harsh impact, like that resulting from a fall. They’re also criticized for not feeling as natural as other options, since they tend to be firmer to the touch.
- Cohesive gel silicone implants represent another option, and are similar to breast implants. Surgeons have begun to shy away from this type of implant however, because of how much stress your backside is put under even in normal day-to-day activities. The chances of a gel silicone implant rupturing increase under the stress of your body weight.
- Solid silicone implants are the most popular type of buttock implants used today. These implants are unlike breast implants because they’re totally solid but still pliable, with a feel and texture much more appropriate for your tush. They come in a variety of shapes, or can even be custom cut to fit you. And thanks to their solid design, they can’t rupture.
The Brazilian Butt Lift
As liposuction techniques improved, a new butt lift technique eventually emerged from South America: the Brazilian butt lift. Invented by Dr. Ivo Pitanguy in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, this technique is actually called “autologous fat transfer” in the medical industry.
Autologous fat transfer means that fat is removed from one part of your body so it can be put into another part of your body. For a Brazilian butt lift, that means taking the fat from a place where it’s plentiful and putting it into your buttocks. It is basically liposuction and butt augmentation, but instead of implants, your own fat is used for the added volume.
The Brazilian butt lift is a two step procedure:
- Using liposuction, your surgeon removes unwanted, excess fat from your body. The most common areas targeted are nearest the buttocks, usually the inner thighs, lower back, stomach and those stubborn love handles. Sometimes fat can even be taken from your upper arms, if there’s enough there. It is also often necessary to take fat from two or three different areas on your body to make sure there’ll be enough to get the results you want. This first step gives you the benefits of liposuction: a leaner and firmer body.
- The removed fat is then medically treated and purified. This purified fat is strategically injected into your buttocks, reshaping them to your desired outcome. Unfortunately, not all of the fat cells transferred may survive. Current estimates by surgeons predict about 20% to 30% of transferred fat cells to die. To combat that, your surgeon may “over fill” your buttocks or perform a touch-up after a few weeks.
If you’re interested in a butt lift to help improve the shape of your buttocks, you’ll first need to see if you qualify for the procedure. A good traditional butt lift candidate should:
- Be in good general and mental health.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Be a non-smoker, or quit. Cigarette smoke can have a negative impact on your ability to heal after surgery. If are a smoker and still want a butt lift, you’ll need to quit at least temporarily for a specific amount of time both before and after the procedure.
- Have excess skin and fat in your buttocks you want removed.
- Have worked to get rid of extra fat and tighten the skin through proper diet and exercise. You’ll also need to be willing to continue proper nutrition and activity levels to maintain your results.
- Not plan on losing any more weight, as this can interfere with results. Weight loss after surgery may unfavorably affect your results.
Many of the criteria for ideal butt lift candidates also apply to the Brazilian butt lift procedure, but there are a few additional factors as well. Good candidates for a Brazilian butt lift:
- Want to add volume to their buttocks.
- Have easily accessible pockets of excess fat that can be removed with liposuction, purified, and transferred into the buttocks. These pockets of fat are preferably located in the midsection or thighs. If you don’t have enough fat, you may need to get implants.
- Do not have excess, sagging skin. Sagging buttocks are better treated with a traditional butt lift.
- Have the proper body shape for a Brazilian butt lift. Not everybody is ideal for this procedure, and your surgeon can help you decide if adding more volume to your buttocks will help improve their appearance.
How Much Butt Lift Surgery Costs: 10 Determining Factors
For many patients, the costs associated with a butt lift are considered an investment, both in terms of improved appearance and the boost in self-confidence that comes with it. Prices vary across the country. However, you should expect pricing to be influenced not only by the costs of your surgeon’s time, but also anesthesia, operating room facility fees, and other related factors.
A traditional butt lift ranges anywhere from about $4,500 to $15,000, with the higher end correlating to butt augmentation with implants. A Brazilian butt lift can be from $4,000 upwards.
Some of the factors that will determine the cost of your butt lift procedure include:
- The specific type of surgery you choose — In general, a traditional butt lift is the most expensive procedure, because it requires the surgeon to carefully and skillfully remove unwanted tissue, tighten the underlying muscles, and trim away extra skin. Including an implant or fat transfer will increase the price.
- Your surgeon’s experience — Experienced surgeons with expertise may cost more up-front. They may end up costing less in the long run, however, since they tend to provide the most excellent care, with superb outcomes and a lower risk of complications.
- The type of sedation or anesthesia used — This can vary quite a bit, and is dependent on a few factors, including the kind of surgery, your medical needs, and even your preferences.
- Recovery medications — You will need antibiotics to fight infection, and you may need painkillers during your recovery. Some doctors may include this in the price of the procedure, but it’s usually an additional cost.
- Compression garments — Supplies or materials to help your healing process may be included in the price, but are usually an added cost.
- Where the surgery is performed — Thanks to regional differences, the cost of your butt lift surgery can be quite different from city to city. A lot of patients “shop around” and choose to travel to lower the costs or to work with a more experienced surgeon. However, there are drawbacks to choosing a surgeon who isn’t near you, particularly if complications occur during the recovery period.
- Surgical facility fees — Hospitals and other surgical facilities charge a fee for their use. This fee can vary from facility to facility, and city to city. Again, some doctors might include this in the price if they have an arrangement with a surgical facility, or it could be an additional cost.
- The cost of implants — If your butt lift includes implants, they will increase the cost. There are a few different options for implants, each with their own associated price tag.
- Combining multiple cosmetic procedures — For example, a lot of patients like to pair their butt lift with a tummy tuck, to fully revitalize their look. Many surgeons may offer a slight discount when combining procedures.
- Your insurance coverage — It’s highly unlikely that your health insurance provider will be willing to cover a butt lift surgery, since it’s considered a cosmetic operation. However, if you have excess skin that is causing medical issues, such as a skin infection, your insurance may pay for some or all of the surgery.
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will break down the costs for your particular procedure. If they don’t, simply ask!
Preparing for Surgery
Before your procedure, you should have a consultation with your surgeon to discuss details such as your medical history, what you hope to accomplish with the surgery, your recovery, and any possible risks or complications.
You should inform your surgeon about any medications or supplements you are taking at least a few days before the operation. You might be advised to stop taking some of them, such as aspirin or vitamin E, because they can increase the risk of excessive bruising and bleeding.
Also, if you’re a smoker, you’ll be asked to stop smoking for at least two weeks before your surgery. This is because nicotine in the bloodstream can have a negative impact on blood circulation, as well as your overall healing process. You’ll probably even be asked to abstain from drinking alcohol for a few weeks as well.
Remember, by properly preparing for your butt lift procedure, you can have a smoother surgery and a faster recovery!
Top 10 Butt Lift Preparation Tips
- It is always good to have proper nutrition, but it’s especially important when you’re preparing for a butt lift. You’ll need to try to maintain a stable and healthy weight before your operation. That means a nutrient rich diet in appropriate portions. Focus on providing your body with the vitamins and minerals it will need for a speedy recovery.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you for a while after surgery. After the anesthesia has worn off, you may feel woozy or dizzy for a while, and won’t be able to drive. This person should be a responsible adult who can make sure you’re well taken care of in the first few hours of your recovery.
- Fill your prescriptions ahead of time. After your surgery is completed you will most likely just want to relax. If you plan ahead and fill your antibiotic and pain medication prescriptions in the days before your procedure, it’ll be one less thing to deal with afterwards.
- Prepare your home for your recovery. This could be any number of things, including making sure you have everything you need (like ice packs, towels, and pillows). Make sure you have comfortable clothing ready as well. Loose pants with an elasticized waist are best.
- Make arrangements to ease your recovery. This might mean making sure your children are taken care of, ensuring you’ve taken the proper time off from work, or preparing meals ahead of time. Do whatever you can to make your recovery easier.
- Some patients like to start taking an over-the-counter stool softener a few days before the surgery. Constipation is a common side effect of anesthesia, surgery, and some prescription-strength pain medications.
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing on the day of your surgery. This will help to minimize any discomfort following the procedure.
- Starting at least 5 days before your surgery you should start washing the surgical area with an antibacterial soap. Wash the area with a continuous gentle scrubbing action for several minutes at least once a day.
- If surgery causes you to feel anxiety or stress, it’s a good idea to practice some relaxation techniques in the days ahead of your procedure. Simple relaxation exercises have been shown to reduce anxiety, complications and post-op pain and discomfort as well as speed up the healing process. Try yoga, breathing exercises, or meditation.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s perfectly normal to have some lingering doubts, concerns, or questions in the final days before your surgery. Don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon to put any remaining unease to rest.
Recovery: Post-Operative Advice
After your surgery, you’ll be taken into a recovery area to be closely monitored for a while as the anesthesia wears off. You’ll be allowed to leave after a few hours, but before you go you will be given a list of specific instructions to follow. These instructions might include how to care for your buttocks and any areas that have been treated by liposuction during your recovery, the medications you’ll need to take, and hygiene guidelines.
You’ll most likely be told to wear a support or compression garment at all times after the procedure. Compression garments help ease swelling and allow your skin in the liposuctioned areas to retract better. Your surgeon will instruct you on how long you’ll need to wear your garment, and if there’s any other special instructions to follow.
Each butt lift surgery has its own unique steps that you’ll need to take to make sure your recovery is smooth, quick, and has long lasting results.
Traditional Butt Lift Recovery
Whether or not you want to include implants in your butt lift surgery, you’ll need to wear your compression garments for at least 2 to 3 weeks. This helps the skin heal and reshape properly, while providing much needed support to your new buttocks.
After this time, you’ll probably be able to gradually return to your normal activities, but your final results could take up to six months to reveal themselves after surgery. It is only at this point that enough swelling will have gone down, and the implants will have settled into their final position.
Brazilian Butt Lift Recovery
If you choose to undergo a Brazilian butt lift, the recovery process will be slightly different. You will most likely be asked to avoid sitting for long periods of time, or at all, for a minimum of 2 weeks (some surgeons prefer even longer). This is important because sitting on your new bottom for too long during recovery can damage the fat that has been transferred there. Excessive pressure prevents the formation of veins that supply the fat with blood and nutrients to supports its survival.
You’ll be asked to sit with a pillow or cushion below your hamstrings to help raise up your buttocks and avoid putting too much pressure on the fat grafts. You’ll also need to sleep on your stomach or side for the same reason.
Compression garments are necessary during recovery to apply an even amount of pressure to the liposuction treated areas. You might also have small drains placed in the incisions beneath the skin to help flush away excess blood or fluid. If your procedure includes these drains, you’ll be given a very specific set of instructions for caring for and cleaning them. Drains are generally removed by your surgeon within a couple of days.
The length of recovery ranges from patient to patient, but most people are able to return to a desk job within about a week or two. If you’ve had a Brazilian butt lift, you’ll need to take frequent breaks from sitting. Sometimes recovery can take longer, but most patients can expect to gradually return to their normal activities over the course of about 4 to 8 weeks’ time.
Butt Augmentation Risks & Potential Side Effects
Luckily, serious complications from butt lift surgery are rare. The risks involved with your specific procedure will be discussed in detail during your consultation.
However, bear in mind that all surgeries have some risk associated with them. Some of the potential side effects related to the various butt lift procedures include:
- Excessive bleeding and hematomas
A collection of blood, called a hematoma, can form and create an uncomfortable bulge under the skin if blood doesn’t clot properly during the surgery. Drainage is required to resolve this issue. The risk of hematomas can be minimized by not taking any supplements or anti-inflammatory medications that promote bleeding/bruising for two weeks before and after your operation.
Seromas are similar to hematomas, except they’re filled with clear fluid rather than blood. Seromas are usually taken care of with drains during and after surgery, but sometimes require another surgery to correct.
- Skin necrosis
Under extreme circumstances, the skin of and around the surgical site can die after surgery. This tissue death, called “necrosis,” is much more common in patients with poor circulation, such as smokers and diabetics. The skin will change color, before falling off and becoming infected. Surgery is necessary to resolve this issue.
All surgeries carry a small risk of infection, but that risk is somewhat higher for butt lifts. The risk of infection increases with the volume of fat being grafted during a Brazilian butt lift. Antibiotics are given during the procedure to help reduce this risk.
The risk of infection is higher with implants, by roughly 20-30%. These infections can range from mild to severe, and treatment options can range from a simple course of antibiotics, through to removal of the implants. Smokers, diabetics, and those who have undergone previous procedures have the highest risk for infection.
- Sensitive skin
The site of the incisions may feel numb, sensitive, painful, or just unusual after surgery. This usually goes away on its own within 4 to 6 months, and is rarely permanent. Massages, as advised by your surgeon, can help promote good circulation through the area, and help speed up the return of normal skin sensation.
- Contour irregularities
About a quarter of the fat injected into the buttocks during a Brazilian butt lift is reabsorbed by the body after the procedure. If this fat is reabsorbed unevenly, it can lead to a lopsided result or contour irregularities. After liposuction, you might start to notice indents in your skin and irregularities in the curves of your body.
This can be resolved naturally through massaging the area during recovery and wearing your compression garment. Liposuction can also cause some swelling and discoloration. These skin issues almost always take care of themselves during recovery, and any permanent issues are extremely rare.
- Implant migration
If your implants migrate too close to the lower back, or cause too much pressure on that area, they can aggravate or injure the sciatic nerve. If this happens the implants will need to be repositioned or removed. Implants can also begin to push through the incision site, or even the skin of your buttocks.
The chances of this happening increases if you put too much pressure on your implants before you have had enough time to heal properly, or if an infection occurs. This can also be a result of a hematoma or seroma.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) describes a condition in which blood clots begin to form in the deep veins of the legs. If one of these blood clots makes its way to the heart, lungs, or brain, it could be lethal. This is why it is so important to follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions, especially those concerning the use of compression garments.
Compression garments help keep the blood flowing, preventing these clots from forming in the first place. You should also leisurely walk around during your recovery for the same reason. DVT is rare, but you should report any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing to your surgeon right away.
- Noticeable scarring
Large, noticeable scars can happen when your suture healing time is prolonged or suffers complications, particularly an infection. Most of the time, these scars will fade over a couple of years. If you have a history of developing unusual scarring, such as keloids, you are also at risk of such issues following surgery.
There are things that can help reduce the appearance of scars, such as topical treatments with silicone sheeting and silicone gel. Any scar treatments should begin only after the incisions have closed.
Top 10 Tips for a Smooth Recovery
- Make sure you have a responsible adult available to drive you home after your procedure. This person should be able to take and understand post-operative instructions, and be able to stay with you for at least the first 24 to 48 hours after your surgery.
- Light exercise, like short walks, are usually recommended to help with the healing process. Simply getting up and walking around a bit helps reduce the chances of blood clots forming in your legs. That being said, you shouldn’t do any strenuous exercises until your surgeon tell you it’s okay.
- Make sure you eat properly and stay hydrated. Recovering from any kind of surgery takes a lot out of your body, and it will need all the proper nutrition and water it can get to speed through your healing process, complication free.
- If your procedure involves the use of drains, your surgeon will probably ask you to keep track of the fluid in the drains on a daily basis. Be sure to keep the drains clean, and take careful measurements. Once the output has dropped to an appropriate level, your drains will be removed.
- Be sure to ask your surgeon about the best way to sit and sleep. You’ll want to minimize the pressure put on your incisions, reduce any pain, and help your scars heal well. This will probably mean sleeping on your stomach or side.
- Use those compression garments. It doesn’t matter if you have a traditional butt lift, or a Brazilian butt lift, wearing the compression garments is vital to your results. Any areas that have had liposuction done will need to be under compression to help them heal into the best shape possible. The compression garment helps to minimize contour irregularities, like wrinkling, in the treated areas.
- Protect your bottom! You might not realize how often you put pressure on your butt until you’re not able to use it anymore. As per your surgeon’s instructions, you’ll need to avoid putting pressure on your backside while it heals. This is especially important for patients who receive a Brazilian butt lift, because the newly transplanted fat cells are trying to reconnect with the blood supply, and too much pressure or movement can prevent this, causing fat loss.
- Avoid squats or stretching your buttocks during the first few weeks of recovery as well. You’ll want to avoid too much shearing or tearing stresses on your new bottom.
- No smoking. Aside from the usual health concerns that go hand in hand with smoking, it can also cause serious complications to your healing. Smoking can interfere with the oxygen in the bloodstream, cause circulation issues, and generally has a negative impact on the entire healing process.
- Follow all of your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. Your butt lift procedure will be tailored to your specific body, needs, and goals. Your recovery instructions will be also. For the smoothest recovery and best possible results, you should maintain good communication with your doctor.
A Word on Scarring
In a traditional butt lift, scarring is, unfortunately, unavoidable. The fact is, because excess skin is being removed, a scar will form where the skin is joined back together.
That being said, experienced surgeons are extremely careful about planning the location of the scar ahead of time. In each of the four traditional incision techniques used for butt lift surgery, the scar is hidden by the natural contours of your body.
Once you have fully healed, and the scars have faded, they should be nearly invisible even in a bikini, expertly hidden in the central crease, the gluteal fold, or along the contours of the top or sides of your buttocks.
Scarring associated with the Brazilian butt lift procedure, however, is almost non-existent. The incisions necessary for the liposuction cannula, are very small and measure only a few millimeters. They are also relatively shallow, only deep enough to allow the cannula to get beneath the skin to remove the fat. The incisions made for reinjecting the fat into the buttocks are just as small. Any scars that form at the incision sites will be small and barely noticeable.
Maintaining Your Results
The results of all butt lift techniques should be very long lasting, provided you are willing to maintain them. Massive weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and aging will all continue to take a toll on your body, even after the procedure. The best way to keep up that new buttock shape is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and avoid stretching your skin with weight gain. That means a healthy, nutritious diet, as well as a regular exercise routine.
You’ll need to keep in mind that losing weight will probably also result in losing your new butt. When you burn excess fat through cardio exercises, the fat comes off your entire body, including your new gluteal region. Work out those buttocks 3-4 times a week, and maintain your weight.
In fact, there are even some specific exercises that can help keep your glutes looking great after the procedure. Once you’ve been given the okay to work out, it’s important to do plenty of routines for your gluteal region and leg muscles to keep your butt toned and perky.
Two of the best exercises for achieving a firm buttock region are squats and lunges. Keep the weights you use light, and do a lot of repetitions to see the best results. For cardio, use the Stairmaster, elliptical, and bicycle to keep your new glutes beautiful.
Lastly, for safety and for the best outcome, it’s always a good idea to maintain a relationship with your surgeon’s office. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon if you ever have any questions or concerns following your procedure. If you notice any unusual changes in your condition, especially earlier on in your recovery, contact your surgeon right away!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a Brazilian butt lift and buttock implants?
The Brazilian butt lift uses your own fatty tissues to add volume and create your desired buttock shape. Excess fat is removed from other areas, purified, and expertly grafted into the buttocks to shape and contour the region.
Implants, on the other hand, use medical grade materials placed inside your body to create that fuller, more youthful shape and appearance. Not everyone is a good candidate for either procedure, so be sure to book a consultation with a board certified surgeon before deciding on one.
Traditional vs. Brazilian butt lift: which provides the best results?
Because everyone’s gluteal region is different, and because butt lift surgery can be customized, the results can vary from patient to patient. In general, both a more traditional butt lift and a Brazilian butt lift can give you a firmer, “perkier,” and all around more appealing bum.
A traditional butt lift might provide more dramatic results, because it deals with removing unwanted layers of fat and tissue, and excess, sagging skin. The Brazilian butt lift, on the other hand, focuses more on reshaping the body by removing unwanted fat from other areas, and using it fills out the buttocks, resulting in a more plump buttock shape, and curvier hips.
Both procedures are able to enhance the look of your buttocks, just in different ways. A traditional butt lift is good for slimming down the butt, and implants can be added to help create some shape if you don’t have enough excess tissue, while a Brazilian butt lift adds volume for a sexier, more youthful look.
The results from either procedure can last for years to come, provided you are willing to take care of your body, and avoid any dramatic weight changes.
Does a butt lift always involve augmentation?
No. A butt lift without implants is ideal if you have hanging or loose skin, wrinkles under your buttocks, and don’t want to have a bigger booty. If you’re looking to add volume to your glutes you might want to consider butt implants or a Brazilian butt lift.
Either of these procedures can help make your butt appear fuller, rounder and more youthful. That being said, a Brazilian butt lift might be a better option for you if you have a lot of excess fat elsewhere on your body that can be grafted to your buttocks. If you lack this excess fat, implants might be your best option to achieve your goals.
How long does the procedure take?
The length of your procedure largely depends on the type and extent of your specific surgery. Generally, a traditional butt lift, with or without implants, takes about 1 to 3 hours. The length of a Brazilian butt lift surgery depends on the patient’s measurements, the number of areas being treated by liposuction, and any additional procedures being done simultaneously. In general, it should take about 2 to 3 hours.
Does a butt lift hurt?
During the procedure, you won’t feel a thing. Thanks to effective anesthesia, you’ll remain comfortable and there shouldn’t be any pain throughout the entire procedure. You might experience some mild to moderate pain or discomfort following the surgery, but will be able to control this easily with pain medication.
Is butt lift recovery uncomfortable?
In most cases, the first few days to a week after the surgery are the most uncomfortable, with patients feeling some mild to moderate pain and discomfort. This should be easily controlled with the pain medication you’ll be prescribed. There might also be some swelling or numbness, both of which should fade and completely disappear within a few weeks.
Will I have to stay overnight?
Most butt lift procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and you’ll be allowed to go home once the anesthesia has worn off; usually after a few hours. You’ll only be required to stay if your surgery is more complicated than average or you are a higher risk patient.
How long do I have to wait to see my butt lift results?
How long it takes depends on a lot of factors, including the specifics of your unique procedure, as well as your own body and how it recovers. Generally speaking, there will be some swelling and bruising after the procedure, both of which should fade over a few weeks. You should be able to start to see the optimal results a few months after surgery.
How long do butt lift results last?
The results of a butt lift can last for years – in many cases, for as long as 20 years or so. Of course, nothing can stop the aging process, so the best way to make sure your result last as long as possible is to maintain a healthy diet with a regular exercise routine. Dramatic weight changes can have a negative impact on the shape and feel of your new buttocks.
Is there a natural butt lift method?
At the moment, there is no cream, pill or device that can achieve the results a surgical butt lift can give you. You can certainly bulk up your glutes with strength training exercises, but that can only do so much and won’t give you the soft roundness that surgery can.
Updated, October 2017