You might be surprised to learn that men account for 10 percent of all cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). In fact, men of all backgrounds seek out plastic surgeons to enhance their faces and bodies. And it’s not just well-known surgeries like eyelid surgery and facelift; men are also interested in more obscure procedures such as butt augmentation.
Why Do Men Decide to Have Butt Augmentation?
The answer to this question may not be obvious to everyone, but it certainly is to men of a certain demographic. Many men have flat butts and are unable to achieve the volume and shape they desire, no matter how much they work out.
“Most men that decide to have a butt augmentation don’t have the contour to their backside that they would like to have,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Gregory A Wiener. “Typically, it’s men who are athletic and in good physical shape, but their buttock is flatter and doesn’t match their physique. These men have tried to build their gluteal muscles in the gym, but still can’t achieve that fuller look.”
Other than the difference in contours plastic surgeons have to contend with, there’s not much difference between male butt augmentation and female butt augmentation. The actual mechanics of the procedure are pretty much the same, regardless of the patient’s sex.
However, a man’s surgery goals tend to be different from a woman’s. Men want the butt to have greater projection, a concavity and a clean, athletic, narrow appearance, according to Douglas Steinbrech, a board certified New York plastic surgeon who also practices in Los Angeles.
Wiener agrees. “With men, we’re not enlarging as much, and we’re not creating that round, full buttock that a woman typically looks for,” he says. “We don’t work to enhance the sides on men’s bodies either. We just focus on giving the buttock a bit of projection. With women, we try to achieve an hourglass figure and we work to enhance the volume and shape of the buttock, while creating a smaller waistline.”
The Options: Fat Transfer, Butt Implants, and Fillers
There are several options available to men interested in butt augmentation, including fat transfer, gluteal implants, and the injectable filler Sculptra.
The first option is to remove fat from an area(s) where it is not welcome and transfer it to the butt, a process Steinbrech refers to as “body banking.” This method is technically referred to as autologous fat transfer, but when performed to enhance the buttocks, it’s often referred to as Brazilian butt lift.
As it turns out, the butt is an ideal location for fat transfer. “The glutes are a great place for the injection of the fat,” says Steinbrech. “This is an excellent choice because it prevents fat from coming back to your other areas of the body such as internal belly fat.”
Wiener concurs. “Basically, you’re taking down the belly and the love handles and moving the fat to the buttock,” he explains. “So this process makes the waistline much smaller as well, which also enhances the look of the buttock.”
Butt augmentation through fat transfer works by harvesting (removing) the fat cells through liposuction, purifying them and then injecting them in the chosen areas of the buttocks. You and your surgeon will work together to choose a site for fat removal. You can take fat from anywhere on the body and it will work fine, according to Wiener.
After administering a local anesthetic, your surgeon will make a small incision in the area from which fat is to be removed and then insert a cannula attached to a syringe to carefully remove the fat (i.e., liposuction).
Once the surgeon has extracted enough fat, he or she will process and purify the fat cells that will be used for fat injection. This will likely involve the use of a centrifuge to spin the fat, or some other filtration process.
Next, the target area will be prepared and the fat will be injected. Afterwards, the surgeon will place a bandage or dressing over the area. Some surgeons recommend that their patients massage the area to encourage optimal contours, while others recommend leaving it alone.
You may be a good candidate if: you have a good amount of fatty deposits and don’t have any circulation problems.
Age is also a factor. “The most important thing to keep in mind about fat transfer is that younger people tend to have better fat survival, although older people can benefit from this technique,” says Steinbrech.
Wiener stresses the importance of having enough excess fat. “It’s the only way that we can achieve a large volume difference,” he says. “Keep in mind, only 35% of the fat that we suction will be suitable for transfer, so a fairly full mid-section and waistline are important for this particular operation to be a success.”
Another option men have is gluteal augmentation with an implant. This procedure involves the placement of a soft silicone implant through an incision placed either in the buttock crease or an alternative site determined by you and your surgeon. (It sits beneath the gluteal muscle and above the pelvic bone.) The incisions are then closed with sutures and drains are inserted. The patient must wear a compression garment after surgery.
For this procedure Steinbrech stresses the importance of going to a surgeon that has extensive experience with gluteal implants for men. “Men want a very different shape than a Kardashian shape,” he explains. “Men want a much more athletic shape — more like Tom Brady.”
You may be a good candidate if: you have very little body fat.
“For patients who have very little fat, men who are lean or ripped, I find that gluteal implants are an excellent choice to give them the contour that they want,” says Steinbrech. But he also points out that he achieves his best results by using gluteal implants with some augmented fat grafting to give the patient the exact gluteal shape that he wants.
Wiener, too, prefers to use implants for when a patient has less fat and says that butt implant placement has become one of his most popular procedures. However, if given the choice he prefers autologous fat transfer because it provides softer, more natural looking results, and there are less potential complications with fat, especially when using the patient’s own cells. But he stresses that this does not mean people should gain weight in order to have this type of procedure. “Recent evidence suggests that those ‘newer’ fat cells may be more fragile and won’t stand up to the suctioning and injection process,” he says.
Yet another option is injection of Sculptra Aesthetic. Perhaps counter-intuitively, Sculptra works by causing an inflammatory response, which leads to an increase in collagen in the injected area. Sculptra contains a synthetic material called poly-L-lactic acid. This material is made of the same biocompatible and biodegradable substance found in dissolvable stitches, and is naturally absorbed by the body.
You may be a good candidate if: you have modest goals and want subtle results.
“Sculptra can offer good volume, but I prefer to use fat or an implant,” says Steinbrech. “I think Sculptra is an excellent choice for smaller defects, where lines need to be filled in, rather than full augmentation. Also, Sculptra is not a permanent solution.” Treatments usually last one to two years.
Plus, it can take multiple treatments to get any effect, says Wiener. “It’s not my first choice for our patients because it’s extremely expensive and you have to use a lot of it for a very small difference in the appearance of the buttock. The benefits of Sculptra are that it’s less invasive than a surgical procedure and it’s very safe.”
Finding the Right Surgeon
No matter which buttocks augmentation option you select, it is imperative that you find a surgeon with the right education, board certification and training. Your surgeon should have extensive experience with fat grafting. Make sure to look at lots of before and after photos and, if possible, speak to former patients of the surgeons you are considering.