Has brazilian buttlift surgery ever gone wrong?

I'm not talking about ass injections or other illegal practices done in some bogus doctor's basement. I'm referring to surgeries that take place in practices with certified doctors who have lots of degrees. I think this type of procedure has earned a very bad reputation because of news stories like the one about the transgender doctor injecting glue into other women's behinds. It's frightening. But when it comes to legitimate cosmetic surgery that's done in clinics, what are the risks of a BBL going wrong? Apparently most of the fat doesn't even survive? Can there be necrosis, septic shock, etc.?


F, 28, New York

Yes, there are risks. The choice to undergo any cosmetic surgery is a very personal one that should be made only with a full understanding of the potential complications.

There is the possibility of serious problems arising like blood clots, infection or lung embolism. These complications are rare events but patients should be aware of all the potential risks before making any decisions regarding elective surgery.

Be sure to listen to the advice of your plastic surgeon regarding post-op care. He or she will likely advise you to sleep in certain positions or to wear special garments. Following the advice of your surgeon will reduce the chances of negative results, like contour irregularities or unnecessary scarring, from occurring.

Regarding your question about some of the fat not surviving: with any fat graft, only 50 to 70% of the newly injected fat will "take" after the transfer is complete. It's possible that additional sessions may be required at a later date in order to correct any asymmetry caused by the fat grafts not ‘taking’ evenly.

There are risks inherent with all plastic surgery and buttock augmentation procedures are no exception.

While Brazilian butt lift surgery can have potentially serious complications including infection, blood clots and even lung embolism, these complications are rare and very unlikely to occur.

Because cosmetic surgery patients are often high profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Beyonce or Nicki Minaj, even the slightest rumor of a complication can go viral on social media.

Our national obsession with celebrity plastic surgeries often leads to outsized levels of media attention, and unfortunately gives the impression that many cosmetic procedures are higher risk than they actually are. In the hands of an experienced cosmetic surgeon, the potential for complications with buttock augmentation are quantifiable and generally quite low.

I can't give you any specific advice here without a direct consultation, but I encourage you to consult with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss the risks involved.

To answer your question about the fat grafting part of the butt lift procedure, yes, it's true that some of the fat doesn't survive.

After the fat is injected during the transfer procedure, it must establish a blood supply in its new location. If it cannot establish a blood supply, the fat will not survive. In most cases, we can rely on about 50% to 75% of the fat surviving after the fat transfer.

In inexperienced hands, any plastic surgery can be dangerous. But it's important to remember that the vast majority of Brazilian butt lift procedures are successful and that serious complications are extremely unlikely.

While there are well publicized "horror stories" like the one about the Miami-area clinic that killed a young mother in 2017, these events are extraordinarily rare. In that particular case in Florida, it's likely that fat entered the patient’s bloodstream during the fat transfer procedure, and became lodged in her heart and lungs.

As well-publicized as that case was, it made the news precisely because it was so rare.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that as many as 10,000 women per year have Brazilian butt lift surgery in the United States. In the vast majority of cases, patients experience nothing more than mild pain, swelling and bruising. Some rare complications include bleeding, fluid build-up and infection.

I advise you to do your research carefully before getting any plastic surgery. To ensure best practices, always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

It's very important to be realistic and honest with patients about the potential issues involved with any cosmetic procedure.

As with all plastic surgery there are potentially serious risks.

Some of the complications arising from buttock augmentation and the associated fat transfer procedure include blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, a loss of sensation in the area, infection, fatty necrosis, cysts, or fluid buildup and excessive bleeding. None of these events are likely to occur, however.

It is more likely you will only experience some short term bruising and swelling.

In one well publicized event earlier this year, a woman died during a Brazilian butt lift procedure at a plastic surgery clinic in Miami, Florida. In extremely rare cases like this, the injected fat
enters the bloodstream and blocks the blood flow to the lungs and heart. This is called a fat embolism.


While it's important to be aware of this deeply tragic scenario, it's also important to remember that this is an extraordinarily rare event. In the US alone, well over 10,000 Brazilian butt lifts are performed annually. One reason why Brazilian butt lifts are so popular is that the vast majority of patients are extremely satisfied with their results.

Be sure to discuss the potential risks of both liposuction and butt augmentation procedures with your doctor. To reduce the risk of complications with cosmetic surgery, always be sure to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

There have been a number of deaths related to Brazilian butt lifts that were performed by legitimate surgeons this past year. The procedure is being reviewed and analyzed by the national societies to see what are the factors that make it a potentially lethal operation in some cases. The usual cause of death has been fat embolism to the lungs