Purpose of Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)

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The Brazilian butt lift (BBL) is a fat transfer operation that helps create a natural-looking backside augmentation while avoiding the added infection risk that's associated with implants. Liposuction is used to collect fat from another area of your body, such as the hips, abdomen, or thighs.

Once the fat is harvested, it's purified and injected to contour and enhance the buttocks. Some of the transferred fat cells won't survive, so your surgeon might choose to inject some extra to account for this loss. Once the swelling goes down and the new fat cells integrate, you'll get a glimpse of the full results.

Seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure the safest and best results for any cosmetic procedure.

Potential Benefits of a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)

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Diagnosis Related to Brazilian Butt Lift

The shape of your body is largely determined by a combination of genetics and lifestyle. Everyone has a natural tendency to store fat a little bit differently, and your skeletal structure plays a big role in your overall silhouette.

Changes like pregnancy or weight lifting can alter the natural shape a person is born with (to an extent).

The BBL is an elective cosmetic procedure. For those who work out and eat well but remain unhappy with the shape of their bodies, a BBL can create a look that's otherwise impossible to achieve through lifestyle changes alone.

Men or women may choose to have a BBL for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Balancing proportions between the upper and lower body
  • Achieving an hourglass shape
  • A desire for buttocks augmentation without implants
  • Improving the fit of clothing
  • Minimizing areas of fat in other parts of the body
  • Filling in areas of cellulite or dips in the hips and/or buttock

It's important to have realistic expectations about what a BBL can and cannot achieve. Spend time discussing the procedure and describing what you are looking for with your surgeon.

Every individual's results are different, but you can get an idea of what to expect by looking at real before and after photos from your surgeon's office. It's impossible to know for sure how the procedure will change your body until after you have fully healed from surgery.

Alternative Procedures

People who have sagging skin or who are very thin may not be good candidates for a BBL. Although a BBL can fill out the area, it doesn't lift excess skin.

An experienced plastic surgeon will be able to recommend alternative procedures to achieve your desired results (such as a body lift surgery). If you have very low body fat, it may be difficult for your surgeon to find adequate fat stores to harvest for transfer during your operation. In this case, your doctor may recommend implants instead.

You'll be able to review all of your options in a consultation with your surgeon before scheduling a BBL.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A BBL can reshape areas of the body, which may help boost your self-esteem. However, no cosmetic procedure can heal deep underlying insecurities, including those associated with eating disorders or depression.

If you suspect that mental or emotional issues are fueling your desire for cosmetic procedures, it's best to consult a psychotherapist before making any decisions about plastic surgery.

A mental condition called body dysmorphic disorder causes people to believe that their body needs to be "fixed" when in reality, they are unable to see themselves as the rest of the world sees them. People with body dysmorphic disorder often believe they possess physical flaws that aren't noticeable to others.

Generally, plastic surgeons are not trained in diagnosing body dysmorphic disorder or other psychological or psychiatric conditions. Furthermore, a psychiatric evaluation is not a required prerequisite to surgery. In 90% of cases, patients may invest time, money, and risk their safety with cosmetic procedures, only to find their emotional symptoms are worsened or unchanged.

Studies show that the prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder is higher in cosmetic surgery patients (10%) than in the general population (2.4%).

Criteria

This surgery depends on adequate fat stores in other areas of the body to provide sufficient donor tissue for a successful BBL.

The best candidates for a BBL are those who plan to maintain their current weight. Gaining or losing weight after a body contouring procedure can lead to undesired changes in your overall physique. If you're planning to become pregnant or undergo weight loss surgery (like a gastric bypass), it's best to wait until you've reached a stable weight before getting a BBL. 

Your surgeon should work with you to ensure that you have realistic expectations based on your body type before getting a BBL. Instead of looking to celebrities for inspiration, it's better to reference real patients who share a similar starting point as yourself.

Much of the procedure is about reshaping the buttocks, not necessarily making them larger. Depending on the look you want (athletic, rounded, etc.) going into the procedure with an informed outlook improves the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the outcome.

As with any procedure, it's ideal to be as physically healthy as possible before surgery. Getting regular exercise, eating well, and having a positive mental outlook can improve your chances of having a healthy recovery.

Tests and Labs

Before you go under the knife, your surgeon will want to ensure that you're in good shape to recover quickly after the procedure. You'll begin preparations for surgery about three to four weeks before your scheduled operation. If you're a smoker, it's best to quit at least four weeks before surgery for optimal wound healing.

You will need to schedule medical clearance and lab testing. Your surgeon will advise you on the specifics of your required pre-operative labs and testing. These will include tests to ensure that your heart and lungs are strong enough to handle anesthesia.

BBLs are typically done as outpatient procedures either under general anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or local anesthesia.

If you have a genetic bleeding disorder or an autoimmune disease that could impair your recovery, your surgeon will want to take special precautions or suggest a less invasive procedure to ensure your safety.

A Word From Verywell

Cosmetic surgery can provide satisfying results for the right candidate. If you're physically healthy, financially capable of affording your procedure, and mentally prepared to take on the process, having a BBL can contribute to positive changes in your self-image and confidence.

Only you can decide what's best for your body. After researching the procedure and speaking to a qualified surgeon, it's up to you to decide whether a BBL is right for you.

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Article Sources
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  1. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Brazillian butt lift.

  2. Clay RA. Beauty in the eye of the beholder. American Psychological Association. Updated June 2017.

  3. Joseph AW, Ishii L, Joseph SS, et al. Prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder and surgeon diagnostic accuracy in facial plastic and oculoplastic surgery clinics. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2017;19(4):269-274. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.1535

  4. The Naderi Center. Pre-operative instructions for BBL (Brazilian butt lift). Updated 2018.