Brazilian Butt Lift: Recovery

Planning and preparing for a Brazilian butt lift (BBL) is the easy part, but recovery can be a different story. If you're expecting to walk out of the procedure feeling the same way you did when you went in, you might be unpleasantly surprised. Swelling, discomfort, and the need to take some time off from your usual activities are all par for the course.

However, with a little extra patience, you'll feel back to normal in no time. Here's how the early days of recovery following your BBL are likely to play out.

Recovering from BBL surgery
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Surgery Follow-Up

Proper follow-up after your BBL procedure is essential. Remember, a BBL is a major operation. Follow your surgeon's post-surgery guidance to give yourself the best chance of a favorable final result and a complication-free recovery.

As you head home after surgery, you'll be provided with a surgical garment to provide compression for the early stages of healing. You'll also be prescribed pain medication.

Your surgeon will want to see you back in the office within a few days of the procedure to make sure that your initial healing is off to a good start. If your surgeon placed drains to help reduce the initial excess fluid build-up, they'll want to make sure these are closing up properly.

Unless you're experiencing complications, the next visits will be spaced out on a monthly basis and ultimately, once a year. Several appointments may be required for follow-up depending on how well your body heals and responds to the procedure.

Because the results of a BBL continue to evolve for several months, your surgeon may want to compare progress photos, take measurements, evaluate your bruising and swelling, ensure that your scars are healing normally, and check for signs of infection.

Warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Feeling hot or feverish
  • Intense pain or discomfort (that isn't easily managed with medication)
  • Vomiting or nausea

Follow-up appointments are a great opportunity to ask your surgeon questions. If you have any concerns about your healing and want to know what's normal and what's not, you'll have the chance to get first-hand feedback.

Recovery Timeline

It'll be at least two to three weeks before you'll have an idea of what to expect for your final BBL results. Some of the grafted fat won't successfully take to the procedure, so your body needs time to flush it out of your system. Usually, 60% to 80% of the transferred fat cells survive.

Plan on taking it easy for the first week following your BBL. No exercise or strenuous activity should occur during this vulnerable time of recovery. Have someone available to assist you around the house. Make preparations in advance so you can minimize chores like cooking, laundry, and child care if possible.

If all is well after your first week at home, your surgeon may clear you to resume some light daily activities. However, even if you're feeling good, it's important to wait six weeks before getting back into a regular exercise routine.

Depending on the physical demands of your job, most people can expect to return to work within 14 days of a BBL. It can take about eight weeks before you're able to sit normally again, so your surgeon can explain how to modify your sitting position and make recommendations for cushions you can sit on in the meantime.

Coping With Recovery

The most challenging part of recovery from a BBL is not sitting or lying directly on your buttocks for two weeks after the procedure. Try to be patient with yourself during this time and make your life as easy as possible by planning ahead to have time off work, getting your groceries delivered, and finding relaxing ways to keep yourself entertained while resting up at home.

Let trusted friends or family members know about your BBL so they can plan to check-in on you and be available to help out with day-to-day activities during the first few weeks after your operation.

Scheduling your procedure strategically during a time of the year that's less stressful for you (such as avoiding the holidays or your busy season at work) will make it easier for you to take the time you need for a full recovery.

Be sure to take the pain medication that's been prescribed to you. If you try to tough it out and avoid pain meds, you can put undue stress on your body which only works to prolong recovery. Pain medications can be tough on your stomach, so take them with small portions of food even if you don't have much of an appetite.

Possible Complications

Along with infection and the risks associated with anesthesia, other potential complications of a BBL include:

  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding
  • Fat necrosis
  • Numbness or nerve damage
  • Scarring
  • Seroma (fluid accumulation)
  • Skin discoloration

In some cases, a revision may be necessary. Some surgeons will use an injectable filler, called Sculptra, for minor corrections.

Wound Care

Proper wound care is critical in the early days following your BBL. Change your dressings as advised by your doctor and only take medications that your surgeon has approved of. Certain medications and supplements increase bleeding risk (like aspirin and Coumadin), so your surgeon may advise you to avoid these until you're further along in the healing process.

Always wash your hands before changing your dressings. Don't put lotions or powders near your wounds and do your best to keep them dry. It's best to avoid swimming, bathing, or hot tubs until you're fully healed. Opt for sponge baths or light showers per your surgeon's advice.

Unfortunately, there is always some risk of infection after any surgical procedure. By following up with your doctor as recommended, signs of infection can be identified early and addressed before becoming a bigger concern. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed to get an infection under control. In more severe cases, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary.

Seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon reduces your risk of complications and infection after surgery.

A Word From Verywell

Resist the temptation to rush into judging your results in the first few weeks after your BBL. It takes a while for the swelling to subside, and you won't be able to gauge your ultimate outcome until your body has had a few months to recover. Give it time and follow your surgeon's recommendations for a safe and effective journey to healing.

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Article Sources
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  1. Wilberto Cortes, M.D. Follow-up after the Brazilian butt lift. Updated March 4, 2019.

  2. The Naderi Center, Plastic Surgery & Dermatology. Brazilian butt lift in Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

  3. UCLA Plastic Surgery. Post-operative recovery.

  4. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Brazilian butt lift.

  5. Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan. Incision care after surgery. Updated August 21, 2019.