Brazilian Butt Lift: What to Expect on the Day of Surgery

A Brazilian butt lift (gluteoplasty) has two parts: retrieving the fat that will be transplanted into your buttocks (harvesting) and injecting that fat to create a fuller, more contoured backside (grafting).

Both parts are done during one surgery, and the areas of extraction and placement are discussed and planned ahead of time during pre-procedure consultations.

Surgeon marking skin in preparation for butt lift

Georgiy Datsenko / Getty Images

Before the Surgery

When you arrive for your surgery, you will check-in, turning in any forms you were asked to fill out ahead of time. You will also be asked to sign consent forms.

There will be an area where you can change into a hospital gown and store your belongings. If you forgot to forego wearing jewelry or make-up, you will be asked to take it off at this time.

A care team member will review your medical history, as well as whether or not you complied with suggested preparation steps (e.g., not eating or drinking after 12 a.m. that day, avoiding showering, or skin and hair care products the night before and day of your surgery).

It is possible that your surgery could be canceled if your surgeon's preparation instructions were not followed.

Although you will have already discussed your desired outcome, areas of existing fat that can be used as harvest sites, and the full surgical plan itself, your surgeon will go over this again on the day of surgery.

You will also meet with the anesthesiologist to discuss the planned form of anesthesia and its risks.

Your surgeon will outline where the additional fat is desired with a surgical marker. They will also mark the incision sites through which the fat will be injected, as well as the site(s) from which the fat will be retrieved. (Common areas include the hips, thighs, belly, and lower back.)

During the Surgery

You will be placed on the surgical table either supine (face-up) or prone (face-down), depending on where your surgeon will first begin harvesting fat.

Monitors that allow the team to keep an eye on your heart rate, oxygen levels, blood pressure, and temperature throughout the procedure will be hooked up. You will be given either general anesthesia (which puts you completely to sleep), IV sedation (you won't be unconscious, but will not feel any pain), or local anesthesia.

The skin on the donor sites on your body will be cleaned with an antibacterial solution to prevent infection.

Once the anesthesia/sedation takes effect, the surgeon begins by making small incisions to retrieve the fat from the harvest site(s). Surgeons are typically very mindful of trying to make the incisions where they will not easily be seen (e.g., where a bra band sits over the skin).

Liposuction

The surgeon will inject the harvest site and the buttock with tumescent fluid—a solution made of lidocaine and epinephrine mixed with saline.

A thin tube connected to a hose and surgical vacuum will then be inserted into the incisions to perform liposuction.

Using a back-and-forth motion, the surgeon will suction out the necessary amount of fat from the donor location. The material immediately goes into a special air-tight container that keeps it from being contaminated.

This is repeated for all harvest sites that are part of the surgical plan.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, as much as three times the amount of fat that will be injected into the buttocks is removed during the liposuction phase of a Brazilian butt lift.

Processing

The fat (which is mixed with blood and fluid) is not immediately grafted.

Instead, it is processed to rid it of components—debris, dead cells—that could compromise the fat's viability once injected.

Injection

After the harvesting portion of your surgery, you will be moved to a prone position, if you are not there already. The skin of the buttocks will now be cleaned.

Your surgeon will make several small incisions on your buttocks. A rod-like tool (called a cannula) will be inserted and moved back and forth to loosen up bands of tissue.

In a process that is essentially the reverse of liposuction, your surgeon will inject the harvested fat into the desired areas of the buttock using a thin tube connected to either a hose and a collection container or a filled syringe. The same back-and-forth motion will be used.

The exact amount of fat injected into each buttock will differ from one patient to another based on natural anatomical differences and individual requests regarding the size and shape of the buttock.

It's likely that your surgeon will inject more fat than is needed to achieve the desired result. This is because it is common for some grafted fat to fail in its new location.

The same rod-like tool used to break up bands of tissue is re-inserted to move any injected fat to its ideal location.

Finally, your surgeon will stitch up your incisions or leave them open. Dressing pads and Steri-Strips may be placed on the incisions.

Anesthesia/sedation will be stopped and you will be moved to a recovery area.

After the Surgery

If you received an IV sedative, you will slowly start to feel more alert. If you received general anesthesia, you will wake up still feeling out of sorts and tired.

You will feel some discomfort or pain at the incision sites. Your surgeon will give you pain medication, as well as a prescription you can fill once you are sent home (which is normally the same day).

You will also be placed into a compression garment to wear after surgery to reduce swelling and promote healing.

Your surgeon will give you full instructions on what to do and what not to do in your recovery period. For example, you will be directed not to sit or lie on your backside for a few weeks after your surgery.

Though you will be scheduled for a follow-up visit to monitor your healing and results, and remove stitches (if not dissolvable), be sure that you are clear about when you should call the surgeon's office between now and then.

For example, while bruising and swelling are to be expected, a red or warm incision site is a sign of infection. A day or two of pink/red drainage from an incision is normal, but foul-swelling, yellow/green discharge is not.

You will see a fuller, rounder butt immediately after surgery and can likely return to light activities within a week, and then you can go back to work within two weeks. The final outcome of your surgery is really only visible after healing is entirely complete (about six months post-op).

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery. Pre & Post-Op Checklist.

  2. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Brazilian Butt Lift.

  3. Sarkar A, Chatterjee SS. A simple method of injecting tumescent fluid for liposuctionIndian J Plast Surg. 2011;44(3):498–500. doi:10.4103/0970-0358.90837

  4. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Buttock Enhancement: Gluteal Augmentation and Lift.

  5. Rodriguez R. Fat grafting history and applications. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. December 15, 2015.

  6. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. Incision Care After Surgery. May 27, 2020.

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