Are Brazilian Butt Lift Procedures Permanent?
One of the most commonly asked about procedures we offer at Atlantic Coast Aesthetics is the Brazilian butt lift. With these questions often come some misconceptions about how the procedure works and the results the patient can expect. This was the case with our ACA Question of the Week, which came in from our Facebook audience. The patient says, “I’ve been reading a lot of ladies posting how they lost the fat in a matter of months. I thought it was a permanent procedure, I didn’t want to get implants but at least they last forever.” Dr. Thomas A. Pane, our Chief Medical Officer and founder, chose to answer this question specifically because it allows an opportunity to shed some light on how the procedure works, as well as its pros, cons and limitations.
Brazilian butt lifts can be done one of two ways in a reputable clinical setting: by fat transfer or silicone implant placement. While other substances can be and often are used by laypeople, this type of “DIY” butt lift can be very dangerous because of the materials used or due to lack of proper aftercare, to say nothing of the fact that the results are often less than ideal for the patients who undergo them. This can result in injury, a need for revision surgery under the care of a trained and licensed cosmetic surgeon or even death. For these reasons, it is definitely NOT recommended to attempt to increase the volume of the derriere (or any other part of the body) without the supervision of a cosmetic surgery professional with proper credentials.
The first thing to keep in mind, Dr. Pane said, is that in a Brazilian butt lift performed via fat transfer, the fat does not get “lost” per se. What is often observed is that in the first day or two after the procedure, the area tends to swell because of the added fat volume plus the inevitable tissue insult that accompanies the placement of the fat. As the swelling subsides over the next several days or weeks, it can give the impression that the fat is being absorbed into the body or otherwise lost. In actuality, the fat cells remain where they are for the most part. While there may be a slight overall loss due to reabsorbing of the fatty tissue, the main volume will stay in place and go up or down as the patient’s overall body fat changes, but remain largely proportional as originally placed. For this reason, fat transfer procedures are generally considered as close to “permanent” as it is possible to get with cosmetic surgery.
Silicone implants are another option that have their own associated pros and cons. Dr. Pane does not consider them an automatic go-to choice for most patients because unlike fat transfer procedures which harvest the patient’s own tissue and utilize it elsewhere, there is always a risk that the implants may be treated by the body as the foreign objects they are. This can lead to a risk of the body rejecting the implant, infection or other problems, even years after the implant was initially placed. In addition, the implants can turn or rupture due to stress, trauma or simple time-of-life failure. Most medical-grade implants are considered to have a “shelf life” in the body of 5-10 years, as opposed to fat transfer.
Another factor that can impact the outcome of a butt lift is the volume of fat that is placed. Some surgeons are uncomfortable placing more than 300-500ccs of fat at a time, while others with more experience are perfectly willing to go much higher depending upon the amount of subcutaneous fat available within the patient. Putting the smaller volumes together with swelling can result in a butt lift that doesn’t meet the patient’s expectations after the healing process is complete, leading to an assumption that the fat is “disappearing.” While there is no scientific evidence for this, the rumor nevertheless persists, especially on the Internet. When considering cosmetic surgery, it is always best to get the opinion of a licensed and trained surgeon whose experience can be readily vetted by the patient.
If you have a question about anything related to cosmetic surgery, Dr. Pane and the staff of ACA are always happy to discuss your interests, concerns and needs. Simply call us at (561) 422-4116, visit our website at http://acplasticsurg.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Your question may even be answered in a live Google Hangout by Dr. Pane personally as our next ACA Question of the Week. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!