As the body ages and goes through different medical and life changes, the results of cosmetic surgery can change as well. The person who asked our Atlantic Coast Aesthetics Question of the Week on Facebook learned this the hard way. The patient asks, “I had a Brazilian butt lift and revision done a few years ago to round out the shape of my buttocks. I’ve gained some weight and now my behind doesn’t look right. My thighs are out of proportion to my butt. Should I consider laser lipo to fix this, or would trying to lose weight be a better option?”
Dr. Pane observes that any time a fat transfer like a Brazilian butt lift or breast augmentation is done, it is done specifically to make the area in question bigger. It is very rare for a patient to say that the end result is too big, although it can and does happen from time to time. Statistically, this may happen less than .5% of the time. When fat is transferred, the areas from which the fat is harvested and to which it is relocated will lose or gain volume according to the amount of fat removed. Weight fluctuations emphasize the areas of higher volume disproportionately to other areas of the body.
Because of this, when a patient gains postoperative weight, the area will often become larger than it was at the time of the transfer. This can mean anything from a slight increase in volume to a disproportionate and aesthetically unpleasant appearance in the area. The buttocks are particularly prone to this, but it can also be observed in other types of cosmetic surgery that require fat transfer as part of the procedure.
In this patient’s case, because the problem started after some weight gain, Dr. Pane says it would probably be better to start with exercise and diet efforts to shed the unwanted weight. This is more likely to give a natural-looking, desirable result than surgical intervention. In addition, if the patient loses weight later through less drastic measures, this can substantially affect the contours and potentially negate the benefits of the initial butt lift altogether, necessitating another revision procedure to correct the area and resculpt it into the desired configuration. Generally, this is something most cosmetic surgeons worth their scalpel prefer to avoid because each time an area is amended surgically, the odds of postoperative complications increase. Therefore, beyond a certain point, surgical intervention is typically considered a last resort in cases like this.
Laser or non-laser liposuction techniques are really irrelevant here, as they have more to do with the comfort and confidence of the patient and surgeon than by what process the fat is removed specifically. The major concern is that not every cosmetic surgeon likes to do liposuction from the buttocks, because this area tends to show irregularities left by pockets of greater and lesser fat transfer in the skin more readily than other portions of the body. There are special techniques that need to be employed in these situations to minimize the irregularities and present a smoother, more natural-looking posterior, and not every surgeon knows how to properly employ them.
If weight loss through diet and exercise do not achieve the desired results, a revision procedure and liposuction are still options, but should be placed on the back burner. However, in the event a revision is necessary, it is important to seek out an experienced, skilled cosmetic surgeon who can minimize the potential for complications and postoperative problems. This does not mean the patient plays no role in their own recovery! Following aftercare instructions precisely and accurately can make a big difference in the outcome of the procedure and attaining the desired look. Even more importantly, it can help prevent problems before they begin, which is why proper postoperative followup and care is so critical.
If you are considering a cosmetic surgery procedure and are unsure where to go for information, Dr. Thomas A. Pane and ACA are here to help! Feel free to ask us anything about cosmetic surgery, because we firmly believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask. You can email us at http://acplasticsurg.com, call us at (561) 422-4116 or contact us through our Facebook page. Your question may even help other patients become more educated about cosmetic surgery as ACA’s next Question of the Week, answered live by our founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pane, during an upcoming Google Hangout!