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Safety in Brazilian Butt Lift Surgery

More than 20,000 people had buttock augmentations last year in the United States and the number continues to grow according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)(1). Women all around the country want to enhance their curves and achieve a fuller, sexier, and beautifully rounded buttocks. 4D High Definition Vaser Liposuction with fat transfer to the buttocks (Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is the perfect solution for them and maybe even you! This procedure is fairly safe because of advances in technology. As with every surgery, there are some risks associated with BBL surgery, such as fat embolism (fat is injected into the bloodstream and travels to the lungs), numbness, bruising, infection, necrosis of fat or surrounding tissue, excessive blood loss, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), among others, according to the ASPS (2). However, an experienced and specially trained plastic surgeon can help diminish those risks significantly.

Vaser Liposuction with fat transfer (BBL) performed by Dr. De La Cruz

BBL is proven to be a safer procedure in comparison with buttock implants. In fact, patients who have implants can experience pain and infection, and have trouble sitting on their buttocks for a longer period of time. Moreover, implant patients are more likely to develop seromas (lumps caused by an accumulation of serum within the tissue), and experience dehiscence and capsular contracture (3). Also, since BBL utilizes autologous fat (fat from your own body), the chance of allergic reactions to foreign substances, such as dermal fillers and implants, are reduced and the results are longer lasting. Recovery is also better with buttocks augmentation with fat grafting. BBL’s patients can usually return to work one week after surgery, as opposed to those who receive buttock implants and would need at least two weeks to resume their regular activities.

Actually, there is a low mortality rate for BBL of approximately 1 in 3,000, according to statistics issued by the ASPS in March 2018 (4). Research has uncovered a correlation between the fatalities, suggesting that death occurred during cases in which a plastic surgeon injected beyond the subcutaneous fat layer. Autopsies of the deceased patients reveal a number of commonalities, such as: fat in and beneath the gluteal muscles, damage to the superior or inferior gluteal vein, and massive fat embolism (blood clot) in the heart and/or lungs. Given these findings, it is critical that prospective patients discuss the risks of undergoing a BBL with their surgeon before pursuing the procedure. The importance of selecting a meticulous plastic surgeon with the ability to safely perform the surgery cannot be overstated. Limiting injections to the superficial planes (namely, the subcutaneous space) may be an effective way to minimize the risk of harm. Moreover, careful control of the cannula (the surgical instrument used to transfer fat), as well as cautious placement of access incisions, can help ensure a superficial trajectory for the fat transfer that occurs as far away from the gluteal veins and sciatic nerve as possible.


(1) “Plastic Surgery Statistics Report 2017”. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. www.plasticsurgery.org

(2) “What are the risks of buttock enhancement?” American Society of Plastic Surgeons. www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/buttock-enhancement/safety

(3) Chugay, Paul. “Buttock Augmentation with Implants and Fat Grafting: A Comparative Study”. The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery. www.journals.sagepub.com

(4) “Gluteal Fat Grafting Advisory”. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. www.plasticsurgery.org/for-medical-professionals/advocacy/key-issues/gluteal-fat-grafting-advisory

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