Butt lift surgery is a type of surgery that shapes the buttocks through fat grafting, implants, skin removal, and liposuction. One popular version is the Brazilian butt lift, although other methods may be better suited to a person’s body.

Genetics, sun damage, age, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations can cause changes in the shape of the buttocks.

A butt lift smooths the surface of the skin and lifts sagging buttocks. A basic butt lift will not provide more size to the buttocks but will improve contour. For more size, implants or fat grafting complement the butt lift.

This article examines the different types of butt lift surgery, the risks, how to prepare, and what to expect from butt lift surgery.

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A butt lift removes loose skin and tissue that is causing sagging in the buttocks to create a more rounded, smoother appearance. It will improve the appearance of dimpling skin but will not provide more size or projection of the buttocks.

For these changes, a person needs to have butt augmentation or a Brazilian butt lift. These types of surgery use implants or fat grafting to increase the size of the butt and alter its shape.

The best candidates for butt lift surgery are people who have significant soft tissue looseness in the buttocks but are in good health with no underlying medical conditions that will increase the risk of complications. Surgeons also consider a person suitable for the procedure if they do not smoke and have good practices regarding fitness and nutrition.

A person should also have realistic expectations about what removing the loose tissue will do for them.

There are several types of butt lift surgery that the surgeon may wish to discuss during a consultation. Some simply aim to lift the buttocks, whereas others are designed to enhance their size as well.

Direct butt lift

Those looking to remove unwanted sagging skin and tissue and tighten up the appearance of the buttocks may opt for this procedure.

Various factors, such as age, weight changes, pregnancy, and genetics, can contribute to sagging.

This surgery, which people sometimes want after losing weight, does not provide more volume to the buttocks but creates a “more pleasing” shape and smooths out dimpled skin.

During the procedure, a surgeon will make an incision along the top or underside of both buttocks, through which they will remove loose tissue.

Butt augmentation with implants

Butt augmentation increases the size of the buttocks or improves the shape, generally by adding more projection and increasing roundness.

It involves the insertion of silicone implants below the tissue of the buttocks.

There are currently no implants that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for use in the United States.

Brazilian butt lift (BBL)

A BBL is a type of butt augmentation that uses fat grafting to create size and shape in the buttocks.

Following liposuction to remove fat from another area of the body — often the hips, lower abdomen, or thighs — a surgeon will inject the fat into the buttocks.

A candidate for a BBL needs to have enough excess fat somewhere else on their body that the surgeon can safely remove it.

Good skin elasticity on the buttocks and hips is also important because the procedure does not treat sagging skin.

There are many reasons why people choose to get a butt lift.

A person may wish for a different appearance but have been unable to change the shape of their buttocks through diet and exercise.

Alternatively, they might have lost a significant amount of weight, leaving them with sagging skin that they would like to lift. They may be experiencing body image issues that they feel a butt lift would improve, or they may want to fit into clothing more comfortably.

The best candidates for butt lift surgeries will have realistic expectations about what the surgery can accomplish given their body shape and frame. Those interested in these procedures should discuss their desired results with the surgeon during the consultation.

Any surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and a reaction to the anesthetic.

In addition, with cosmetic procedures, there is always the risk of asymmetry, numbness, other changes in sensation, or the need for revision.

If an operation involves fat grafting, a person faces additional risks from the liposuction, including:

  • hematoma
  • fat necrosis
  • pneumothorax
  • hypertrophic scars
  • infection
  • abscesses
  • seromas
  • cysts

The BBL is particularly risky, with the highest death rate of all cosmetic procedures.

The biggest danger is a piece of injected fat traveling into the lung and causing a pulmonary embolism — a blockage in one of the arteries carrying blood to the lungs.

Preparation for a butt lift procedure begins with a thorough consultation with a surgeon. It is vital to ensure that they have certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Questions that a person may wish to ask the surgeon include:

  • How many years of plastic surgery training do you have?
  • Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
  • Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally or state-recognized accrediting agency?
  • Am I a good candidate for the procedure?
  • What do I need to do to get the best results?
  • What type of butt lift procedure is best suited to me?
  • What will recovery require?
  • What are the risks and complications?
  • What are my options if I am not happy with the results?
  • How can I expect my butt to look over time?
  • Is it possible to see before and after photos of your butt lift procedure results?

Recovery from butt lift surgery takes several weeks, during which an individual cannot sit on their butt.

A person may want to make arrangements at work and home to be able to kneel or stand during the day. They should also plan to sleep on their stomach at night.

Once an individual has committed to a butt lift procedure, they will receive specific instructions from the surgeon’s office about when to stop eating and drinking ahead of the surgery.

It is a good idea for someone receiving butt lift surgery to plan their transport back from the procedure ahead of time, as they will need somebody else to drive them.

The surgeon’s office may ask the person to undergo blood tests before the surgery and to take or stop taking certain medications, including some over-the-counter drugs.

Surgical teams generally perform butt lift surgeries as outpatient procedures under general anesthesia. The length of the surgery will depend on the type of procedure.

If they are performing a direct butt lift, the surgeon will make an incision at the top of the buttocks or underneath. They will then remove excess skin and tissue and close the incision with sutures. In some cases, they will place drainage tubes.

They will also make an incision in the upper buttocks when carrying out a silicone buttocks implant. However, they will then need to make a pocket under the skin and fat, into which they place the implant before closing the incision with sutures.

A BBL requires the use of a cannula to suck out fat from specified areas of the body. The surgical team will collect this in a sterile container. They will then process and clean the fat before injecting it through another special cannula into the buttocks.

Regardless of the type of procedure, a person will need to recover for a short time in a recovery area before their care team allows them to return home. Anesthesia can make a person feel sleepy and groggy for the rest of the day, so it is advisable to avoid scheduling any tasks or activities and to rest instead.

The results of both a butt lift and a BBL are immediately visible.

With BBL, however, it takes a year for the transferred fat to assimilate fully into the new location on the body. During that time, some changes in the buttocks may occur.

The body will absorb some of the transferred fat, but about 60–80% usually remains.

The increased number of fat cells in the buttocks means that the shape of this body part will change with weight fluctuations.

For the first 2 weeks following surgery, the individual cannot sit or lie on their butt, except when using the toilet.

The resulting pain is usually mild and manageable with medications that the surgeon can recommend or provide.

The doctor will determine when the person can start to sit using a donut pillow.

Light activity will usually be permissible about 1 week after surgery, and a person can typically return to work about 10–14 days after surgery.

The butt lift, particularly the Brazilian butt lift, is a popular surgery that many people undertake to improve their self-confidence and satisfaction with their body.

A traditional butt lift will lift and tighten sagging skin, but it will not change the size or volume of the buttocks.

A BBL, which transfers fat from another area of the body, will provide more size and contour to the buttocks. Silicone implants are a way to provide volume in people who do not have enough excess fat to undergo a BBL.

As with any surgery, a butt lift comes with some risks. The BBL is particularly risky, so anyone thinking about undergoing the procedure should carefully consider the pros and cons of the surgery. They can discuss the risks and their expectations with the surgeon during a consultation to determine whether it is the best procedure for them.