Round, shapely buttocks have long been considered an attractive feminine feature. But thanks to the likes of Nicki Minaj and Beyonce, the desire for a voluptuous derriere has boomed in recent years—and we have the numbers to prove it. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of Brazilian butt lift procedures performed grew 25.5% from 2016 to 2017, topping off a multi-year upward trend.
I performed this procedure myself for 5+ years; however, based on recent peer reviewed research I have chosen to discontinue gluteal fat grafting at my practice. Here’s why.
Unfortunately, when a procedure becomes very popular, unscrupulous doctors will attempt to cash in on the trend. As such, another statistic has been growing alongside the increase in Brazilian butt lift procedures: patient deaths due to gluteal fat grafting often performed by undertrained, poorly qualified surgeons.
According to a report issued by the Inter-Society Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force (yes, the problem is serious enough that the world’s top plastic surgery societies felt compelled to form a task force), Brazilian butt lift surgery has a death rate of 1 in 3,000, more than 10 times that of any other cosmetic procedure.
In almost all of these cases, the cause of death was linked to a surgeon injecting fat too deeply, reaching into the muscle layer, as well as damaging critical blood vessels. As a result, particles of injected fat traveled through the gluteal veins and caused a massive fat embolism in the heart or lungs. Essentially, these patients died of large fat clots in their vital organs.
Additionally, some patients don’t do their research and confuse a true Brazilian butt lift procedure with silicone butt injections. It is shameful that this extremely dangerous practice is common enough to mention, and I don’t want to go into the deadly details, but simply warn that you should never get them. Want to know why? Read what Harper’s Bazaar has to say about them.
The Task Force has advised plastic surgeons to reexamine their fat grafting techniques and provided recommendations for performing safe fat injections. I agree with their tips and appreciate their efforts to educate surgeons. In most cases where patients died, the surgeon was not appropriately qualified or adequately trained in the procedure. Even so, I take these reports very seriously, and your life is not a price I want you to pay.
I have opted to go one step further and offer my patients only proven safe procedures for apparent buttock contouring that do not involve fat grafting, thus avoiding the particular risks associated with fat injections. For example, removing fat from the lower back, hips, and thighs via liposuction alone can help the buttocks appear larger and shapelier in contrast to the surrounding tissue. In other cases, a traditional lower body lift combined with liposuction can achieve results on par with a Brazilian butt lift because pulling the buttocks tissue upward puts fallen tissue back where it belongs.
If you are considering this procedure yourself, I encourage you to first contact my office to schedule a personal consultation at my Honolulu plastic surgery center to learn about these safer, and in many cases more effective, options for buttock enhancement. I’ll be happy to go over the steps of surgery, the risks and benefits, and help you make an informed, confident decision.