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Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL): 4 facts to consider

Think you'll look like Kim? Well, it may not be possible...

One of the hottest procedures in recent years is the Brazilian Butt Lift or BBL. This involves transfer of fat from the abdomen, back or extremities to the buttocks to lift, enlarge and sculpt them and enhance their appearance. Pop icons like J-Lo and Kim Kardashian have fueled this recent frenzy, but like any surgical procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, there are advantages and possible pitfalls. Most of time, the final outcome is dramatic and gorgeous, but sometimes it is not! Also, fat take after transfer can be inconsistent, with more fat surviving in one area or buttock than the other. This asymmetry may require a revision, with more fat grafting to those areas where fat take was insufficient. Here are some other facts to consider before going under the knife.

1. Not everyone is a candidate for BBL and unrealistic expectations may foster disappointment after surgery

People with modest or little extra body fat simply do not have enough fat to fill the requirement for the desired size. Many patients do not realize that a fairly significant amount of pure fat is needed to make a difference. Most BBL attempts on patients with little body fat usually cause significant dissatisfaction with the final result. Even those individuals with ample fat may not resemble Kim Kardashian for many reasons, including genetics, so expectations must be tempered.

2. Recovery is not easy

Postoperative requirements for BBL include the need to avoid any pressure on the grafted areas of the buttocks for at least 2 weeks. The reason being delicate grafted fat cells will be deprived of necessary nutrients needed to survive if any form of pressure is applied. That means no sitting on grafted areas and sleeping on your stomach or sides for that period of time. Any necessary car rides require seating in the back seat on your stomach; not comfortable! Also, a specially designed compression garment must be worn for at least 6 weeks after surgery to help maintain the form and shape of the newly formed buttocks. Heavy lifting and strong physical exertion, like working out, must be suspended for at least 4-6 weeks to allow fat grafting to take.

3. Complications vary from minor to serious, so precautions must be taken

As in any surgical procedure, elective or not, problems can arise. Complications from BBL include infection, fat necrosis or death of fat cells, contour irregularities, asymmetry and fat or blood clot embolism, which can cause serious lung issues and even death. Precautions taken by your surgeon minimize these issues, but they can occur! It is also extremely important for the patient to follow all post-op instructions including early ambulation, to decrease complication risks.

4. Trends change, so be careful what you wish for!

Right now, large derrières are in, thanks to Kim Kardashian and Lil' Kim. Trends change however, and if the next "Big Thing" becomes small tight buttocks, then what? For that reason it is best to request modest increase in buttock size, emphasizing a round, perky, full shape rather than enormous. Think more Beyoncé rather than Kim. A more realistic, classic look!

About the Author:

Robert Tornambe, MD

Medical Advisor, Trueself

New York City Plastic Surgeon

Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Tornambe has been practicing plastic surgery for more than 25 years. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, was featured in NYMAG's "Best Doctors" issue, and was the Chief of Plastic Surgery at NYC's Cabrini Medical Center for 20 years.