Butt Enhancement

Quick Facts About Butt Enhancement

Average Treatment Cost:: $5,000-$20,000
Procedure Time: : 2-4 hours
In/Outpatient:: Usually Outpatient
Anesthesia:: General or local with sedation
Recovery Time:: 2-4 weeks; strenuous activity in 3-6 weeks
Duration of Results: : Long-lasting
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What you should know

What Is Butt Enhancement

From butt lifts to butt augmentation, today’s cosmetic surgery buttocks procedures are focused on achieving what might be called the ultimate butt by skillfully removing excess skin (when necessary) while, in many cases, adding fat to contour the buttocks.

The ultimate butt these days may well be bigger, rounder, firmer, tighter or even more lifted. A better butt can be had depending what it is you what to change about your backend. “While boosting the size or shape of the butt is not for everyone, it is one of the fastest growing and most in demand procedures because of the dramatic difference made,” Los Angeles, CA, Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Daniel Yamini explains. 

Butt Lift

A buttock lift removes excess sagging buttock skin that has developed as a result of weight loss, aging, gravity or genetics much like other cosmetic lift procedures. A buttock lift is commonly part of a lower body lift that may include the abdomen and thighs. 

A buttock lift or lower body lift, which can include the abdomen and thighs, as well, can improve and/or remove excess skin and reshape your derrière. “Most frequently done in conjunction with a body lift or abdominoplasty, the buttocks lift improves shape and contour and tightens the skin,” says Boston, MA plastic surgeon Fouad Samaha, MD.

“Some women experience drooping in the buttocks area after they lose the baby weight,” says Landowne, VA, plastic surgeon Phillip Chang, MD, and if your skin doesn’t have enough elasticity, and your rear end looks a little deflated, a buttocks lift is the only way to eliminate the excess skin and restore a more taut appearance.

A butt lift is essentially a more extensive tummy tuck that uses incisions along the upper area of the buttocks as well as under the buttocks crease so your surgeon can lift and rejuvenate the area.

A buttock lift improves and/or removes excess, sagging buttock skin. “After surgery, you’ll wear a compression garment or have drains to prevent fluid formation,” says Savannah, GA, plastic surgeon Richard Greco, MD. A buttock lift is commonly part of a lower body lift that may include addressing the abdomen and thighs, too. But when performed alone, recovery from a buttock lift, according to Dr. Richard Greco, is not as difficult as you might expect. 

The buttock lift also can improve the lumps and bumps associated with cellulite. During a butt or body lift, the skin and underlying matrix are separated from the muscle and fat, thereby releasing the bands that cause cellulite. 

Brazilian Butt Lift

The Brazilian Butt Lift, also referred to as fat grafting, either performed on its own or in conjunction with a butt lift, can fill out a flat, saggy butt. By creating an incision in the crease where the butt and leg meet, your own fat is first gently suctioned out with liposuction (from a fatty area like the stomach or hips) before it is injected into the butt to smooth, elevate and shape the area. You can also get a lot more volume with fat transfer as opposed to implants and the results are amazing when performed on someone with flat buttocks.

In the past, before the notion of fat caught on, implants were often the method of choice for augmentation of the buttocks. “Originally just implants, without fat grafting or liposuction, were used but their results are very limited. They can make the butt bigger but not necessarily prettier,” says Coconut Grove, FL, plastic surgeon Constantino Mendieta, MD. “Butt augmentation consists of fat grafting but liposuction is usually performed as well, to give definition to the hips and thighs, so it’s like you’re getting two procedures in one,” says Miami plastic surgeon Leonard Tachmes, MD. Most experts agree that fat makes for a more natural-looking end result since it’s softer and more compatible with the body. In order for a good outcome, it’s imperative that any transplanted fat be placed near the muscle so that there is good blood support.

“Fat grafting is especially beneficial if you catch a saggy butt early on. The fat that’s added in will provide anti-gravity support so that the sagging is reduced or eliminated,” says New York, NY, plastic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Kornstein.

If you’re concerned about a few extra pounds in the hips or thighs, and your derriere has lost volume after losing the baby weight, fat transfer may be the ideal solution for you. Think of this procedure with double benefits:  Butt augmentation with implants adds shape; and if you go the fat transfer route, you’ll eliminate unwanted fat pockets from elsewhere on the body as well.

During this procedure, your plastic surgeon uses liposuction to remove fat from where you don’t want it before reinjection to areas where you do. The result is a shapelier bottom with curves in all the right places—and the elimination of the fat bulges and volume loss that were standing between you and for some, your pre-baby body.

Depending on the areas to be suctioned, tiny incisions can be placed in the pubic region, belly button, buttocks crease and along the hipbone and lower back. The fat is removed under low vacuum to protect the cells, then treated with antibiotics to help prevent infection, and grafted into the target areas of the buttocks through tiny dot-like holes in the buttocks crease and possibly on the sides of the buttocks. A low-pressure suction needs to be used during the liposuction portion to preserve the fat cells; under high-pressure suction they can burst.  The procedure is very lengthy because the fat needs to be put in drop by drop so that it can survive.

However, Dr. Constantino Mendieta explains, “The biggest misconception is that this procedure is just about making the buttocks larger. In actuality, it’s more about shaping and contouring.”

The best part is that you need to be carrying a little extra weight so your surgeon can harvest enough fat to transfer, which means you may not have to knock yourself out trying to lose those last five pregnancy pounds.

Butt Implants

Butt implants, which are still used today although many plastic surgeons prefer fat to implants, are made of soft, solid silicone. The implants are inserted through an incision in the fold beneath each buttock cheek and placed between the muscle and the bone.  

Solid elastomeric implants, which cannot leak, can be positioned in the gluteus area in these ways:

  • Submuscular – under muscles
  • Intramuscular – inside muscles
  • Subfascial – over muscles

The size of the implants will depend on your body shape and desired fullness.

Using solid silicone implants can add significant dimension and contour to your backside. Unlike breast implants, which are soft to the touch, buttocks implants are firm.

Another upside to implants is that they can smooth out the skin. “They can fill the void of lax skin and reduce cellulite by stretching out the skin,” explains Orlando, FL, plastic surgeon Armando Soto, MD. 

While the butt procedure results are permanent, the recovery can be difficult. 

Butt Enhancement Lipo

One of the most effective and gratifying ways to re-sculpt your rear is through liposuction. During the procedure, which is performed under anesthesia, a small incision is made in the crease of the butt that will be barely visible once you’re healed. Using a cannula, fat is suctioned out of the butt. Another technique commonly used when liposuction is performed on the buttocks is ultrasound-assisted liposuction.

“Liposuction is effective for treating localized pockets of excess fat and for people with healthy, elastic skin,” says, Savannah, GA, plastic surgeon Richard Greco, MD.  Inelastic or sagging skin will not conform well to new contours after surgery, and a saggy, rippled appearance may result.

Even if you exercise like mad, it can be difficult to lose fat stored in the buttocks. Liposuction of the buttocks involves sculpting the buttocks themselves, and may involve treating surrounding areas like the outer thighs and lower back to create a more streamlined shape.

Butt Contouring

Women who desire a fuller buttocks and have excess fat in areas such as the stomach, hips or thighs are good candidates for butt contouring via fat transfer and injections. “If you want a more shapely backside and you have enough fat to harvest and place in the butt, this is one procedure that can produce super dramatic results,” says Orlando, FL, plastic surgeon Dr. Armando Soto.

In order to contour the buttocks, there are two approaches surgeons can take:

  • A butt lift - For patients lacking considerable excess skin, an incision is made in the small of the back. According to Chicago plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD, “This is called the superior approach, and it works like pulling up a pair of pants.”
  • Fat removal with fat repositioning - In terms of aesthetic ideals, your preferred buttocks can’t be achieved by fat removal alone; in the majority of patients, repositioning fat is necessary. “Fat is your friend,” says Coconut Grove, FL, plastic surgeon Constantino Mendieta, MD, who has seen reshaping buttocks through fat transfer become one of the fastest-growing areas of cosmetic medicine in the past five years.

Did you know?

Fat has proved itself a good source for skin perfecting stem cells as it can improve the quality of facial skin. Plastic surgeons now believe body skin can reap the same benefits.

Who it is for

Anyone with saggy butt skin with cellulite or who wants a more voluptuous butt.

Women who gain an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy and are left with extra skin on their lower body.

Butt contouring procedures are generally good for women who have enough fat to harvest for repositioning into more desirable areas. 

Who it is not for

Women who don’t have enough fat to transfer and want extra fullness in the upper portion of the buttocks are not ideal candidates for fat transfer procedures. Also, because of longer downtimes, women who are extremely active are not as well suited to it either.

 “You really need to have enough fat in one area that can be suctioned out and transplanted into the backside. If you don’t have enough fat, an implant can be used, but they, too, have risks and complications that can arise,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon, Dr. Reza Sadrian, who stresses that this is one procedure that has a tough and long recovery period since you can’t sit or lay on your backside for a few months. 

What to Expect

Butt enhancement procedures require more downtime than some people might assume and are not without complications.

If you opt for butt implants, for instance, complications can result from implants that shift or become visible beneath the skin, causing an uneven appearance. “Patients need to know that these implants may not last a lifetime and they will most likely need to be replaced in the future,” La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Reza Sadrian, MD, warns. Also keep in mind that once you get buttocks implants, removing them without replacing them can lead to disfigurement. In addition, infection, bleeding, blood clots and complications related to anesthesia can occur. 

During a Brazilian butt lift, excess skin and fat are removed in order to reshape the target areas and deliver smoother contours. Following the surgery, you’ll be wrapped in a compression garment and probably be advised not to sit down a lot or on each leg, while keeping the glutes squeezed tight, and lay on your butt.

Always consult fully with your doctor before undergoing surgery like butt implants to understand the risks, special considerations, costs and recovery issues.

Post-Treatment Care

Following most butt enhancement procedures you will be dressed in a compression garment or wrapped in elastic bandages to help the skin conform to the new body contours and reduce swelling. Thin, flexible tubes may be placed in your incisions to drain any excess fluid after surgery. Walking as soon as possible after surgery is a must to keep blood circulating and to prevent blood clots. Your plastic surgeon may provide you with crutches or a walker after surgery because standing fully upright will be difficult for a few days and bearing all your weight on your lower body can be very stressful. Within a few days you'll be able to shower, probably with some assistance. And if you have been wearing a compression garment, limit the time that garment is removed to no more than 10 minutes, or swelling can increase sharply. 

 “After surgery, you’ll wear a compression garment or have drains to prevent fluid formation,” says Savannah, GA, plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard Greco. A buttock lift is commonly part of a lower bodylift that may include the abdomen and thighs, too. But when performed alone, recovery from a buttock lift, according to Dr. Richard Greco, is not as difficult as you might expect. “At two weeks you’ll be 25 percent back to normal fitness and activity; at four weeks, 50 percent. And by six weeks you should be fully recovered.”

Inside Tips

  • In order for a good outcome, it’s imperative that any transplanted fat be placed near the muscle so that there is good blood support. 
  • Fat makes for a more natural-looking end result since it’s softer and more compatible with the body.
  • Fat that successfully remains one year after surgery should remain permanently if a stable weight is maintained.