When to Choose a Brazilian Butt Lift Surgery Over a Traditional One

Despite their similar names, the traditional butt lift surgery and the new Brazilian butt lift both address different body aesthetic concerns.

When it comes to helping your patient choose the right plastic surgery procedure to achieve their goals, it’s important to explain the differences between the various procedures. We in the plastic surgery field often coin clever names for new procedures; however, even though a certain treatment sounds like it may help a specific body area, it may not address a patient’s specific cosmetic surgery goals.

One of the most common examples of this is comparing a traditional butt lift surgery to the new Brazilian butt lift. At first glance, a person who’s not in the plastic surgery field might think that they appear to be very similar procedures, as both are designed to address a sagging, drooping backside, right? Wrong. These procedures are actually quite different, and despite their similar names, they both target different body aesthetic concerns.

Traditional Butt Lift

A traditional butt lift procedure restores and smoothes a patient’s thighs and buttocks by removing excess skin and tightening these target areas. This procedure leaves the patient with more slender thighs with a youthful appearance, as well as a tighter backside.

An important fact that I often impress upon my patients is that a butt lift procedure does not enhance the area by adding volume; instead, it is a restorative procedure. A traditional butt lift is typically needed as a patient ages and the skin loses its elasticity, or if a patient has undergone a significant weight loss and has a good amount of excess, sagging skin.

Brazilian Butt Lift

Contrary to the name, a Brazilian butt lift procedure is actually a buttock augmentation. Much like a breast augmentation, a Brazilian butt lift adds increased volume and shape to the backside.

Brazilian butt lift procedures use fat transferred from another area of the body to achieve the desired volume. This fat is purified and treated before being injected into the patient’s backside, giving them a shapelier derriere. The fat for the transfer is gently liposuctioned from a patient’s more fatty areas, such as the stomach, hips, lower back, or even thighs. I emphasize the word “gently” when liposuctioning out these fat cells, because we want to preserve them for future redistribution during the Brazilian butt lift procedure.

Benefits of the Brazilian butt lift include less risk of infection or rejection, since it’s the patient’s own tissue being reinjected. The procedure also offers a minimal to moderate recovery time and an outcome that appears and feels very natural.

Butt augmentation can also include the use of silicone implants to achieve the desired fullness. However, these implants are known to slide or move as the patient moves, and the outcome may not always look and feel as natural as the Brazilian butt lift. In some cases, the body may create a seroma, or fluid around the implants. This fluid requires drain tubes, but if no tubes were placed, then the fluid would need to be drained via needles. Since the implant is a foreign object being introduced into the body, there is always the risk of infection with silicone butt implants.

These two very different procedures have two very different outcomes. Although a patient may state that he or she sees added lift after undergoing a Brazilian butt lift, it is only from the introduction of fat into the backside. If excess and sagging skin is the patient’s main concern, then a traditional butt lift is the way to go. In cases where patients require a lift with added volume, these two procedures can certainly be performed simultaneously with very positive results.

Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS, is Chief of the combined Divisions of Plastic Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. For more information about Dr. Grant or to contact him, visit his website at www.robertgrantmd.com.