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Body Lift - Buttock Lift


                                   Buttock Lift

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Aging, pregnancy, and significant changes in weight, as well as genetic factors, may contribute to poor tissue elasticity and can result in the sagging of the buttocks.  A buttock lift reduces excess fat and skin resulting in smoother skin and contours.  A buttock can appear too low, flat or even be unshapely. A buttock lift can improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin. 

A buttock lift can also improve cellulite which can give skin a dimpled irregular appearance, as well as skin striae or stretch marks.  Both of these conditions will not disappear but are usually dramatically diminished.


A Buttock Lift is also known as:


The procedure can be performed alone or in combination with other surgeries such as a thigh lift and abdominoplasty. The combination of these three operations is often called a body lift.  The whole procedure improves the contour of the buttock and makes it look perkier.  For the patients who have had the undertaking of having a lower body lift, a buttock lift can be the final stage. 


Other body contouring procedures are done at the same time with a buttock lift:




A buttock lift is the only body contouring procedure that can restore the following:

  • body or buttock shape

  • buttock size

  • skin appearance

  • skin tone


The buttock area is made of muscle, fat, skin and its underlying support of bone. The shape and contour of the buttock area depends on the individual stature or frame.  The volume and definition comes from fat, and it is how the fat is dispersed that will make the difference between an attractive buttock and one that is not.


Quality of Skin


The quality of a patient's skin will determine whether a buttock lift, or liposuction with or without implants is needed.


Good skin quality:

  • no stretch marks

  • no droopy or excess skin

  • no cellulite

  • no skin irregularities

  • no looseness to the skin

If a patient exhibits good skin quality and tone but poor distribution of fat, liposuction alone can sometimes be done alone. An actual buttock augmentation could also improve the end result, with either fat or with implants.


If volume is the concern, then an gluteal implant would help - if the concern is shape or contour, then fat grafting would yield a good result.


Average skin quality:

  • overall pretty good skin tone

  • very little skin looseness

  • some stretch marks

  • mild irregularities

  • mild cellulite

Patients who have average skin quality and tone and have fat deposits in areas that exercise will not help, sometimes liposuction alone can improve the appearance.  Fat grafting and or buttock implants will be added to the procedure to enhance the final result.  For some patients - the buttock area can be improved without the traditional buttock lift.


If a patient has some droopiness in the lower quadrant of the buttock area, this can be caused by excess fat or skin.  Contouring this area with liposuction is an option, but if the overhang is too severe - then a buttock lift would be necessary.


Poor skin quality:

  • great deal of skin looseness

  • poor skin tone

  • great deal of cellulite

  • skin irregularities

  • stretch marks are usually present

This type of skin is seen in patients that have had a massive amount of weight fluctuation either weight gain or loss. It is also seen in very sun damaged skin, and in the older patient.

Patients who have poor skin quality will exhibit loose and excess skin.  No matter how much liposuction is done or what size implants are placed - the end result will appear like a rock in sock.  It would take a large amount of fat grafting to "fill things up" and create a tight / toned buttocks in a patient with massive weight loss.  With skin excision, your surgeon can reset the tone of all the skin on your buttocks, and can actually conserve volume if you so desire.

The only procedure that will yield good results is a buttock lift.  This is the traditional "buttock lift" in which the skin and tissue are lifted and the excess skin is removed.  Drawbacks of this procedure are excessive scarring at the upper portion of the buttock area and extends to the sides of the abdomen.


                               image of before and after buttock lift

                                              Copyright © 2010 ASAPS - Used with permission

                                             Before and After Image of a Buttock Lift                                                         



The ideal candidate for a buttock lift is a patient who has had stable weight for at least six months or more, and that their weight is proportionate to their height and body frame.  Also, the patient must have excess skin and fat along the buttocks area which is associated with cellulite. 




Buttock lift plastic surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia.  A full buttock lift typically involves small incisions made at the top of the buttocks on the lower back, and sometimes in the hips and groin area. This incision will be hidden by most underwear, bikini swim wear and low rise jeans.

A buttock lift by itself, will not increase buttock volume or fullness. This would require a buttock augmentation with the placement of implants, or fat grafting, as in the Brazilian Butt Lift technique.


There are two different ways to enlarge your buttocks:


The excess sagging skin below the incision is pulled up - lifting the buttocks and the outer thighs.  The extra skin and fat are surgically removed after being detached from the thigh muscles.  Skin is reshaped and pulled up over the muscles. Taking care of the sagging excess tissue might not be enough, so many times a surgeon will suggest fat grafting or possibly gluteal implants to make a perkier and round buttock. 

If fat grafting is suggested, this is known as a Brazilian Butt Lift. Surgery time for a buttock lift can take between two to three hours. If fat grafting is done, the liposuction might take an extra hour or so. 

Most surgeons prefer to augment the buttock using fat injections. However, if a patient is very thin and has no extra fat in the abdominal area or thighs, then gluteal or butt implants is recommended. Fat grafting has some advantages to implants, such as a much lower risk of infection and no risk of capsular contraction occurring.

To close the incision sutures or fibrin tissue glue are used and drains will be inserted to help with any fluid or blood accumulation. A supportive compression garment is worn for at least six weeks to help prevent any fluid accumulation and to also provide support during healing.


                                                      image of female buttocks

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How a Brazilian Butt Lift is performed:

  • Fat grafting or micro-fat grafting is performed with liposuction with special cannulas, extracting fat from selected areas of the body

  • The surgeon collects the excess fat and purifies it with a centrifuge

  • The fat is then re-injected into the upper quadrant buttocks area with the spun down viable fat cells

  • Augmenting the buttocks with fat grafting can involve hundreds of injections of tiny droplets of purified fat

  • Since the fat injections are delivered into the depths of the buttocks area, the fat cells are able to receive adequate blood supply so that they can survive once inside the buttocks tissue

  • This technique has a very high "non-absorption" rate of the fat and is the best way to achieve a permanent result

  • Once the fat cells have been injected and begin to receive blood supply, these fat cells remain for life

  • The buttocks result appears lifted and perky with a very natural shape and feel

Liposuction is used to contour the buttock area to make it appear more prominent. The areas directly above the buttocks, the stomach, thighs and back all benefit from liposuction to make the buttocks more attractive. 


                        surgeon performing a Brazilian Buttock Lift

                                                      Licensed image for


Fat Grafting for the Brazilian Buttock Lift

Unlike a standard buttock lift procedure, which involves skin and muscle tissue at the top of the buttocks being surgically lifted and contoured -  the Brazilian buttock lift relies mainly on the injection of donor body fat into specific points on the patient's derrière.

During fat transfers, the fat is placed deeply in the muscle in several different layers so as to create a smooth augmentation without irregularities. Fat grafting can look very natural as it is the body's own substance and there is no chance of rejection since there is not a foreign implant inside your body.

The drawbacks with fat grafting is that the technique can be unpredictable.  Approximately 30 to 50 percent of the fat will not take during the fat transfer, and will dissipate.  There is a fine line with how much fat should be placed, as the chances of fat survival go down the more that an area is overfilled.  This is caused by the increasing pressure in the tissues. If the pressure gets too high, blood cannot flow and the fat won't survive.  The real deciding factor of how much fat can be safely and successfully placed in any particular patient is determined by the elasticity of the tissues and the pressure that results from the grafting process.

However, the rest of the fat that stays beyond the three month post operative mark can be a permanent result.

The important key to a Brazilian Butt Lift is how the fat cells are harvested, processed and injected. This procedure can be a long lasting result if performed correctly.




Advantages of the Brazilian buttock lift over the standard buttock lift or buttock implant procedures include:

  • Brazilian buttock lifts can be more natural looking with its shape and feel, since the procedure uses the body's own natural donor fat deposits
  • Shorter recovery period, since the procedure is not as invasive as the standard buttock lift or gluteal implants

  • Procedure is normally less expensive than the cost of buttock implants
  • If the fat harvest is prepared correctly, Brazilian buttock lifts can retain most of the injected fat over time. Retention of fat with this procedure is 50 percent.



                                                 image of a female buttocks

                                                      Licensed image for



Women who are naturally thin and have a very low BMI, might not have enough fat to perform a Brazilian Butt lift. The other option is to place a gluteal or silicone buttock implant. The surgeon makes a very small incision in the crack between the buttock cheeks. The implants are placed in the tissue of the buttock area. Important nerves lay in this area such as the sciatic nerve, which needs to be identified so that there will not be any nerve damage done.

The gluteal implants will fill out the upper and outer portion of the buttock area. Implants cannot be used in the lower portion of the buttocks because of the risk of nerve damage. Surgeons will use fat injections to fill out this area. The gluteus maximus muscle is the largest of the muscles that make up the area of the buttock cheek.  It is important to know however, that it does not cover the entire buttock cheek so the implant has to be carefully calculated so it can be camouflaged by the extent of this muscle.

Of all the body implant procedures that are done in cosmetic surgery - the buttock implants have the highest rate of complications. It is important that the patient is aware of the risks and complications that can occur with this procedure


Gluteal Implants come in four different styles:

  • Round gluteal implants are available for intra-muscular or subfascial implantation.

  • Bii-lateral oval implant design provides greater projection.

  • Oval anatomic shaped gluteal implant provides moderate projection.

  • A selection of oval implants are provided in increasing width to height ratios and volumes


A patient's body and buttock structure should be considered before a implant is chosen.  Balance, symmetry, size, shape, and placement are all very important factors to consider before buttock augmentation is done with an implant.  The implant size and shape are limited by the patient's own anatomy.


                                      gluteal buttock implant

                                      Copyright © 2010 Spectrum Design Medical - Used with permission

                                                                      Gluteal / Buttock Implant





The placement of the gluteal implants are either done two ways:

  • Intramuscular Augmentation:  this placement involves creating a pocket within the large gluteus maximus muscle. This procedure generally requires the use of a smaller, round implant due to pocket size limitations.

  • Subfascial Augmentation:  this placement creates a pocket under the fascia, which is the membrane of tissue covering the muscle. This procedure allows a implant of much larger size and shape to be used.

Gluteal or buttock implants are inserted usually under general anesthesia, epidural block or regional or under a local anesthesia with sedation (twilight). The implants are inserted through a vertical incision located at the upper end of the buttock cleft. Using the subfascial or intramuscular placement will be dependent on the size and curve of the implant needed. This procedure takes approximately three hours. Drains are used to help prevent either a hematoma or a seroma from forming. The incisions are closed with sutures and a compression garment is utilized to help with post operative swelling. 



                                              Recovery from a Buttock Lift

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What to expect from a Buttock Lift or Buttock Augmentation

  • Recovering from a buttock lift or gluteal implants surgery can be harder than most other procedures, in as that the patient cannot sit directly on the buttocks for up to three weeks. Most of the recovery time is spent in bed, laying down on the stomach. This is advised to ensure a permanent result.  If the patient has to sit, one should use soft cushions when sitting for prolonged periods.  No matter what position you choose - most surgeons will ask you to avoid putting constant pressure on the treated area. Try to change positions every 30 minutes to make sure you don't put too much stress or weight on any one area.

  • There will be some soreness and discomfort around the surgical areas; however, this is easily controlled with oral medications.  After this procedure, the buttocks will swell to varying degrees and slowly subside as you recover.

  • Loss of sensation or numbness in the area of the surgery can happen. This is normal and will take several months to disappear.

  • Skin in the area of the surgical site might appear "shiny" due to swelling. This will dissipate within a few weeks and the skin will return to a normal appearance.

  • Tingling sensations might occur in the surgical area. This is considered "nerve regeneration" and is a sign that the nerves are healing. This will go away within several months.

  • Most patients normally can return to work within two weeks time. A special compression garment is worn to control the swelling for at least two weeks. 

  • If a patient who has skin that was not firm and elastic can experience some dimpling of the tissue.  This can be minimized by direct massaging the fat injection areas. Daily massage should be done three times a day for a period of six weeks.

  • Cleaning of the incision site is imperative with alcohol, especially after using the restroom.

  • Walking is good after this surgery to help with swelling and edema. At two weeks post operative, exercising the upper body is allowed, but any activities like jogging, etc. should wait until six weeks.

  • All symptoms of the buttock lift or augmentation surgery will disappear within four to six months following the procedure.






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