What is a Brazilian Butt Lift?

When you think of a breast lift, you think of needing to cut out extra skin to lift up the breast to a perkier, more youthful shape. Is a butt lift similar? Do you need to cut out skin and leave scars across your nether region?

Except for a very few massive weight loss patients, a butt lift does not involve any cutting out of skin at all. Rather, a butt lift is really a matter gluteal reshaping.  What has become to be known as a Brazilian Butt Lift begins with aggressive liposuction of the waistline and lower back. Really emphasizing the profile of the waist is crucial. Then the fat removed from those areas is strategically injected into the hips and buttock to carefully shape the area according to proven metrics of a beautiful buttox. Add fat? Really? Women often assume the best aesthetic outcome is to remove more and more fat—thinner is better, right? But when it comes to reshaping the buttock, often the most important tool is the perfect placement of additional fat to fill divots, smooth outlines, and create the right shape.

Why Brazilian? While gluteal reshaping has been around for a long time, this technique has been deeply studied and revolutionized by Dr. Constantino Mendieta whose family was originally from Nicaragua. But no one can dispute that Brazil is the land of string bikini clad beaches. Over the last 15 years Dr. Mendieta has put tremendous research into studying what is considered the ideal attractive buttocks shape. He found that when analyzing the frame shape of patients there are basically four types—A shape, V shape, square, and round. As with all areas of the human body, there is often asymmetry between the two sides of the buttocks. One side may have a square shape while the other side has a V shape.  The point of gluteal shaping isn’t to just add volume; it is to reshape the volume to create a more symmetrical, pretty backside.

What is the ideal butt shape? 40% of the population has a square shaped buttock, and the square shape is the most complained about shape. The most sought after shape is the A and occurs naturally in about 30% in the population.  Think of the capital letter A. Narrowing the waist with an A-line profile.  The round shape is the second most requested shape. With a round shape each outer contour of the buttocks form the letter C. The V shape is considered the least attractive and is the hardest to change. Having a V shape may require more than one procedure to get adequate aesthetic results.

While there are several different aesthetic units Dr. Petersen evaluates in gluteal reshaping, such as crease length, mussel placement, sacral dimples, and lower crease angle, for the patient it is easiest to think about the basic frame shape of the buttocks. To achieve an A shape Dr. Petersen starts with aggressive liposuction of the waist and lower back. Narrowing the waist above the gluteal plane can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of the buttock even before anything is done there.  Then a lot of the fat removed above the buttocks can be strategically placed in the gluteal area depending on the individualized needs of each patients’ anatomy. Goals would include adding volume, filling in dimples, and filling in contour deficits.

What to Expect in Recovery

Pressure on the newly grafted fat will cause the fat to die. For this reason no true “sitting” is allowed for 8 weeks! After surgery you will be put in a specially designed compression garment that will keep compression on the areas of liposuction but will not put pressure on the fat grafting areas. This compression garment will need to be worn for 6 weeks to help with swelling and contour healing.

Going home you may lay on your stomach or your side and only these positions are acceptable for the first ten days. Depending on the need to correct deficiency in the hip areas, Dr. Petersen my not recommend laying on your side either. The only exception to the sitting rule would be using the toilet. After ten days you may prop the thighs up with pillows so as you sit the pressure is placed on the thighs while the buttocks is held suspended. Using this technique you should be able to drive and return to work.  But no true sitting is allowed for 8 weeks.

Because you will have also had liposuction, you will experience some drainage at the insertion sites. This drainage is most pronounced in the first 2 days after surgery. You will want to use disposable sheets to protect furniture and be prepared to mop up any leakage. Bandages can be placed over the insertion sites to help mop up leaks and will need to be changed frequently.

You will also experience some bruising. This is normal and for some patients more extensive than for others.  Massage of the liposuction areas is important during the healing process to maintain smooth results. Since you will bruise, you can be gentle at first but more aggressive as healing continues. A foam roller or even a rolling pin are good tools, especially when liposuction is done on the legs.

Depending on the length of your procedure, you may be sent home with leg pumps to safeguard against developing blood clots in the legs. These should be worn anytime you are not up walking for the first few days to one week. Although you will be sore, it is important that your get up and walk every hour or so.

Gluteal Shaping can be an extensive recovery, but the results are so worth the effort. By protecting the injected fat in those early days after surgery you will maintain your results savor your success.  This is quickly becoming one of the most popular cosmetic procedures and it is easy to see why. Fat transfer can do amazing things for your body, and that in turn makes you feel amazing too!