The Brazilian Butt Lift is a confusing term for those interested in buttock reshaping. The misleading part of its name is that of the lift. It is absolutely logical to assume that the buttocks are actually moved upward by some type of tissue lifting or relocation. This would usually mean that skin and fat is removed and tightened like that of a tummy tuck or a breast lift. But that is not the case.
The qualifying term is the Brazilian word that precedes butt lift. Understanding the significance of this country descriptor goes a long way towards appreciating the ethnic importance of larger buttocks and what is actually done during this cosmetic procedure.
The buttocks has long been associated as an important sexual feature of a woman. The buttocks are anatomically formed by the gluteal muscles of the hips and upper leg. The overlying skin and fat help make its overall shape but the size of the muscle plays the key role. This muscular feature has been given many cultural interpretations but it is largely aligned with the organs of reproduction. Thus when cosmetic surgery is performed on them, it is to increase their sexual attractiveness.
The buttock lift as we know it today comes out of Brazilian plastic surgery. The Brazilians downplay breast size but emphasize buttock size and shape…the exact opposite of American or Northern hemisphere emphasis. This is the Brazilian view of the body. Given the large number of cosmetic surgeons in that country, Brazil has become an international center for cosmetic surgery and their techniques have subsequently been promoted all over the world.
Firming and tightening the buttocks has been around for over fifty years. But the historic approach of cutting out skin and fat, which leaves noticeable scars, never caught widespread popularity. Increasing the size of the buttocks, by volumetric addition, creates both increased fullness and a bit of a ‘lift’. The Brazilians have promoted the use of silicone implants for buttock enlargement for years and have refined that technique to an art form.
But the use of buttock implants is not complication-free and it has its set of problems…like any implant-related procedure does. The use of fat from liposuction has been developed as an alternative to an implant for buttock enhancement. As a natural alternative to a synthetic implant, fat injections into the buttocks offer a dual benefit. The donor fat removed makes for contour improvement in the harvest site, which is usually around the waistline and stomach. It is essentially a redistribution of a problem into a benefit.
The Brazilian butt lift is, therefore, buttock enlargement by fat injections. The lift part comes as the buttocks is filled out and it gets a lift by skin expansion. The downside to using fat is that it is not always predictable and all of the fat injected will not survive. For some patients it may be necessary to do a second fat injection session.
Excisional buttocks lifts still do exist but they are reserved for two specific buttock problems. When the lower buttock skin hangs over the lower crease, known as the banana peel deformity, the overhanging skin can be removed and a new tighter lower crease made. (lower or inferior buttock lift) An upper buttock lift is done as part of a circumferential body lift for those patients who have under gone extreme weight loss, usually from bariatric surgery.
Dr. Barry Eppley