Background: Two of the most popular body contouring procedures today is one from the past and a relatively new one. Tummy tuck surgery has been around for over five decades and is highly successful at reshaping the abdominal wall often in a dramatic fashion. Conversely, buttock augmentation by fat injections (aka Brazilian Butt Lift) has been available now for only a decade and is the fastest growing body contouring procedure in total number done being done compared to just five years ago.
While a tummy tuck works by removing and discarding unwanted tissues, a Brazilian Butt Lift works by recycling/redistributing them. Fat removal by liposuction is part of many tummy tucks to help extend its contouring effects around the waistline and is an additive ‘bonus’ to the procedure. Conversely, fat harvest by liposuction is an essential part of a Brazilian Butt Lift and the more fat that can be harvested the better the buttock augmentation result will be.
It is not uncommon that the desire for abdominal reshaping and buttock augmentation exist in the same patient. The first question is whether a tummy tuck and buttock augmentation can be safely done at the same time. Depending upon the magnitude of the liposuction harvest and the extent of the tummy tuck, the answer would be yes if neither one was particularly extensive.
The other question is whether any part of the excised portion of the tummy tuck can be used for the buttock augmentation. This is a debate between aggressively harvesting fat from under the tummy tuck prior to its excision or using the tummy tuck discard as a dermal-fat graft ‘autoimplant’ in the buttocks. The vast majority of plastic surgeons today would use liposuction to harvest fat at the same time as the tummy tuck. There are growing numbers of reports in which the tummy tuck segment is being recycled and used like a buttock implant.
Case Study: This 30 year-old female wanted to have a tummy tuck to reshape her abdominal waistline as well as a buttock augmentation at the same time. It was agreed that she did not really have an optimal amount of fat to harvest to achieve a substantially larger buttocks. But she wanted to take any fat that could be harvested and place it into the buttocks as a ‘bonus’ to the procedure.
Under general anesthesia, liposuction was initally done very aggressively under the tummy tuck portion which was to be removed. Liposuction was also done around the waistline and into the flank areas to harvest as much fat as possible. The tummy tuck procedure was then completed. The harvested fat was processed and concentrated, obtaining a total volume of 480cc. Each buttock was injected with 240cc in a cross tunneling fashion.
Her recovery was typical for a tummy tuck and the buttock augmentation do not prolong it. At three months afterwards, she showed marked improvement in her abdominal contour and mild enhancement of her buttock size. While the increase in her buttock size was not substantial (nor was it expected), its effect was greater due to reshaping of the waistline above both buttocks.
Some buttock augmentation procedures are done as a ‘bonus’ to other body contouring efforts. While the amount of fat that is often obtained by liposuction may be inadequate to justify a ‘stand alone’ Brazilian Butt Lift, some patients may want the fat used for the buttocks with the attitude that it can not hurt and anything they get is more than they currently have.
1) Combining a tummy tuck with a Brazilian Butt Lift is not uncommon and can safely be performed together.
2) The planned excisional portion of the tummy tuck can be aggressively liposuctioned as part of the donor fat for the Brazilian Butt Lift.
3) Like all Brazilian Butt Lifts, the result is a combination of how much fat can be harvested and how much fat survives.
Dr. Barry Eppley