*Individual results may vary
What is a Fat Transfer?
Fat transfer, also known as autologous (meaning from the patient’s own body) fat grafting is a procedure where fat is removed from one part of the body and placed into another. The fat may be fat that would otherwise be discarded as a byproduct of liposuction to reduce the fat in one area of the body, or it may be fat that is harvested specifically for the purpose of transferring into another body area. It is really irrelevant why the fat was removed.
What areas of the body can fat be transferred to?
The fat can be placed into many different areas of the body, most commonly the buttocks, hips, and face.
Who is a candidate for Fat Grafting?
Buttock augmentation can enhance the natural curves for patients who are unhappy with the shape of their buttocks and hips. It can also add volume and roundness to a flat or small buttock for patients seeking a more balanced body profile. Body-builders may seek buttock augmentation if they are unable to develop gluteal muscles in proportion with the rest of their bodies. Generally, if you are looking for a fuller, curvier butt, buttock augmentation may be for you.
Fat Transfer To The Buttocks and Hips
Fat transfer to the buttocks and hips is performed for two reasons: to increase the size of the buttocks and hips, and to improve the contour of this area. In my experience, approximately 2/3 of the fat that I place is for improving contour, the remaining 1/3 is for increasing size. In males, I do not generally transfer fat to the hips because a little “indentation” there is considered masculine, but this same contour will not look good on a woman. For females who present to me for buttock enhancement, the most common shape of the buttocks that I see is rectangular, but A-frame and inverted-V are also seen. The goal is to produce a rounder or oval shape. Another goal of surgery is to better separate the buttocks and hips from the lower back, flank and thighs. For an example of what I am referring to, see below:
How is a Fat Grafting procedure performed?
During the fat transplantation procedure, fat is harvested from the donor area by inserting a cannula and suctioning out the fat, similar to liposuction. The most popular areas for liposuction before buttock augmentation are the lower back, waist, flanks (love handles), thighs, and stomach. The harvested fat is then purified so that only the fat cells are grafted. Once the fat is ready to be placed, it is injected into the targeted area through a cannula until the desired appearance is achieved* This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis in your doctor’s office or a surgical facility. Because of the different aspects involved, treatment time can vary significantly depending on each patient’s individual procedure.
After the fat is harvested, the excess fluid is allowed to separate from the fat, leaving a more purified collection of fat. As the fat comes from the patient’s own body, allergic reactions and rejection cannot occur. Although some of the fat may be absorbed by the body, the remaining fat is living tissue and will remain in the area*. The fat transfer procedure will work with any skin type. The degree of survival of the fat depends upon where the fat is being transferred to. The better the circulation to a given recipient site, the better chance the fat has to survive, or in other words, the greater percentage of the transferred fat will remain. Muscle has the best blood supply of all tissues, so injections of fat into muscle have the greatest survival. (ie buttocks). The skin has less of a blood supply and scar tissue the least. This is why there is a lower percentage of fat survival when injected into the face.
Dr. Epstein Discusses Brazilian Butt Lift
As I see it, a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is an extension of a fat transfer to the buttocks and hips. Normally, when I approach the buttocks and hips as part of a more global rejuvenation of the trunk, such as when performing liposuction of the abdomen, flanks, back, arms, thighs (sometimes with an abdominoplasty “Tummy tuck” as well), I add fat to the hips and buttocks to round it out and add some volume where I believe it will be needed to achieve the most optimal aesthetic results.
In some cases, the patient desires a much larger buttock than what is usually done. This is called a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). In this case, the basic surgical principle is the same, except that a much larger quantity of fat is transferred to the buttocks. There is no set amount as to how much fat you need to use; this can be addressed at the time of consultation.
The video below discusses Brazilian Butt Lift:
Buttock Augmentation Recovery
After buttock augmentation with fat transfer, patients should avoid sitting directly on the buttocks or lying on their backs for two to three weeks to maximize results. During this time, patients may wear compression garments to reduce swelling. There will be some swelling and mild to moderate discomfort after the procedure. This depends upon where the fat is placed and how much is transferred there. Most patients return to work two weeks after their buttock augmentation and are able to resume all normal activities within four weeks*.
How long after a Buttock Augmentation with Fat Transfer will I see my results?
Swelling typically starts to resolve after a few weeks and by four to six months, the final results should be evident.
Butt Augmentation with Fat Transfer Results
You can see the results of several different fat transfer procedures in our photo gallery. When performed by an experienced surgeon using the proper techniques, buttock augmentation is a highly satisfying procedure that enhances the profile of the buttocks and surrounding areas for a younger, firmer, curvier look.
What are the risks of a Fat Transplant?
While fat transplantation is safe for most patients, there are certain risks with any type of procedure. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, the incidence of these risks is quite low. One very important safety concern is that when transferring fat to the buttocks, it is absolutely essential to inject the fat only into the subcutaneous fat layer under the skin. Injection into buttock muscle can result in fat emboli (fat travelling into blood vessels to the heart and lungs) which can be life-threatening. There are very simple technical aspects to follow to avoid this from happening. Any surgeon experienced with fat transfer to the buttocks should be familiar with this.
Some of the risks associated with fat transfer to the buttocks may include the following. Most of these risks are quite unusual with the exception of under-correction which is easily addressed at a second procedure if more fat is needed to be transferred:
- 98% achieve a 24 hour recovery. These patients are able to return to most normal activities (except strenuous exercise) 24 hours after surgery. *
- 97% require no narcotic pain medicine after surgery. *
- 100% raise their arms over their heads before they leave our facility after surgery. **
These risks can be minimized by choosing an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, and following his/her instructions after surgery.