Both weight loss and aging can cause sagging and drooping skin near the buttocks, and sometimes genetics play a role in how fat congregates on the body. While diet, exercise, and weight training can go a long way toward improving your appearance, it is not uncommon to hit plateaus. If you feel you have done all you can for your lower body through natural means, a buttock lift may be for you.
A buttock lift is a common plastic surgery procedure in which a surgeon removes excess skin and fat and then contours the area to create a more toned appearance. A buttock lift does not involve the use of implants, and therefore has a shorter recovery time than similar procedures.
If you are considering a buttock lift, below we’ll go over the basics of what to expect.
A buttock lift is often done to enhance curves, add volume, reduce unwanted fat pockets, or as part of another procedure like tummy tuck or liposuction. While most healthy adults can safely undergo a buttock lift, there are a few important factors that may disqualify you.
Ideally, this procedure is for people at or near their ideal weight. If you still have a significant amount of weight to lose, you may not be a good candidate for the procedure. Those with certain chronic health conditions – such as heart disease or diabetes – may be advised against a buttocks lift. Smokers may be asked to quit before undergoing the procedure.
Prior to undergoing a buttock lift, you will have a consultation with a plastic surgeon. This is to ensure the procedure is right for you considering your goals and expectations. You will also likely be asked to undergo a medical evaluation that will include a routine physical and bloodwork.
A buttock lift is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. You will need someone to drive you home after a buttock lift.
There are several variation on a buttock lift. The three basic ones done by our practice are the posterior side of the lower body lift, the thong style lift, and the gluteal fold lift. The lower body lift buttock lift incorporates an incision along the lower back that stretches from hip to hip. The excess skin is removed and the buttock is literally pulled up like a pair of pants. The thong style lift incorporates a shorter incision over the sacrum (tailbone) that extends down the gluteal crease (where your thong sits). This technique is better for sagging in the medial buttock associated with aging and mild weight-loss. The third technique (gluteal fold lift) entails inions in the crease under the buttock and removal of skin in the buttock and posterior thigh area. Each technique has its applications, advantages, and disadvantages.
A lot of people have heard the term “Brazilian butt lift.” This is a specific type of procedure that differs considerably from a traditional buttock lift. It is actually a form of fat grafting.
A Brazilian butt lift is often used as an alternative to butt implants for those who want to add volume without the use of foreign body implants. During a Brazilian butt lift, your surgeon will remove unwanted fat from another part of the body, such as the arms, thighs, or stomach via liposuction. Then, that fat is purified and injected into the buttocks.
While a Brazilian butt lift differs from a traditional butt lift, the recovery time and risks it entails are very similar. Recent articles have shown that placing the grafted fat into the buttock muscles can be dangerous, therefore all butt lifts done today are done by only grafting fat into the space between the muscle and the skin.
Directly after the procedure, you will have surgical dressing and possibly surgical drains in place for about a week. Before you leave the surgery center, the nursing staff should give you instructions on caring for any bandages or drains. You may also have to wear a compression garment for a few weeks.
Mild pain and swelling is common after a buttock lift and can be managed with over-the-counter medication. You will also have to take prescription antibiotics to prevent infection. Make sure you take all medication as prescribed by your doctor.
For the first few weeks, you will need to take precautions when moving and avoid sitting in positions that may chafe your incision line. Full recovery usually takes between six to eight weeks, but times vary. You will have follow-up procedures throughout your recovery and your surgeon will give you guidelines for when certain activities will be safe again.
Risks associated with a buttock lift are usually mild and can be treated with prompt medical intervention.
Fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma) sometimes occurs after a buttock lift, which can usually be prevented with surgical drains. Sometimes, your doctor may need to remove fluid via a needle and syringe.
Infections or poor wound healing may be treatable with antibiotics. While scars that occur after a buttocks lift are usually placed in discreet areas, if you are unhappy with scarring, ask your surgeon about noninvasive skin treatments, which can often help reduce or minimize scars.
The best way to reduce your risk for complications is to work with a reputable surgeon and follow all aftercare instructions closely.
A buttock lift can help you overcome plateaus associated diet and exercise and address issues like drooping or sagging skin. If you want to add volume without implants, a Brazilian butt lift is a viable option. The end result of either procedure can help you achieve your aesthetic goals and boost your self-esteem and self-image.
Ready to get started? Leif Rogers is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you’re considering a buttock lift, get in touch with his team to schedule a consultation.