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Everyone’s Newest Obsession: Butt Lifts

Blame it on Kim Kardashian’s continuing pop culture dominance, or Jennifer Lopez’s resurgent American Idol exposure.

Either way, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) announced that almost 10,000 buttock augmentations were performed in the US in 2013—a 16 percent increase from 2012. (Overall, 15 million procedures were performed during this period.)

But what particular procedure had women and men flocking to plastic surgery clinics? The answer has a Latin vibe to it.

Introducing…Brazilian Butt Lift
One of the most sought-after procedures was “buttock augmentation with fat grafting,” more commonly known as a Brazilian butt lift. ASPS’ stats show that the number of Brazilian butt lifts rose to a whopping 58 percent last year.

In this procedure, the surgeon does liposuction on fat-laden areas such as the thighs, flanks, and tummy. The fat is then injected, by way of micro-cannulas, into the derriere, where they would regain blood supply and assimilate in the new environment.

Many cosmetic surgeons advocate fat as grafting material because of its suppleness. Synthetic implants are less easy to manipulate, in comparison.

Patients like Brazilian butt lifts because they seem ‘natural,’ insofar as the augmenting material comes from their own bodies, not some Chinese factory. Also, fat grafting gives patients the one-two punch of losing weight in places they don’t want them to be.

After the liposuction, the surgeon either injects the fat into the gluteus muscle, a less profound layer of the buttock, or both. The volume of injection usually maxes out at 500 cc for each buttock, although the patient can negotiate for more.

Downtime is estimated to be at least a week. During this time, the patient is advised not to sit or sleep on their backs. Otherwise, restrictions are minimal, and routine activities may resume in several days. However, swelling and bruising should be expected for some weeks. Also, the patient needs to keep in touch with the surgeon for three months to optimize results.

Horror stories
Many inexperienced, unprincipled individuals are cashing in on the craze by offering bogus butt lifts. In 2011, a quack surgeon injected a woman’s posterior with cement and superglue, among other items easily bought from the local home depot.

To avoid these scams, patients must ensure that they are consulting with board-certified surgeons. The ASPS lists down a complete list of board-certified surgeons in the US. Down Under, its counterpart is the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Difference with traditional butt lift
Conventionally, a butt lift does the opposite of a Brazilian butt lift. Also called Gluteoplasty, a traditional butt lift involves the drawing out of—as opposed to injecting—fat, usually through incisions under the buttock area. As a result, the area achieves a rejuvenated contour.

Patients who have shed weight are typical customers of Gluteoplasty. Weight loss may leave a person with sagging, stretched skin on the buttocks and upper thighs. Gluteoplasty can tighten these areas by not only taking out the fat but also cutting the superfluous skin away.

However, Gluteoplasty is not a dedicated form of liposuction. For long-term results, patients are advised to attain a stable weight before undergoing the procedure.

Like a Brazilian butt lift, Gluteoplasty dissuades patients from sitting down for at least a week. The incisions must also be protected from trauma. Vigorous exercise is not encouraged for at least four weeks. Such post-operative care is necessary to prevent complications as unsightly scars, hematoma, necrosis, deep vein thrombosis, and edema.

Whatever procedure you decide to perform on your posterior, you need to entrust yourself to the professionals, at least those who know how to carry out fat grafting. Otherwise, you’d be literally the butt of jokes.

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