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BBL Overview: Real Talk from an Expert About What to Expect and Myths to Ignore

By: Austin-Weston


The Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries today. Several factors contribute to the rise in popularity of this procedure including celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner becoming more vocal about their own BBLs and shifting women’s preferences about beauty. As with any plastic surgery, we encourage all patients to do their own research so they can make an informed choice.

We sat down with one of our plastic surgeons to discuss what’s involved in this procedure and what’s most important for patients to know when it comes to getting a Brazilian Butt Lift. Here’s what we learned.

What’s involved in a typical BBL surgery?

In the simplest terms, a Brazilian Butt Lift involves a surgeon utilizing a patient’s own fat to make the buttocks bigger. Contrast this with, for example, using implants or other types of injectable fillers to enhance the buttocks. Your surgeon will first use liposuction to gather fat from a variety of areas such as the waist or hips, then he will inject the fat into your buttock area to get the desired results.

During your pre-surgical consultation, you and your surgeon will decide together which areas you want reduced and which you want enhanced. Your doctor will make recommendations based on your preferences as well as his years of experience. The goal is always to create the best body contour possible using both fat removal and fat transfer sites.

Day of Surgery:

On your surgery day, you’ll come into the Austin-Weston surgical facility and go over everything one more time. The surgeon will then mark the areas where fat will be removed and areas where fat will be added.

  • Once you’re prepped for surgery, a skilled anesthesia provider will administer the right amount of anesthesia calculated according to your medical history and personal factors like age and weight.
  • After you’re sleeping soundly, we add fluids for numbing.
  • Fat is then gathered using the most sterile technique available.
  • Next, we drain the fluids from the removed fat and transfer it to a syringe.
  • Finally, we inject the fat into your buttocks in multiple, even layers ensuring the most natural results.


Following your surgery, you will wear special garments for several weeks to protect the shape of both the liposuction areas and the buttocks. These surgical-grade compression garments keep the swelling down and allow the buttocks to heal with the proper shape.

Because uneven pressure is a fat killer, we encourage patients to avoid sitting too much while they are in the healing process. Usually, patients easily comply with this request because discomfort at the surgical site makes it difficult to sit on the area without special pillows. Additionally, while many patients return to work fairly soon after surgery, vigorous exercise will be difficult for a few weeks.

Who is a good candidate for BBL?

This question is more easily answered for the Brazilian Butt Lift than for other types of procedures, like a Tummy Tuck, for instance. As cosmetic surgery goes, BBL is minimally invasive. Since there is usually no skin removal required, BBL procedures often take less time, require less anesthesia, result in less scarring, and typically involve shorter recovery periods than other surgeries.

There are two questions we ask about BBL candidates:

  • Do they have enough fat on their bodies to harvest and graft back to give them the desired buttock size?
  • Is the skin on the buttocks loose enough to accept that fat and expand to the desired size?

It is necessary that patients both have enough good quality fat in liposuction areas and have enough elasticity of the skin on the target area to give them the results they’re seeking.

This is particularly important with BBL because we know that only a certain percentage of transferred fat will survive in the new area. Although we can’t make guarantees, we expect that 50-60% of the transferred fat will survive. That being said, we do everything we can to preserve the fat we remove.

Should I gain weight before getting BBL?

While you may have heard of people intentionally gaining weight so that they have more available fat to transfer to their buttocks, we don’t typically recommend this.

If you gain weight prior to your Brazilian Butt Lift, you will need to maintain that weight gain post-surgery if you want to keep your results. Why? When we lose weight, we don’t lose fat cells in one particular area. Instead, our fat cells all over our bodies actually shrink.

Example: So suppose you weigh 125lbs now and gain 15lbs getting up to 140 before surgery. If you get back down to125 after your BBL, fat cells all over your body, including in your buttocks, will shrink and your beautiful round buttocks will lose volume.

Risks and Complications

Besides needing to gain weight prior to BBL, there is another popular myth floating around social media mainly because of rapper Cardi B talking about her leaky butt injections. The myth is that BBL is unsafe.

Well, here’s everything you need to know about the Cardi B situation:

  • Cardi B was likely injected with synthetic material like silicone or hydrogel to increase the size of her buttocks.
  • Neither material is approved by the FDA for butt augmentation because they can cause infections and other complications.
  • No plastic surgeon would ever inject this type of material into a human body and Cardi has admitted that she got them done for $800 in a basement in Queens (the real cost of BBL ranges from $6,000-$16,000).

What happened to Cardi has nothing to do with what happens in the hands of a skilled, certified, and experienced surgeon. Still, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved with fat transfer including a Brazilian Butt Lift. It can be dangerous, but again, risks increase when doctors don’t take significant precautions. For example, some doctors become overzealous about adding fat or add fat into the wrong place on the body.

For this reason, our surgeons follow a very strict protocol. We never push the operation beyond what’s safe for our patients and we manage patient expectations as necessary. We take every possible precaution. In fact, patient safety is our biggest reason for recommending fat transfer rather that buttock implants. Implants can be extremely disruptive to the body and often lead to fluid build-up or infection. BBL is an excellent alternative!

If you’re a candidate for a Brazilian Butt Lift living in the Northern Virginia or Washington DC area, our staff would be happy to talk with you about your needs. Even as experienced as our doctors are, they’re never too busy to talk with patients.

Do you want to explore your options? Fill out this online form or call our office at (703) 893-6168 to schedule your free consultation today.


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