-by Lauren Andreacchi, Patient Consultant for Dr. William J. Koenig, double board-certified plastic surgeon
In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the popularity of the Brazilian butt lift procedure, otherwise known as BBL or gluteal fat grafting. A BBL takes fat obtained from elsewhere on the body by liposuction and injects it to augment, or increase, the size and shape of the buttocks without implants.
Urgent Warnings Regarding Brazilian Butt Lift Procedure
In 2018, the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) issued an urgent warning regarding the safety of the BBL procedure after a survey indicated that the mortality rate was estimated to be as high as 1 in 3,000 – a rate much higher than any other plastic surgery procedure. The danger in the procedure revolves around the fact that the buttocks contains a multitude of blood vessels, and if injected incorrectly, the fat can travel directly to the heart and lungs and obstruct blood flow.
When this warning was released, we chose to stop offering the procedure at the Quatela Center. Safety is and has always been our first priority, and while we understand that all surgery carries some degree of risk, we will not put our patients at an unnecessary risk for an elective procedure.
Medical Tourism for BBL
Many patients travel to places in Florida such as Miami for Brazilian butt lift surgery since the procedure is very inexpensive there. Patients typically fly home shortly after surgery and often don’t have follow up care with their providers. If they have complications, they are left to find someone locally to care for them, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and can delay the time-sensitive care they need. We feel it’s important to have immediate access to your surgeon as well as comprehensive and frequent follow-up care to ensure a smooth, safe recovery.
Education is Key
We often receive requests about BBL surgery, and it’s important to us to ensure that patients are fully educated on gluteal fat grafting, including the risks associated with this particular procedure. We do continue to monitor new techniques and safety related to this procedure and may eventually offer it down the road, however only if the safety is more comparable to the other surgeries we offer.
In the meantime, we strongly encourage patients to be extremely careful when considering this surgery. The latest press release by the ASPS outlines several positions that patients should be aware of when researching the procedure. These include:
- Training, credentialing, and privileging standards for physicians and offices/hospitals
- The use of ultrasound imaging during the procedure
- Pre- and post-operative care
- Ethical facility operations
If you are considering a Brazilian butt lift, please conduct extensive research from various reputable sources. At the end of the day, your safety is most important.