Butt Lifts, Butt Augmentation & Brazilian Butt Lifts – What are the Differences?

Butt Implants, Butt Lift, Butt AugmentationMany different and inconsistent terms are used to describe the various procedures to improve buttock contour, shape and volume. Terms like “Brazilian Butt Lift,” “butt lift,” “buttock enhancement,” “butt implants,” and “buttock augmentation” are sometimes used in different ways by different people causing confusion. Let’s see if I can help clear up any misunderstandings.

Essentially, there are two different types of procedures that can help achieve desired derrière results, those options being either to add volume to the buttocks (butt augmentation or butt implants) or to lift the buttocks (butt lift surgery).

Butt Augmentation / Enhancement

Buttock augmentation (sometimes called buttock enhancement) is when volume is added to the buttocks either using your own tissue or using an implant. The most common procedure that we use involves removing some of your fat from another area of the body by liposuction, gently preparing the harvested fat, and then injecting the fat into the buttock. This type of “fat grafting” or “fat transfer” procedure makes only tiny scars and has a generally rapid recovery time. And because your own tissue is being used, the results look very natural. The best candidates for fat grafting are those who have other areas where they would like liposuction (a double benefit!), and who have normal skin elasticity.

In some rare cases, individuals with significant loss of volume may benefit from augmentation by a flap technique. Flap techniques require longer incisions as a section of tissue (the flap) is rotated from the area of the love handles into the area of the buttocks. Buttock augmentation with implants, while more common in Brazil, is rare in the United States because of limited options of approved implants.

Butt Lift

A “buttock lift” is often used to describe the fat grafting procedures mentioned above – and indeed adding volume gives an overall impression of a lift – however, technically a “butt lift” involves removing some skin (and usually fat, too) from the area of the love handles. By removing the tissue above the buttock, the skin of the buttock is moved upwards and tightened – hence a lift. While such an excisional lifting procedure does require a much longer scar than a fat grafting procedure, a full lift can improve both the contour and the skin quality of the buttock area, such as minimizing some depressions or pits. The best candidates for an excisional buttock lift are those who have loose skin of the buttock, flank, and lower back area with a droopy buttock. Commonly these procedures are combined with abdominoplasty because individuals with laxity posteriorly will often have laxity in the front as well.

In some cases buttock augmentation and a buttock lift are combined. For example, you might feel that you need additional volume in the butt area, yet the looseness of your skin is such that volume alone may not give the shape you desire. In this situation, fat grafting can be combined with an excisional lift. Another common example of combined procedure occurs in patients who have achieved significant weight loss either from diet and exercise or from a bariatric procedure such as a gastric bypass. In patients with such extensive weight loss, skin laxity and volume loss to the buttock is often extensive, and a surgical lift can be combined with a flap or fat transfer.

While adding volume to the buttocks is an increasingly popular procedure in the United States, some patients feel that their buttocks are too full and out of balance to their figure. While liposuction can be used to decrease buttock fullness, a word of caution is in order; liposuction alone may lead to undesired droopiness of the butt area. But in many cases, the sense of fullness can be improved by reducing the fullness of areas immediately adjacent to the buttocks, in order to bring the buttock into better balance with the surrounding areas.

Brazilian Butt Lift

Finally, I’d like to address the term “Brazilian butt lift”. The term is frequently used in America, but it is neither a well-defined term nor a term that Brazilian plastic surgeons use themselves. Brazilian surgeons deserve credit for developing the art of buttock augmentation, and both fat grafting and buttock implants are common techniques that are used depending on specific patient anatomy and patient preferences. In Brazil, surgeons can select from a wide variety of implants specifically designed for use in the buttock area, while in the United States because of the limited options of approved implants, the procedure is not as frequently used.

But no matter what your desired result, trying to figure out which buttock procedure is right for you does not have to be confusing. The long and the short of it is to not worry about the terms, but rather let the surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center help you figure out the right procedure so that you can get the result that you really want. You can always call us with questions as well, at: 404-778-6880.

About Felmont Eaves, III, MD, FACS
Dr. Felmont EavesDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta to serve as Medical Director of the Emory Aesthetic Center, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Author: Felmont Eaves, III, MD, FACS

Related Resources:

Butt Lift & Butt Augmentation
Fat Transfer/Grafting

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