The truth about Brazilian butt lifts

It sounds simple enough. If you've got a small backside, you might try to boost your butt with specific exercises, but if that doesn't work, you can augment that by taking fatty deposits from places you aren't happy about, and move that into the part of the body that you might want to change. This procedure was invented by a plastic surgeon named Ivo Pitanguy and is known as the Brazilian butt lift, and starts off with removing fat from deposits around the belly, hips, and thighs through liposuction. The fat is then treated before it is re-implanted into the butt (via BBC).

People think about getting a Brazilian butt lift for a number of reasons: they may have lost weight, don't fit properly into their clothes, or have extra fat around areas like the hips that they can shift around. But in practice, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that Brazilian butt lift has the highest death rate of all the procedures under its watch — the estimated death rate due to complications arising from butt lift procedures could be as high as one in every 3,000 procedures (via The Conversation).

Complications can arise from Brazilian butt lifts

In order for a fat graft to work, fat cells need to survive the procedure, and to do that, they need access to nutrition. If fat is grafted onto other fat, it will most likely get absorbed, so it needs to be inserted into a muscle, and this is where a problem is most likely to occur. Fat which is incorrectly grafted can enter into the bloodstream and block a blood vessel in a medical event known as a fat embolism, which can be fatal. 

Another problem involves the amount of fat being taken out of a patient before it is regrafted. While the safest amount of fat which can be grafted weighs about 300 ml or just over 10 oz, some surgeons use afar more, which can be a problem.

Despite the risk, The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery says the demand for Brazilian butt lifts is there, but there are also few doctors trained to carry out the procedure. The board has emphasized the importance of working with a trained cosmetic surgeon so that the risks are minimized, and doing your homework, including checking a surgeon's credentials, looking at past patients results, and avoiding cheap procedures, which could end up costing more in the long run.