Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Buttock lift surgery is a procedure that reshapes the buttocks by reducing excess skin, and depending on the patient’s individual needs either reducing or increasing the amount of fat in the buttock, resulting in smoother skin and a firmer, rounder, better-proportioned contours of the buttocks. In some patients a better-shaped buttock contour can be achieved from fat injection alone (Brazilian Butt Lift, or BBL).
A buttock lift is designed to tighten the skin and improve the contour of the buttocks, giving a firmer, rounder, better-shaped contour. This is achieved by removing excess skin and in many cases increasing the amount of fat in the buttock by fat injection (transfer).
Buttock lift surgery is an individualised procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Specialist Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.
Buttock lift surgery is not suitable for people who are:
- Not able to have an anaesthetic
- Prone to bleeding tendencies or have poor healing ability
- Too high risk of having surgical complications
Buttock lift surgery may be a good option for you if:
- You are physically healthy and you do not have not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Your weight is relatively stable
- Your buttocks are sagging and have lost their shape and firmness
- You have excess or droopy soft tissue along the inner or medial buttock region and/or the outer buttock
- You are a non-smoker or have stopped smoking
You should be mindful that, even following good healing and good surgical results, visible and prominent scarring can develop. Your surgeon will limit scar length and try to position each scar in the least conspicuous position. Nonetheless, scars may be more noticeable than you anticipated. It is important that you have realistic expectations of the surgery and that you discuss potential outcomes with your surgeon.
Modern surgery is generally safe but does have the potential for risks and complications to occur. Some general risks of surgery include:
- Heavy bleeding from an operated site. This may require a blood transfusion
- Infection that may require treatment with antibiotics or further surgery in some cases
- Allergic reaction to sutures, dressings or antiseptic solutions
- The formation of a large blood clot (haematoma) beneath an incision site may require further surgery
- Pain, bruising and swelling around the operated site(s)
- Slow healing, often related to smoking or diabetes
- Short-term nausea following general anaesthesia and other risks related to anaesthesia
- Complications such as heart attack, pulmonary embolism or stroke may be caused by a blood clot, which can be life threatening
Specific risks and complications associated with buttock lift surgery include:
- Visible and prominent scars such as keloids and hypertrophic scars. These scars are raised, red and thickened, and may form over healed incisions. They may be itchy, annoying and unsightly but are not a threat to health
- Numbness and pain around operated sites. In most cases this is temporary and will improve over many months
- Skin that does not heal and may require a skin graft
- Restrictive movement to the tightened skin
- Irregular skin surface, uneven contours or rippling
- Asymmetry (unevenness) of the buttocks
- Excess fluid accumulation under the skin (known as a seroma) around an operated site that may require one or more drainage procedures with a needle
- The possible need for a blood transfusion for patients who require the removal of a large amount of skin
- Fat that has a poor blood supply may result in a discharge from the surgical wounds or palpable lumps under the skin
Buttock lift surgery can be performed in either an accredited day surgery or a hospital, depending on your general health and the extent of the procedure. A short hospital stay may be required in some instances. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will advise on the best option for you.
Before undergoing surgery, it is important that you:
- Be as fit as possible to help the recovery process
- Reach your optimal weight
- Check with your surgeon about your medications as some may need to be stopped
- Stop smoking
You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history for your Specialist Plastic Surgeon including any health problems you have had, any medication you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have.
You may be advised to stop taking certain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and medicines that contain aspirin. You may also be asked to stop taking naturopathic substances such as garlic, ginkgo, ginseng and St John’s Wort as they may affect clotting and anaesthesia. Always tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you are taking.
You may be given medicines to take before the surgery, such as antibiotics.
Your surgeon will also advise you if any other tests are required, such as blood tests, X-ray examinations or an Electrocardiograph (ECG) to assess your heart.
Prepare a “recovery area” in your home. This may include pillows, ice packs, a thermometer and a telephone within easy reach. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to drive you to and from the hospital or clinic. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home.
Your surgeon should give detailed preoperative instructions. Follow them carefully.
Following your surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. You may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a supportive garment to minimize swelling and to support your operation site as it heals. A small, thin tube may also be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will need to take at least a few days off work to rest. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports until advised by your surgeon.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, notify your surgeon immediate:
- Temperature higher than 38°C or chills
- Heavy bleeding from the incisions
- Worsening redness around the incision sites
- Increasing pain or tenderness, or other problems that appear to be worsening
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care. These instructions may include:
- How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site(s) or in your general health
- When to follow-up with your surgeon
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period, such as:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? If so, when will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When will they be removed?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Scars are an inevitable part of any invasive surgery. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will endeavour to minimise scarring and to keep your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Scars are hidden in the natural crease at the top of the buttocks. Scars may fade with time and become barely noticeable over time.
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices for a tummy tuck can vary widely between Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office.
Costs associated with the procedure may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anaesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests
Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.
- Circumferential thigh lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the outer and mid-thigh General anaesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to achieve relaxation
- Liposuction: Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, this procedure vacuums out fat from beneath the skin’s surface to reduce fullness
- Local anaesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain
- Lower body lift: Surgical procedure to correct aging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin and outer thighs
- Macerated skin: Excess skin that hangs and becomes wet or infected underneath
- Medial thigh lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the inner thigh
- Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together
Visit the Plastic Surgery Glossary for more medical terms.