Credit: Kim Kardashian on the front of Paper. Photograph: Paper
Sir Mixalot was already onto it back in 1992 with his “baby got back” hit. Move over big boobies, Kim Kardashian and her big booty are changing the cosmetic surgery landscape.
Dr Kourosh Tavakoli, one of Australia’s most experienced BBL surgeons says “The Brazilian Butt Lift or BBL is a procedure that has been redefined and reinvented over the past three years and mainly as a result of a cultural shift in the way we view a beautiful body”.
According to the 2015 statistical data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, BBL surgery with fat graft is up 28% over the previous year. Surprisingly, breast augmentation surgery was down 2% over last year’s numbers.
Dr Tavakoli believes that there is a “change in emphasis from big breasts to a more rounded body with harmony between the breasts and the lower body, with a small waist.”
So what actually happens with a BBL procedure?
Dr Tavakoli explains that during the procedure, the waist is reduced, the legs sculpted and the excess fat that is removed from these areas is then processed, purified and injected into the buttocks in order to create roundness and projection.
“We reduce the waist (love handles) and the bottom of the buttocks. Collectively all the fat harvested from those regions is placed in the buttocks as a fat graft.”
Given that the patient’s own fat is used to inflate and shape the derriere, it’s not surprising to hear that not everyone is eligible for this procedure.
Dr Tavakoli says that prospective patients can be placed into two categories; Those with enough adipose tissue that can be sculpted into the desired shape and those who are naturally slim with low body fat. In this latter patient, fat grafting does not apply and a silicone prosthesis or buttock implant must be used. “This has its own set of challenges and complications” warns Dr Tavakoli. “The reason fat grafting has come about and become main stay is because we now know that traditional buttock implants have not been successful”.
Of course, everyone wants to know how long the results last. With varying information out there, Dr Tavakoli explains that “the permanency of fat grafting in the body (face, breast and buttock) is highly debatable and not a clear science”. Despite this, the consensus is that by 4-6 weeks the fat has to be taken or dissolve and be excreted by the body.
There does however, exist a disparity amongst surgeons as to whether or not there is also a gradual decrease. Dr Tavakoli believes if the fat has taken at 6 weeks, has a blood supply and circulation, then it is unlikely to reabsorb at 1 year.
Kylie, a BBL patient of Dr Tavakoli says at 12 months post op “I’m absolutely in love with my results”.
“The world of fat grafting is expanding rapidly around the world. Of course there are mitigating factors which are still unknown.” Dr Tavakoli explains, but “my patients keep around 75% of the fat injected”.
Dr Tavakoli believes patient selection is vital.
“The patient has to have an adequate amount of fat so when we take them to surgery you are not traumatising the fat upon removal. The moment you traumatise the fat or it doesn’t come out easily the game is lost”.
Following patient selection, surgeon skill, experience and patience is crucial.
“The surgeon needs to have a high level of patience” he explains. “You need to first take the fat, patiently purify it and meticulously load it into syringes in a non traumatic fashion”.
Then it matters how the fat is injected.
“The surgeon must inject the fat in small amounts, then using a massage technique to spread the fat evenly which promotes contact with blood supply.”
Dr Tavakoli believes the surgeon also needs to have “the skill and experience to over inject and allow 30% reduction” in order to maintain the desired results for the patient.
Finally, post operative recovery is just as important.
Smoking and infection can impact on the viability of the fat transfer.
Similarly, patients are advised not to exercise too soon following surgery as this can cause reabsorption of the fat and can also cause strain between the skin and the muscle.
Patients are also curious as to what volume increase they can expect to achieve through BBL surgery. There are a multitude of examples on the internet that show the extremes a la Kimmy K and Nicky Minaj.
Dr Tavakoli believes caution should be exercised when determining how much fat to inject. “Injecting too much fat can increase the risk of complications to the patient”.
In his practice, Dr Tavakoli concentrates on volume levels around “400-500mls per buttock cheek”. Around 800-1000mls in total is “my comfort zone, I would not want to go any higher or any less. I believe this is to avoid disappointed patients after the initial volume reduction of around 30%.”
So is the Brazilian Butt Lift worth it? It is if you ask Kylie “I’ve always had a flat bum and now I don’t…this surgery was the best thing I have ever done for myself”. For Kylie the procedure was relatively pain free and she was “feeling back to my normal self in a matter of days”.
Happy patients aside, this is still major surgery, requiring the use of general anaesthetic and a qualified plastic surgeon. Any kind of elective cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly and patients need to be aware of the risks and benefits of the surgery before they make their decisions.
So what advice does Dr Tavakoli have for those thinking about this surgery?
“BBL is a great procedure for those wanting to enhance their body shape and create curvature of the buttocks. Watching my patient’s BBL journey from start to finish is most rewarding. I encourage all BBL patients to combine exercise and a healthy diet to maintain and maximize results.”
PSF would like to thank Dr Kourosh Tavakoli, Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon for his input into this blog post.
View Dr.Tavakoli Profile