Demystifying Butt Augmentation

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From the beautiful Serena Williams to Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, it seems like US pop culture has become quite enamored with shapely derrières over the last several years.  Now being an African woman, a Ghanaian woman to be specific, I can certainly relate as these curvaceous backsides have long been revered in my culture.  But for the person who may not have been genetically blessed with this silhouette to what lengths should one go to achieve this shape?  As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon I believe I empowering my patients to make choices about their body and to help them to feel happy and confident about their appearance.  However I am concerned about the increasing number of women and men who are putting their very lives at risk to achieve these goals.

There are increasing reports about celebrities such as Blac Chyna and Betty Pino having complications from surgery, there is even a Youtube video of a woman showing how she is able to manipulate her silicone butt implant (Woman Butt Implant Flipped Backwards Video).  So I think it is time for some education.  Among plastic surgeons are two accepted approaches for buttock augmentation in non-massive weight loss patients; fat grafting (popularly known as the Brazilian Butt Lift) and silicone implant augmentation.  In my practice I prefer fat grafting, where we use liposuction to remove unwanted fat from areas on your body and put them in the buttocks where they grow a new blood supply and can produce a soft, natural, enhanced buttocks.  The other method is the placement of  silicone implants, in the US we only have firm silicone implants available no gel implants like those used in breast augmentation.  This technique requires 1-2 incisions in the gluteal fold (between the “cheeks”) and the implant is placed right above the muscle or in the muscle.  If incorrectly placed this type of implant can end up in the wrong position or can be manipulated and flipped around like in the video above.  Also, it is very important to place the implant in a sterile manner which can be difficult in that area so infection is an important risk. I won’t go into detail about the complication rates with these two procedures but it is important that you select a good plastic surgeon and that they have solid experience in their chosen approach.

Now, for the underground or black-market approaches to butt augmentation.  For those who choose to be treated by non-doctors things such as industrial grade liquid silicone from Home Depot, mineral oil, even Fix-A-Flat is being used!!! I think this video does a great job of revealing a little about this dark side.

At the best you will have a scarred and hardened buttocks over time.  More serious complications include death of the skin, fat or muscle over the buttocks and sometimes the lower back or legs.  The worst-case scenarios include overwhelming infections resulting in the loss of feet or hands, or even death.  This is my plea, please do not put your life in the hands of someone who is operating out of their garage or some hotel.  Please do your homework and see a licensed plastic surgeon.