Buttock augmentation improves the size, shape, and contour of the buttocks in both men and women. The procedures used vary depending on body type, and they aim to treat the buttocks region as a whole.
Some techniques will increase the fullness, roundness, and projection of the buttocks. Others will enhance the overall appearance of the buttocks area by sculpting the surrounding waistline, hips, flanks, lower back, and the transition area from the lower buttocks crease to the thighs. Sometimes, a buttock lift may also be done to reshape sagging buttocks.
Buttock aesthetics are not just about size. The shape of your waistline and hip contours surrounding the buttocks are just as important. Each person will have a different, individualized vision of their desired look. This is a personal choice and will affect the procedures recommended to achieve your goals.
To achieve your ideal look, choosing a surgeon with a sense of artistry and the proper training in aesthetic plastic surgery procedures is essential.
A good surgeon will listen to your vision for your body and discuss which procedures will give you the look you want.
Dr. Ginger Xu uses her high level of technical training and experience to make sure each person’s appearance aligns with their unique identity. Dr. Xu is a board-certified plastic surgeon with specialty training in aesthetic plastic surgery from Harvard. She is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Buttock augmentation can help people who are not happy with the size or shape of their buttocks. Common issues include:
- Flat buttocks
- Unaesthetic shape due to the distribution of fat in the surrounding regions like the flanks or love handles
- Small gluteal muscles that are not in proportion with the rest of the body
- Sagging buttocks – because of genetics, weight loss, pregnancy, age
- Asymmetry of the buttocks
- Loss of shape or deflation – can occur after significant weight loss
Buttock augmentation covers a few categories, procedures that work to:
- Increase the size of the buttocks – increased fullness can be achieved with either buttock implants or fat transfer
- Improve the shape of the buttocks – sculpting can be achieved with liposuction of the surrounding tissues
- Help lift and reshape sagging buttocks – achieved by removing skin and pulling tissues upwards, sometimes combined with augmentation techniques to improve butt shape
Dr. Xu can examine your body and recommend a surgical approach that will meet your vision and goals for your body.
Good candidates for buttock augmentation:
- Have found their buttocks have changed shape and sagged with age, pregnancy and/or weight gain and loss
- Want to improve the fullness, shape, and prominence of their buttocks
- Do not mind scars across their buttocks
- Know why they want surgery to change the appearance of their buttocks
- Have an idea of what they would like to achieve with their surgery
- Understand what the surgery involves
- Are non-smokers or have not smoked for six weeks or more – smoking may negatively affect wound healing
There are several possible techniques that your surgeon may choose, each with the potential to give different contours to the buttock and different levels of scarring. Your surgeon can tell you about the best approach to suit your situation.
During a consultation, Dr. Xu can recommend the best technique for you after she examines your body and has a good understanding of your vision and goals.
The benefits and limitations of different surgical procedures for butt augmentation are described below.
Buttock implant surgery has some common features with breast implant surgery. This technique uses silicone implants designed for the buttocks to create the buttock shape and size you desire, sometimes in combination with fat transfer. Buttock implants are firmer than breast implants, and they may not feel as soft or natural as your normal tissue.
The stages of the technique include:
- Incisions placed on the buttocks usually hidden near or along a crease
- Creation of a pocket to hold the implant – can be under, within or on top of the gluteal muscle
- Placement of the implant with drains and incision closure
Buttock implants are a good option for lean people who do not have much excess body fat to use for fat transfer. The technique is also suitable for people who want a large increase in the size of their buttocks.
Like breast augmentation, disadvantages include malposition or migration of implants, pain, and contraction of scar tissue around the implant. The final result of buttock implants can also look and feel less natural than fat transfer.
In general, buttock implants often have problems and so this approach is not advised.
Buttock augmentation with fat transfer is also known as the Brazilian Butt Lift. This procedure is performed in a number of stages:
- Liposuction is used to harvest excess unwanted fat during body contouring from another area of the body, such as the abdomen, flanks or back
- Live fat cells are purified and processed
- Fat cells are injected at multiple sites to increase the size and improve the contours of the buttocks
The Brazilian Butt Lift:
- Is less invasive than butt implant surgery
- Requires only a few very small incisions
- Uses your own fat tissue to enhance your buttock size
- Gives a natural-looking result
- Allows more finesse in creating your ideal buttock shape
- Often involves liposuction to improve the shape of your body surrounding the buttocks region
Some potential disadvantages of this approach include:
- The possibility that injected fat does not survive and gets reabsorbed by the body
- The need to protect the areas of fat injection with activity restrictions – no sitting on sites where fat was injected for a period of time
Dr. Xu recommends this procedure for people who would like a modest increase in the size of their buttocks and a natural-looking result.
One key concept to buttock augmentation is that it’s not just about increasing the size of the buttock; it’s more so about improving and enhancing the shape of the buttock. The curves leading toward the buttock are just as important as the fullness and projection of the buttock itself. Treating these areas with liposuction often greatly enhances the overall result.
Liposuction is a powerful tool to fine-tune the appearance of the buttocks by removing fat from unwanted areas surrounding the buttocks such as the flanks, “love handles,” lower back, hips, “saddle-bags,” and lower buttock area transitioning into the thigh. This will have a dramatic effect on overall aesthetics and is often used in combination with augmentation techniques.
Buttock lift procedures are suitable for people who have considerable excess skin and sagging. The procedure is not used frequently but can help people after massive weight loss.
During a buttock lift, excess fat and skin are removed and the remaining skin is repositioned into a more pleasing shape. To recontour the buttocks, augmentation might also be needed using fat transfer or implants.
This procedure involves large scars and a lengthy healing process which can entail wound separation problems. A thorough discussion of the pros and cons are important before surgery.
Your body type influences the recommendations Dr. Xu will make for your butt augmentation.
In thin people who do not have sufficient fat stores, an implant may be a better option despite its inherent issues and less natural feel and look.
People who have had significant weight loss can have flat and deflated buttocks with excess or sagging skin. In these cases, a buttock lift might be needed in combination with augmentation to improve the fullness and shape of the buttocks.
You and your surgeon must communicate and work together so you have a good understanding of the process that will give you the best final results. The goal of a good surgeon should be to discuss your goals and vision for your body and arm you with the knowledge to understand the factors affecting your surgery.
Dr. Xu can discuss how your age, skin condition, fat stores, and lifestyle affect the choice of surgical technique. She has a sense of artistry and technical experience to help you understand the aesthetic results you can achieve.
It is important you have a realistic understanding of:
- How your buttocks will look after surgery
- The limitations of the surgery
- Any short- and long-term effects such as scarring or implant failure
- Any possible complications
- The potential need for more surgery
Dr. Xu can explain which technique she would recommend for your situation and the level of scarring you can expect.
Dr. Xu encourages open and honest communication about your body, your lifestyle and what you want for the future. Photos of your desired look can help her understand your needs. Your medical history is also important, including any information about pregnancies, breastfeeding, weight loss, or other medical conditions.
Things to also discuss with Dr. Xu include:
- Why you want the surgery
- Your future lifestyle goals
- What appearance you hope to achieve
- What sort of buttock shape you would like
Dr. Xu understands the responsibility of transforming a person’s appearance to better reflect their identity and build self-esteem. Her top priority is understanding your vision and desires.
Once Dr. Xu has examined your body, she will use her artistic sense and technical expertise to recommend an approach to your surgery that will best suit your goals.
During a consultation, Dr. Xu will explain:
- The different types of butt augmentation options
- Which butt augmentation approach would best suit your needs
- What types of incisions will be needed
- How much scarring you can expect
- How other surgeries (eg. liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift) can fulfill your vision for your body
- Any need for further operations
- Potential complications or side effects
Once you and Dr. Xu have agreed on an approach to your surgery, Dr. Xu will book your surgery time and give you instructions on what to do before and after your surgery.
Dr. Xu will also let you know which medications you should and should not take prior to your surgery and what to do on the day of your surgery. It is important to stop smoking at least six weeks prior to surgery.
You may need to get a blood test or undergo additional tests depending on your medical history. Dr. Xu may also correspond with your primary care doctor to ensure you are in an optimal state of health prior to surgery.
In the weeks before surgery, recommendations to help you prepare include:
- Making sure you get enough sleep and rest
- Eating a healthy diet with adequate protein and nutrition
- Exercising or engaging in physical activity to strengthen your body
- Maintaining a positive state of mind
- Prioritizing your well-being and reducing stress levels
It is essential that you feel comfortable about your upcoming procedure and fully understand the process. Dr. Xu encourages her patients to ask any questions about their surgery or recovery.
After surgery, you will feel mild to moderate discomfort. The amount of pain you feel and your overall recovery will depend on a number of factors such as:
- The type of procedures used
- Whether you have had other surgeries completed at the same time (eg. tummy tuck, liposuction)
- Your age
- Your health before the surgery
Prescription pain medications might be needed for the first few days. After this time, any pain should be relieved with over-the-counter or non-opioid medications.
You may need to wear a compression garment and avoid sitting on your buttocks for a period of time. Ask your surgeon when you can return to the full range of activities.
If you have had a combination of surgeries, Dr. Xu can advise you of any additional recovery needs.
Your risk for complications will depend on the specific technique used and Dr. Xu will make you aware of these before you have surgery. The risk of some common complications (such as infection, bleeding, and wound separation) can be decreased by following your doctor’s post-surgery instructions.
Potential general complications after surgery for butt augmentation include:
- Bleeding or hematoma – the collection of blood under the buttocks
- Seroma (fluid collection) – the collection of fluid under the buttocks
- Wound separation or breakdown
- Unfavorable scarring
- The potential need for additional revision surgery to obtain your desired result
- Chronic pain
- Suture irritation or extrusion
- Fat necrosis
- Minor asymmetry
Specific complications for a butt augmentation with implants are:
- Unnatural appearance or feel of the buttocks
- Implant malposition or migration over time
- Implant extrusion or loss
- Implant infection
- Contracture – the formation of scar tissue around the implant
- Pain – can be caused by the placement of the implant or contracture
- Implant failure or rupture – implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime
- Need for implant replacement or additional surgery
Specific complications for a Brazilian Butt Lift (fat transfer) are:
- Fat embolism during surgery – this is a very rare condition where droplets of fat escape into the bloodstream and have the potential to block blood vessels
- Fat reabsorption
- Fat necrosis and oil cysts
- An unevenness of the deposited fat in the buttocks
A Brazilian Butt Lift is a popular procedure that increases the size and improves the shape of the buttocks using the injection of fat harvested from your own body.
The Brazilian Butt Lift is much less invasive than implant surgery and gives natural-looking results. Dr. Xu recommends this procedure for people who would like modest increases in the size of their buttocks.
Dr. Xu tends to advise against implants because of complications and because the results can look and feel less natural than fat transfer. She recommends people consider a modest enhancement of their buttocks to give natural-looking results that can be achieved with the fat transfer method – the Brazilian Butt Lift.
The combination surgeries are more complex and will cost more. The best way to understand the costs of surgery is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Xu, a board-certified plastic surgeon who has trained at prestigious institutions and has extensive experience in plastic surgery.
Many people are unaware of the full scope and possibilities of plastic surgery. Dr. Xu will listen to your vision for your body, review the options that are available to you, and advise you on an optimal surgical plan that will best meet your needs.