Butt Implants vs. The Brazilian Butt Lift – What’s The Difference?

Written by Amy Bekanich, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on June 26, 2024 17 Comments

brazilian butt lift image

Originally published on March 31, 2014 

Butt augmentation continues to rise in popularity as individuals seek to enhance their body contours and achieve a more aesthetically pleasing figure. Among the various methods available, the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) and butt implants stand out as the two most popular choices. Each technique offers unique benefits and considerations, making the decision between them a significant one for those considering enhancement. In this post, we will compare the intricacies of both BBL and butt implants, looking into their processes, outcomes, and recovery times to help prospective patients make an informed choice.

Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)

What is a BBL?

A Brazilian Butt Lift, commonly referred to as BBL, is a surgical procedure that enhances the size and/or shape of the buttocks using the patient’s own fat. This method leverages liposuction to harvest fat from other areas of the body, such as the abdomen, thighs, or flanks, which is then purified and re-injected into the buttocks to create a fuller, more contoured appearance.

How is a Brazilian Butt Lift it performed?

The BBL procedure involves several steps:

  1. Liposuction: Fat is carefully extracted from predetermined areas using a cannula and vacuum-like device.
  2. Purification: The extracted fat is processed to remove excess fluids and impurities, ensuring only high-quality fat cells are used.
  3. Fat injection: The purified fat is meticulously injected into various layers of the buttocks through small incisions, allowing the surgeon to sculpt the desired shape and volume.

What results are possible?

The BBL is renowned for delivering a natural feel and appearance, as it utilizes the patient’s own fat. This method allows for a more organic augmentation compared to implants, with the added benefit of contouring the areas from which the fat was harvested. Patients typically enjoy a more balanced and proportionate figure post-surgery.

BBL Recovery

Recovery from a BBL typically spans several weeks. Initial recovery involves swelling and bruising, which subsides over time. Patients are advised to avoid sitting directly on their buttocks for at least two weeks to ensure optimal fat cell survival. Full recovery and final results are generally seen within 3 to 6 months.

Butt Implants

What is butt implant surgery?

Butt implant surgery involves the insertion of silicone implants into the buttocks to enhance their size and shape. This method is often chosen by those who do not have sufficient body fat for a BBL or who desire a more dramatic augmentation.

Types of butt implants

There are two main types of butt implants:

  1. Solid silicone implants: These implants are firm and durable, providing a consistent shape and size.
  2. Cohesive gel implants: These implants have a softer, more natural feel, like those used in breast augmentation.

How butt augmentation via implant performed?

Butt implant surgery includes the following steps:

  1. Incision: A small incision is made, typically in the crease of the buttocks to minimize visible scarring.
  2. Pocket creation: A pocket is created within the gluteal muscle or above it to securely hold the implant.
  3. Implant insertion: The chosen implants are inserted into the pockets and positioned for optimal symmetry and appearance.
  4. Closure: The incisions are closed with sutures, and dressings are applied.

What results are possible?

Butt implants can provide a more pronounced and dramatic enhancement compared to BBL. The size and shape are more predictable, as the implants maintain their form over time, giving patients a consistent and substantial augmentation.

Butt Implant Recovery

Recovery from butt implant surgery typically involves a longer period of discomfort due to the invasive nature of the procedure. Patients can expect swelling and bruising, with a recommended downtime of several weeks. It may take up to 6 months for the full results to become apparent, as the implants settle and the swelling fully subsides.

BBL vs. Butt Implants

Results Provided

BBL results are generally more natural and subtle, utilizing the patient’s own fat to enhance the buttocks. This method not only augments the buttocks but also improves the contour of the donor sites. In contrast, butt implants offer a more dramatic and pronounced result, ideal for those seeking a significant increase in size and shape.

Result Duration

One key difference between the two procedures is the duration of the results. With BBL, some of the transferred fat is naturally absorbed by the body over time, which can result in a slight reduction in volume. Conversely, butt implants maintain their size and shape indefinitely; however, they typically need to be replaced every 10 years due to the risk of implant rupture or displacement.


Candidacy for each procedure varies. BBL requires patients to have enough excess fat to harvest for transfer, making it unsuitable for very lean patients. Butt implants, on the other hand, can be opted for by those with insufficient fat reserves or those desiring a more significant augmentation than what fat transfer can provide.


Both procedures carry inherent risks. BBL has a risk of fat embolism, which can occur if fat enters the bloodstream and blocks a blood vessel. Butt implants pose risks such as infection, implant displacement, and capsular contracture (the formation of scar tissue around the implant). It is crucial for patients to discuss these risks with their surgeon and choose a highly experienced professional to minimize complications.

Incisions / Scarring

Scarring is another important consideration. BBL involves multiple small incisions at the fat harvesting sites and the buttocks, which typically heal well and are minimally visible. Butt implants require longer incisions, usually in the buttock crease, which can lead to more noticeable scarring. However, this location also helps conceal the scars within natural body folds.

Aftercare (recovery) differences

The aftercare for each procedure also differs. BBL patients must avoid sitting directly on their buttocks for a couple of weeks and wear compression garments to reduce swelling and support the new contours. Butt implant patients may experience more discomfort and require longer periods before resuming normal activities, along with specific instructions to avoid placing pressure on the implants during the initial healing phase.

Choosing between a Brazilian Butt Lift and butt implants ultimately depends on individual goals, body type, and lifestyle considerations. BBL offers a more natural look and feel with the added benefit of body contouring but requires sufficient fat stores and comes with specific postoperative restrictions. Butt implants provide a more dramatic and predictable enhancement, suitable for those lacking adequate fat for a BBL or seeking a more significant change, but involve a longer and potentially more uncomfortable recovery. Consulting with a qualified and experienced surgeon is essential to determine the best approach tailored to your needs and achieve the desired outcome safely.


Amy Bekanich, MD

my Sanders Bekanich, MD is a board-certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Bekanich her medical degree at Oregon Health and Sciences University. She then completed residencies in both General Surgery as well as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency at University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Dr. Bekanich has a passion for assisting patients in their journey to help transform their lives and feel like themselves again.

17 Responses to “Butt Implants vs. The Brazilian Butt Lift – What’s The Difference?”

  1. Avatar Steven says:

    Interesting post! I was unaware of the issues with the implants no wonder why i see a lot about Brazilian butt lift

  2. WD Staff WD Staff says:

    Hi Sloan, basically it would all depend on your body type. If there is insufficient fat available for harvest an implant would have to be utilized. Would you want to come in for a free assessment?

  3. Avatar Trish says:

    There’s definitely a debate on this subject. I really like all of the points you’ve made.

  4. Avatar Tammie says:

    I’m in the military. I have had six kids and I want to improve my body. I want a Brizillian but lift, possible mini tummy tuck and breast augmintation. I’m 45 years old and I’m ready for my old body back.

  5. Avatar Nora says:

    That makes sense that a butt implant is under a lot of pressure. The Brazilian butt implant uses real fat, so there’s no risk of rupture or anything. The nice thing is that they take the fat from other places in your body, so it’s a win-win in my opinion. If I decided to do this, I’d probably go with the second option.

  6. Avatar Susie says:

    What if you are petite in size how do you go about doing a Brazilian butt lift

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Susie, you bring up a great point. Unfortunately petite individuals may not have enough fat and tissue for a Brazilian butt lift. In those cases an implant would have to be used. The good news is there are ways to minimize potential issues with using implants.

      If you are petite but still interested in augmentation through an implant we would encourage you to see a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation. Make sure to ask your surgeon about ways to prevent some of the problems we discussed in the above post.

      Thanks again for reading!

      –WD Staff

  7. Avatar Gracy says:

    I’ve done some research and see other articles like this that advise against butt implants, makes sense to me. I’m still thinking about a fat transfer procedure or the like

  8. Avatar Darlene says:

    This info is priceless. Where can I find out more?

  9. Avatar Bri says:

    I truly appreciate this blog post. Keep writing.

  10. Avatar Tisha says:

    In the hands of an experienced surgeon the brazilian butt lift technique provide great results. Implants will not work as well to improve the contour of your hip IMO

  11. Avatar Tom says:

    Sound arguments. Keep up the great work!

  12. Avatar Angel says:

    Hi. What if? If u have a silicon oil injection in ur hips and butt what will happen? Am i still allowed to have the brazillian butt lift surgery even though i have the silicone oil injection to my body? Because i am really interested on that surgery. And is theres any other options If BBL surgery Is not allowed on me?. I hope u answers all my questions thank u.

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Angel,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question. In this situation your candidacy will depend on several factors like how long ago you received the injection and the current characteristics of the area. Unfortunately to get the best answer you’ll have to see a surgeon for an in-person analysis. If you are in the Austin area please give us a call to setup a consultation!

      WD Staff

  13. Avatar Leah says:

    Hi .. which procedure is harder on your body ; as far as recovery ? Thanks ..

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Leah,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question! While recovery and healing differ from person to person, augmentation through butt implants is usually requires a longer recovery time as it is more invasive. However, for many butt implants does provide a more dramatic result.

      Hope that helps!

      WD Staff

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