Ask A Plastic Surgeon: Butt Injections Frequently Asked Questions
Non-surgical butt augmentation via butt injections continues to gain popularity as more and more people wish to enhance the size and shape of their buttocks. Prior to undergoing the procedure there are many things prospective patients should know. Most importantly, patients should know the risks of undergoing butt injections with an unlicensed provider. These “black market” butt injections are extremely dangerous and do not provide good results.
Beyond that critical point, prospective patients should also understand how the results of butt injections differ from butt implant surgery as well as what they can expect following their injection.
What Are Butt Injections?
Butt injections transfer a substance into the buttocks, in an effort to add volume or make the buttocks shapelier. Currently, the only FDA-approved butt injection method is fat transfer, otherwise known as the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL).
Synthetic dermal fillers, like Sculptra or Juvederm, may also be used off label to achieve enhancement of the buttocks. However, these fillers provide a less permanent result and as such are more expensive (as the patient may require maintenance treatment sessions to maintain results over a long period).
You may have heard of silicone or collagen butt injections, but these methods are decidedly unsafe and can lead to permanent disfigurement and even death. Silicone is permanent, and non-dissolvable. This means it’s very difficult to remove in the case of inflammation or infection. When injected too close to a blood vessel, it can cause the death of surrounding tissue. Collagen is no longer used by reputable providers due to the short longevity.
Why Fat Injection is Superior
The Brazilian Butt Lift is the safest and most permanent means of enhancing the buttocks. During a Brazilian Butt Lift, fat cells are removed from another part of the body, most often the waist or abdomen, and then transferred to the buttocks to create a more hourglass-like silhouette.
Once fat cells are transferred, they are there permanently, although it’s common for up to 30-40% to die off during the transfer process. After a BBL, volume in the buttocks will remain, although it can shrink or expand as you lose or gain weight.
Using Dermal Fillers for Butt Injections
For those without enough fat to cull from other areas of the body, fillers offer an alternative to fat transfer. However, using fillers versus fat can be cost-prohibitive and is less long-lasting.
While hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm can be used off-label to enhance the glutes, Sculptra, poly-L-lactic acid filler, is more commonly used. Sculptra stimulates collagen production, which can have a mild lifting effect.
With 8-10 vials needed before results are visible, dermal fillers can quickly become expensive. In addition, results of a dermal filler lift only last for 6 months to 2 years.
Butt Implants Results Are More Dramatic
It’s important for prospective buttocks augmentation patients to know that butt implants do provide more dramatic results than butt injections, especially when it comes to adding volume. The amount of filler that can be injected is limited for both fat and synthetic fillers: fat transfers are limited to the amount of fat that can be harvested and synthetic fillers are limited in terms of the amount that can be safely injected into an area.
This is why its important for patients to discuss their desired results with their provider and ask if non-surgical methods will be able to provide said result. Your provider may recommend the use of an implant.
Only Butt Implants Provide Permanent Results
Once fat is transferred via a Brazilian Butt Lift, those fat cells remain in their new location. If you gain or lose weight however, those fat cells can change in size. As your body changes, there’s no way to predict which areas will lose or gain weight first. For example, if you lose 5 pounds, you could lose this volume from the buttocks first.
Dermal fillers with a hyaluronic acid base last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year. A filler such as Sculptra may last longer, but is not considered permanent.
The only way to guarantee a permanent change to the size of the buttocks is with implants. Butt implantation will enhance the size, but not shape, of the buttocks. The procedure inserts solid silicone shapes into the buttocks which, unlike injections, lead to firmer buttocks.
Shaping the Buttocks
Unlike butt implants, injections allow for shaping of the buttocks rather than just increasing its sheer size. This is a huge benefit for patients who are looking to change the curvature or shape of their butt.
Lately, the most desired shape is that of an ‘upside down heart.’ This shape creates fullness around the hips and base of the buttocks, which then tapers into a small waist.
Alternatively, a ‘C’ or ‘O’ shaped butt creates more of a ‘shelf’ at the top of the buttocks, for an overall rounded, ‘bubble-butt’ look.
Patients should discuss their desired end results with their provider prior to undergoing any butt injection treatment. It’s vitally important for the patient and provider to be in the same page and develop a mutual understanding of the types of results that are possible.
Black Marketing Injections Should Be Avoided
Butt injections are never completely free from risk. Large blood vessels are located deep within the glutes. If these blood vessels are damaged, or if anything is mistakenly injected into them, those substances can quickly travel to the heart and lungs, resulting in death.
For this reason, it’s critical that butt injections are performed only by skilled, experienced, board-certified cosmetic surgeons who have been thoroughly trained in the anatomy deep beneath the skin.
A reputable doctor will never perform injections in a hotel room, basement, or anywhere outside of a sanitary medical facility.
If you’re being offered a deal that seems too good to be true, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. Brazilian Butt Lifts typically cost between $9,000-$20,000, while purchasing 8-10 vials of dermal filler can cost upwards of $5,000.
If you’re seeing deals for far less than that, you’re likely not getting the substance advertised, nor are you dealing with a trustworthy provider.
Recovering from Butt Injections
After a Brazilian Butt Lift, recovery time will vary depending on the amount of fat removed, and the amount transferred to the buttocks. Initially, expect 1-2 weeks of bruising and discomfort. After 2-3 weeks, your pain should subside. Resolution of swelling and full recovery takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks. For more information on butt injection recovery, please read this post.