9 Risks of Butt Implants (and Ways to Mitigate Risk)
Thanks to the curvy figures of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Cardi B, butt augmentation procedures continue to be a popular plastic surgery option. Anatomy plays an important role when considering how much volume can be added to the buttocks, which is why implants are typically the most desirable solution. Implants can be used to instantly add volume for any patient. However, butt implants are definitely not for everyone; there are specific risks that all patients should consider before moving forward with the procedure.
Common Risks of Butt Implants
1. Limited Options for Size and Shape
Butt implants are available in standardized lengths, widths, projections, and volumes. If your ideal butt shape falls somewhere between two standardized shapes, you will need to choose a larger or smaller implant. Although the differences may seem relatively minor, there is a risk of being dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure.
Malposition describes an implant that moves after the surgery. Some shifting of the implant is normal as you use your butt muscles, but the shifting should not have a significant impact on how your buttocks look. Excessive implant shifting is typically caused by a tissue pocket that is too large for the implant which leaves room for the implant to shift. Implants also shift if you do not follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Shifted implants give your buttocks an unnatural shape and require revision surgery to properly place and secure the butt implant.
Newer butt implants are solid silicone, and there is no risk of ruptures. Unfortunately, some surgeons still use older styles that are made with a silicone shell and filled with liquid or gel silicone. The silicone tends to leak from the implant slowly. You may notice that your buttock looks flatter or has an unusual shape. Silicone leaks may also cause pain and scar tissue around the implant. In some cases, the silicone causes small lumps in other areas of the body. If your butt implant ruptures, surgery is required to remove the silicone and any scar tissue.
4. Complications During Healing
Any type of surgery carries a level of risk that should be considered. Infection is the most common complication after butt augmentation with implants. The risk is greatest when the incisions are made in the creases at the bottom of the buttocks or on the interior of the buttocks. Pulling and splitting your sutures is also possible after getting butt implants, and this may cause excessive scarring, improper healing, and infection.
5. Nerve Pain Issues
Nerve pain is another common risk of surgical procedures, especially those that involve placing a foreign object inside the tissues. Butt implants are placed in the tissues along the sciatic nerve. The implants may subject the nerve to persistent pressure which may lead to chronic pain, tingling, numbness, and other symptoms in your lower back, hips, legs, and ankles. Surgeon experience is important to avoid this complication of butt implants.
6. Capsular Contracture
Ideally, your body will accept butt implants without complications, but that is not always the case. Scar tissue around the implant is a normal part of the healing process, and it forms a capsule that helps hold the implant in place. In some cases, the scar tissue hardens which is referred to as capsular contracture. The hardened scar tissue may cause discomfort and an abnormal buttock shape or make the buttocks feel unnatural and hard.
7. Improper Placement and Asymmetry
Butt implants should be placed above the gluteus muscle or inside the muscle in a way that accentuates your natural buttock shape. Improper placement and asymmetry are typically indications of the surgeon’s limited experience with butt implants or performing the procedure on patients who have various body styles. Improper placement and asymmetry can only be remedied with revision surgery.
Generalized swelling is normal after any type of surgery, and it is part of the normal healing process. Seromas, on the other hand, are complications of surgery that require medical attention. Seromas are small pockets of fluid that form in cavities inside the tissues. The condition appears as small, soft lumps around the incision and is typically accompanied by pain. Seromas are resolved by draining the fluid as it accumulates, and the procedure should only be performed by an experienced surgeon. There is a risk of infection when treating seromas. If the fluid is cloudy or contains pus, you may need antibiotics.
9. Excessive Bleeding
Excessive bleeding is a rare complication of butt implant surgery, yet you should consider the risk before having the procedure. Bleeding may be a sign of another issue that needs to be treated, such as a ruptured blood vessel. Your surgeon may recommend diagnostic tests to locate the source of the bleeding, and subsequent surgery may be required.
How to Mitigate the Risks of Butt Implants
Fortunately, for patients who are committed to getting butt implants there are some ways to reduce the possibility of the above unwanted risks and complications. Most importantly, always select a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who is experienced with various butt implant techniques. A skilled surgeon will have many years doing implant surgery on a variety of different cases; not only will they provide the best results but they will also be able to perform the procedure and counsel the patient post-surgery to minimize any unwanted effects. Second, do your research and make sure to review provider before and after photos before selecting your surgeon. As you look at the photos, pay attention to the different body types of the patients, the symmetry and placement of the implants, and how natural the results look. Third, post-procedure after-care can make a huge difference. Make sure that you are fully prepared to follow all your surgeon’s instructions during the entire healing period. This may mean taking time off work and having someone stay with you for daily tasks and to help monitor for signs of infection and other problems. Lastly, you will need to maintain the same weight as when you had your surgery. Any fluctuations will affect the look of your implants.
Other Considerations for Butt Implants
Beyond those risks, there are other traits inherit to buttock implant procedures that should be considered. First, butt implants do require a decent amount of downtime. While recovery differs from patient to patient, it can take up to four to six weeks to fully heal. During this time, patients need to be very careful and take steps to avoid putting any pressure on the implants. A donut cushion is required when you sit, and you will need to sleep on your stomach or side for this long period.
Second, perspective patients should know that butt implants will not last forever. Silicone butt implants, like breast implants or any other implanted medical device, are not designed to last forever. Most butt implants will last approximately 10 to 15 years at which time the implants need to be replaced. Implant replacement, while being a common procedure, may be more extensive than your first butt implant surgery as the surgeon may need to remove scar tissue from the area around the implant.
Finally, perspective patients should realize that they will need to put in some work in order to maintain the results of butt implants over the long run. Maintaining post-procedure weight is key to maintaining results. The buttocks is often an area that quickly changes with weight fluctuation. Any changes may cause the implant to disrupt the symmetry of the buttocks and look “off” and negatively alter the results of the procedure.
Fat Transfer: A Good Alternative to Butt Implants
There is a great alternative for patients who do not want to go for butt implants, yet still want to enhance your buttocks: a fat transfer procedure (butt injections). Fat transfers use the patient’s own unwanted fat in order to add volume and enhance targeted body areas. The procedure begins with fat being harvested from another part of your body, such as your abdomen, back, thighs, or hips. The fat is processed and purified before being injected back into targeted areas of the buttocks. An experienced surgeon uses the fat to precisely sculpt and shape your buttocks which means that you have more control over the final result than with standardized implants. The fat is harvested via liposuction, and your surgeon may opt to remove the fat from your hips to accentuate your new buttock shape. Best of all, fat transfers offer permanent results, have fewer risks and complications, and require less downtime and recovery compared to enhancement via butt implants.