The Trouble with Butt Implants

By Cameron Craven, MD, FACS March 31, 2014 13 Comments

brazilian butt lift image

In recent years cosmetic surgery to enhance the buttocks (butt augmentation) has become very popular, especially with popular culture being influenced by the behinds of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian.

Choosing augmentation through butt implants could be a mistake, as there is a better alternative that offers a more natural look with a reduced risk of complications.

What are butt implants?

Butt implants (also called gluteal implants) are a prosthesis that can be implanted to add volume to the buttocks. Butt implants are either round or oval (anatomical) in shape and feature either smooth or textured surfaces, much like a breast implant. The most common butt implants are filled with solid silicone, which is a highly durable material that resists rupturing, spilling, and deflating from exposure to pressure. Durability is extremely important as butt implants experience great weight every time a person sits or lies down.

Butt Augmentation with Butt Implants

Depending on the patient’s body type, the butt augmentation procedure begins with the surgeon either making an incision in the crease between the buttock and the posterior thigh or in the top of the crease between the buttocks.  The surgeon works to create a pocket to hold the implant, which can be placed either above or below the gluteus maximus muscle. Finally the implant is placed within the pocket and the incision is closed with sutures.  Often, placement of drains is necessary to allow blood and fluids to be evacuated during the first week after surgery.  Depending on the patient, liposuction can be used to enhance the final shape.

Problems with Butt Implants

In my practice I choose not to use butt implants for augmentation procedures because I feel they are inferior to the Brazilian butt lift procedure (augmentation through fat transfer). There are various risks or complications resulting from butt implants including implant movement/displacement, fluid collection, and capsular contracture.

Even with successful butt implant placement the final look and feel is far less natural than results obtained through fat transfer.

Finally, butt implants are not permanent. Patients are advised that they will have to undergo butt implant replacement surgery in the future, typically eight to 12 years after the initial procedure.

Butt Augmentation through Fat Transfer (Brazilian Butt Lift)

As long as the patient has sufficient fat to harvest from another area of the body, I encourage my patients to choose a Brazilian Butt Lift over the use of implants. The Brazilian Butt Lift is a fat transfer procedure which uses a patient’s own fat to enhance the butt. A surgeon harvests the fat from the abdomen, thighs, back, and flanks areas using a cannula in a liposuction procedure. The fat particles are purified and injected into the fatty and muscle layers to add the desired volume.

Fat transfer procedures are limited, however, by survival of the fat.  Some of the implanted fat cells do not survive and are reabsorbed and removed by the body’s immune system.  This limits the amount of augmentation possible in a single procedure.  Occasionally, more than one fat transfer procedure is required to deliver the results the patient seeks.

In summary, I find that the result of butt augmentation through fat transfer is superior to the results from the use of implants:

  • The final result is more natural in both look and feel
  • There are no risks of capsular conjecture or the implant rupture
  • There is no need for any additional future surgeries for implant related problems
  • The process of harvesting the fat can create a better final result

Contact us today for more information and a free consultation.

Cameron Craven, MD, FACS

Cameron Craven MD, FACS is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Craven specializes in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation, liposuction and body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty, as well as reconstructive surgery for skin cancers.

13 Responses to “The Trouble with Butt Implants”

  1. 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. Trish says:

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

  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. Darlene says:

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

  9. Bri says:

    I truly appreciate this blog post. Keep writing.

  10. 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. Tom says:

    Sound arguments. Keep up the great work!

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