Throughout American history, the ideal image of beauty has continuously evolved – ranging from the thin and boyish figures of the 1920’s flappers to the voluptuous hourglass shape of Marylyn Monroe. Most would agree that the perfect figure of today’s modern woman lies somewhere in between, embodying an overall athletic shape with generous curves. This image that has been accentuated by celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian who have worked hard to stay fit and strong while also embracing their killer curves. Unfortunately, while many women work hard to achieve this look, many are not able to achieve it with lifestyle changes alone. Fortunately, the power of plastic surgery has opened doors for many women to finally achieve the look they have been dreaming of. One procedure that is one of the fastest-growing cosmetic plastic surgeries in the US is the Brazilian Butt Lift (or BBL, for short). This procedure does what nearly every woman has exclaimed in frustration at one point or another – “If only I could just take some of the fat from my stomach and move it to my butt!”. With the BBL, this is actually possible! However, while few can deny the amazing results of this procedure, this procedure has some associated risks that should be appropriately addressed. This post will discuss some of the safety concerns associated with this procedure and how they can be mitigated to ensure the highest level of patient safety without compromising on quality results.
The Brazilian Butt Lift is a surgical procedure that uses the power of liposuction to gently remove unwanted fat from the abdomen, back, and sides, which is then precisely injected into the buttocks to create a fuller, rounder shape. Through this method, the plastic surgeon is able to simultaneously slim the tummy, bring in the waistline, and enhance the buttocks – all without the use of synthetic implants or fillers. However, as the BBL has gained popularity, studies have showed its association with an elevated risk of intraoperative lethal fat embolism. Once this information came out, additional research was performed to figure out exactly why this risk was elevated, and what could be done to decrease it as much as possible. These studies looked at autopsies of patients who had suffered lethal fat emboli during a BBL, and examined what factors these cases had in common. The results showed that this fatal complication occurred in cases where there was injury to the deep pelvic veins, large blood vessels that lie deep to the gluteal muscle fascia and subcutaneous fat. When these deep veins were lacerated, fat could inadvertently reach the blood vessel and get stuck in the cardiovascular system, causing the cessation of blood flow and death. These results were supported by post-mortem examinations that showed the presence of fat deep in the muscle and laceration of a nearby deep vein.
It is important to note that in these studies, thus far no cases resulting in death have been found to be associated with fat injected purely into the subcutaneous plane. All fatal fat emboli have occurred during fat injection into the muscle. (It should also be noted that fat injected into the subcutaneous plane is separated from the deeper muscle layer by a layer of fascia, preventing it from migrating into the muscle.) Due to these findings, plastic surgeons should never attempt intramuscular fat injection during a BBL, taking care to only inject fat into the subcutaneous tissue. In order to ensure this, it is essential that surgeons are acutely aware of the location of the cannula tip at every moment, and are vigilant about confirming its trajectory by feeling the cannula tip through the skin. Furthermore, using large-bore cannulas that will not bend during injection allows surgeons to more accurately place fat in the subcutaneous plane. Dr. Traci Temmen has trained extensively in proper BBL fat injection technique, and always injects fat into the subcutaneous plane using large-bore cannulas while monitoring the location of the cannula tip at all times. Taking these essential safety precautions greatly lowers the risk of fat embolism and maximizes patient safety.
The final factor to consider when thinking about BBL safety is choosing the right surgeon. First and foremost, it is extremely important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon. This ensures that they have been extensively trained in both the procedures themselves as well as how to prevent and handle emergencies that may arise in the operating room, and requires both completion of a plastic surgery residency and passage of all required examinations. Finally, board-certified plastic surgeons are required to practice in fully accredited surgical facilities that are certified to have all of the necessary equipment to handle an emergency should one arise. In addition to being board-certified, it is also important to choose a surgeon who you feel like you can trust, and who understands your values and preferences. In addition, they should have numerous examples of real patient Before and After pictures for you to view, showcasing their results and providing evidence of their surgical skill and positive results. Dr. Traci Temmen is a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices in a state-of-the-art surgical suite at Temmen Plastic Surgery. She is fully trained in numerous plastic surgery procedures including the BBL, and has complete knowledge of potential complications and how to manage them. Furthermore, Dr. Traci Temmen’ patients love her kind and calm demeanor and are consistently impressed with their beautiful results, many of which are showcased in the Before and After section of this website.
As with all surgical procedures, the Brazilian Butt Lift is associated with complications that should be discussed with your plastic surgeon. That being said, when performed by an experienced and highly trained board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Traci Temmen, these risks can be substantially lowered. Dr. Temmen fully understands the anatomy of this region and practices only the safest injection techniques, making this procedure a safe and effective option for slimming the tummy and creating beautiful curves – all from your natural supply of fat! If you are interested in learning more about this procedure, please call 813-771-6393 to book your one-on-one consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Traci Temmen, MD, today.