Are Butt Implants a Better Fit Than a Butt Lift?

Reviewed by Siamak Agha-Mohammadi, MD, PhD

Kim Kardashian, J. Lo and Beyonce put butt implants on the pop culture radar by strutting their curvaceous, rounded behinds on stage and screen. To achieve the same look admirers have turned in droves to butt implants. In recent years buttock augmentation and butt lifts have been on the rise even as the number of other popular cosmetic surgeries waned due to the economy.

Butt Implant Surgery Candidates

The first step is a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience with the various buttock augmentation procedures, including butt implants, buttock lifts and Brazilian butt lift (fat grafting to the buttocks). During this initial visit, be open about what you are looking for from your butt-enhancing surgery. Discuss your goals and desires, including how large you want your buttocks-to-be to be.

Your doctor will conduct a full medical history during your consultation to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo the buttock surgery. He or she will give you extensive pre- and post-operative instructions, including information on how important it is to quit smoking before your surgery.

Butt Implant Surgery Procedure

Buttock implantation, also called buttock augmentation, typically involves a 3-inch incision made at the midline of the buttocks. Your surgeon creates a pocket for the solid silicone implant and inserts it through this incision. The implant is positioned between muscle and fat. Some surgeons prefer to place the implants within the main buttock muscle. The muscle will form scar tissue that should help keep the implant in place.

Like breast implants, buttock implants come in different sizes and shapes, and can even be customized. In general, these natural-feeling implants help round out the upper and outer parts of the buttocks, but not the lower areas.

Many women who receive butt implants also undergo breast implant surgery. If you are interested in this combination of procedures, it is important to discuss your desires with your surgeon and also view the doctor's breast augmentation before and after photos to gain a better understanding of the procedure.

Buttock implantation is performed under general anesthesia, typically on an outpatient basis. After placing the implants, the plastic surgeon must assure that both buttocks are symmetrical and look natural before stitching up the incisions. Buttock implantation usually takes about two or three hours to complete.

Butt Augmentation Risks

There are risks involved with any medical procedure, and buttock augmentation is no exception. For example, butt implants may shift and cause the buttocks to look asymmetrical. Other risks may include infection, unsatisfactory cosmetic results, excessive bleeding, anesthesia problems and the need for revision surgery.

Buttock augmentation stretches the tissues, which can be painful, especially if the implants are placed under the muscle. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the risk of infection and help with the pain. Some plastic surgeons use temporary drains to remove excess fluid buildup during recovery. You will wear a compression garment for support for a few days after your buttock surgery.

Butt Lift Surgery

Sometimes butt implants are paired with buttock lifts and liposuction of the lower back for more balanced results. A butt lift removes excess skin and fat that may cause sagging buttocks and adds contour to the waist, hips and back of the thighs. These age-defying butt lifts are growing in popularity even as the economy lags.

To perform a butt lift, your plastic surgery specialist makes an incision along your lower back, spanning from hip to hip. The surgeon pulls up on the excess skin below the incision to lift your buttocks and outer thighs. The extra skin is then removed.

Butt Lift Recovery

A buttock lift is often part of a total body lift or a lower body lift, which is common after weight loss surgery. It can take about two hours to perform by itself, typically using general anesthesia. Most people who have buttock lifts go home the next day; however, the hospital stay may be longer if other procedures are performed simultaneously.

There is usually some postoperative pain that can be managed with medications. Abdominal binders are generally worn for six weeks to help prevent fluid buildup and provide support during the butt lift healing process. Swelling may last for up to three months, and the full cosmetic results are visible within a year.

Butt Lift Risks

Butt lift risks include scarring, excessive bleeding and infection. There is also a risk that you will be dissatisfied with the cosmetic results. Risks can be minimized with a thorough consultation (including a medical examination) with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Follow his or her advice closely, including what medications and supplements to avoid before your butt lift procedure. This advice will help keep you safe. Choosing a plastic surgeon with a great deal of experience performing butt lifts can help assure your overall satisfaction with the procedure. Find one here.

Butt Augmentation Cost

The cost of buttock plastic surgery includes the surgeon's fee, anesthesia fee, operating room fee and implant fee (if applicable). According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the national average for plastic surgeon fees for a buttock lift is approximately $4,600, and about $4,200 for buttock augmentation with implants. Buttock surgery costs increase if other procedures are performed at the same time. For example, buttock implants as part of a total body lift is a costlier procedure, and a buttock lift with buttock implants also increases some of the costs.

Make sure your surgeon gives you an exact quote before you decide to undergo buttock plastic surgery. In general, treatments performed purely for cosmetic purposes are not covered by insurance. If the cost of the butt implants procedure is too high, ask the facility about payment plans and medical finance options. For more information, read our pages devoted to plastic surgery cost and patient financing.

About the Reviewer of This Article

Siamak Agha-Mohammadi, MD, PhD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Orange County, California. He received his medical degree and completed his doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Cambridge in England and did his residencies in general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An expert in aesthetic surgery after massive weight loss, Dr. Agha-Mohammadi has published articles in many prestigious journals and is a frequent presenter at major medical meetings.

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