Bottoms Up

The why and how of butt lift surgery

By Mimi Greenwood Knight

It goes by many names — gluteoplasty, buttock lift, and butt lift. And to our British friends, a bum lift. Whatever you call it, if gravity, genetics, or weight loss have you less than pleased with your backside, a butt lift might be the answer. A traditional butt lift involves only skin and fat removal through surgical excision and liposuction, versus a Brazilian butt lift, which adds volume using fat transfer. Thousands of people undergo successful butt lift surgery every year, and most are thrilled with their results.

You might consider a butt lift if you:

  • Have unwanted fat and loose, saggy skin on your buttocks.
  • Are uncomfortable with excess buttock skin and fat, and/or it causes mobility issues.
  • Have been through dramatic weight loss, and you are at or near your ideal weight.
  • Are self-conscious about your rear end.

Butt lift surgery can have benefits.

  • Your butt could look smoother and more toned.
  • Results can be long-lasting.
  • It can alleviate discomfort from excess skin.

But there are things you should know.

  • Full recovery can take several months.
  • Future weight fluctuations can affect your results.
  • The procedure can result in loss of buttock volume.
  • Smoking can slow healing and increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. Smokers should quit at least six weeks prior to surgery. 
  • Surgery isn’t recommended if you’re still losing weight, and only if your weight has been stable for at least a year with no further weight loss expected.
  • People with chronic poor health usually aren’t good candidates for body contouring procedures.

You might be a good candidate for butt lift surgery if:

  • You’ve had bariatric surgery or have undergone weight loss.
  • Pregnancy and/or aging have left you with cellulite and saggy skin below the waistline.
  • Your buttocks have significant skin laxity and saggy, excess skin.
  • You’re in overall good health without chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • You have realistic expectations about the surgery and a positive attitude.

There are varying techniques and procedure approaches, but generally, here’s what your butt lift will entail.

Your surgeon will make an incision at the top of your buttocks along the lower back from hip to hip, remove excess skin, and pull the remaining skin taut.

Liposuction may be used to contour your buttock or thighs further to achieve a balanced look.

Incisions are sutured and closed in layers to ensure your skin remains tight.

Drains and dressings will be placed, and you’ll likely wear a compression garment or girdle to reduce swelling and tighten your skin.

Remember, aesthetic surgery is still surgery and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. But being miserable about your appearance isn’t good for your health either. Make consultation appointments with some of the highly qualified and experienced plastic surgeons in your area. Come prepared with your questions and concerns and be ready to discuss your cosmetic goals. Bring your medical history and ask about all risks, potential complications, what to expect during recovery, and costs.

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