Marking up a butt for surgery
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The Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedure is both popular and potentially deadly. The surgery has one of the highest death rates per procedure in the world, yet people are still flocking to the operating room table, most likely to mimic their favorite Hollywood stars and their curvy backsides.

Numerous plastic surgeons have recently noted that they are seeing record numbers of people wanting the BBL since pandemic surgery restrictions were lifted.


According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, surgeons performed approximately 40,000 butt augmentation procedures in 2020, worth about $140 million in revenue. From 2015-2019, the number of BBLs increased more than 90 percent.


What Is a Brazilian Butt-Lift?

The procedure transfers fat to the backside to increase volume. It's normally conducted under anesthesia. In most cases, the surgeon will liposuction fat from other areas of your body (like the stomach and thighs) and then it's repurposed and injected into the buttocks.

Both the liposuction and the fat transfer procedures require incisions, which will make stitches necessary in a handful of places.

Why Is the BBL So Dangerous?

Reported side effects have included pain, infection, lumps under the skin, scarring, and pulmonary embolism, which can be deadly.

According to a 2017 report in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, one to two of every 6,000 BBL surgeries resulted in death, making it the deadliest plastic surgery operation at that time. Some countries, like the U.K., have recommended not performing the procedure at all (although it is not banned). Also, many people travel to other countries for the procedure, usually because it costs less than in the U.S., which can add an additional danger level when it comes to language barriers and complications.

Even if a surgeon is skilled, it can be difficult for them to know where they're injecting, and the injected fat can enter the large veins and then travel to the lungs, which obstructs blood flow and causes immediate death.

However, a new report in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal suggested that new recommendations (like having the surgeon place the fat between the muscle and skin, instead of inside the muscle where large veins flow) has resulted in a much lower death rate — about 1 in 15,000. This information is still being monitored, but because the procedure has these new, potentially safer guidelines, it is important to talk to your doctor about any changes.

What Are Other Ways to Increase Volume in the Backside?

Filler
Some doctors may use Sculptra, an FDA-approved facial dermal filler to inject in the backside, but it is considered "off-label" for use in the buttocks area.

Squats
If you put in the work, you can really see a change. Studies suggest that squats not only increase strength, but that they may actually increase the size of the gluteus maximus muscle.

Shapewear
Want to fit into a new pair of jeans or that slinky dress but don't want to have any procedures or even break a sweat? Numerous shapewear companies now offer buttocks-enhancing bottoms for a temporary bigger backside.

Leggings
An even less invasive way to enhance your curves is with a good pair of leggings. Various brands make "butt-enhancing" tights — from eye-tricking "scrunch" designs to "lifting" spandex materials.

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Personal photos courtesy of Dr.Oz

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Dr. Oz immediately contacted his friends and colleagues and crafted a treatment plan with two of the country's top experts in the field: Richard S. Isaacson, MD, a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the founder of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic, and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard and the founder of the "Alzheimer's Genome Project," who co-discovered the first Alzheimer's gene.

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