A Plastic Surgeon Shares How to Do a Safer Brazilian Butt Lift
Several recent articles in the press claim that Brazilian Butt Lift surgery or BBL is dangerous. BBL involves the transfer of fat from the abdomen, back, and thighs, into the buttock cheek in an attempt to improve not only the size but shape of your bum. When fat removal or liposuction is performed in a circumferential manner, termed 360 lipo, your surgeon can achieve stunning results by virtue of creating exaggerated curves that are in line with female contour aesthetics. Unfortunately, several states are considering a ban on this procedure that allows a safer Brazilian Butt Lift. These headlines arose from several detrimental outcomes resulting from a complication resulting from transferred fat migrating to and blocking blood flow to the lungs.
Pulmonary embolism is the name of this complication that describes the clotting of the lungs arteries that can be lethal. Pulmonary emboli can actually occur after any surgery and typically result from clots forming in the lower leg veins that then get dislodged and carried to the pulmonary or lung arteries. In the case of a BBL, it is a small piece of fat that inadvertently enters one of the larger veins in the buttock, called the gluteal vein, and which then gets siphoned to the pulmonary arteries. The ultimate fear is that injecting fat into the buttock can in theory result in fat entering this vein, called a fat emboli, and subsequently ending up in the lungs.
This article is written to dispel the myths surrounding fat emboli and offer what one plastic surgeon is offering that makes Brazilian Butt Lifts safer! First, we must consider how a piece of fat enters the gluteal vein. Initially, media promoted that the fat was literally injected into the vein by a surgeon operating below the standard of care. However, science has taught us that this is not the case! In fact, what is occurring is that any fat that might be near the gluteal vein is becoming sucked up into the vein. This is because the vein walls are fragile and when tethered during the filling of the buttock cheek, the vein can self-tear. Once torn, fat cells in its proximity can be siphoned into the vein since the inside of the vein is under negative pressure due to the flowing blood. For those who are mathematically inclined or curious, the flowing blood will create a vacuum that can suck up entities in its proximity by a principle called the Bernoulli’s effect.
So, how can a plastic surgeon make BBLs safer? The bottom line is that fat injections near this vein must be avoided. Thankfully, there is a muscle lining that covers the gluteus maximus muscle that spans over the gluteal vein. If this lining is not violated, then fat cells cannot get near the vein! Dr. Mowlavi utilizes a proprietary fat grafting cannula that can be visualized with ultrasound guidance. When fat grafting is performed using ultrasound guidance, fat transfer can be limited to the superficial fat layer. Under ultrasound the fat, gluteal muscle, and the above muscle lining are also visible! As a result, Dr. Mowlavi is able to limit transfer of fat to only the superficial fatty layers, thus minimizing risk of fat emboli.
Today, using Dr. Mowlavi’s Safe California Ultrasound-assisted Buttock Augmentation (SCUBA) technique allows for safer BBLs. SCUBA describes the use of portable handheld ultrasound and Dr. Mowlavi’s proprietary fat grafting cannula used to transplant fat in a safe manner. Dr. Mowlavi trains surgeons from across the country and world to safely perform BBLs. Surgeons who use this technique know exactly where they are grafting the fat in their patients thus minimizing unnecessary risks.