Brazilian Butt Lift: 20 Essential BBL Questions Answered

How long until you can sit after getting a BBL? Are you a better candidate for a BBL or butt implants? And if the answer is a BBL, how much fat can be injected into your booty? Dr. Andrew Jimerson has your answers.

The Brazilian butt lift is a popular surgical procedure where a surgeon takes fat from one part of your body, through liposuction, and injects it into your butt. The surgery has become quite popular in recent years earning a 93 percent Worth It rating from the RealSelf community. Women across the world are wondering if this curve-enhancing procedure is going to give them the bootylicious body they dream of — so RealSelf sat down with Dr. Andrew Jimerson, who does nearly 60 Brazilian butt lifts a month, to discuss.

Remember, if you don't see a question you want to ask below, you can always ask a doctor on RealSelf here.

How do I know if I’m a good candidate for a BBL? Who shouldn’t consider getting one?
You have to be in good medical health to be considered a good candidate for plastic surgery. If you have any heart conditions, lung conditions or neurological disorders then you may not be a good candidate for a BBL procedure. After you've decided you're a good candidate then you have to decide: Do you want curves? Do you want a bigger butt? Or do you want a more shapely butt?

See also: Your Guide To Brazilian Butt Lift Lingo

Why would I get a BBL instead of butt implants?

The main deciding factor between getting a BBL, a fat grafting procedure, or implants is how much fat you have. I particularly like to do the BBL over butt implants because the complication rate is lower and because most people need liposuction at the same time in order to shape their butt. Even if you're getting butt implants, you're still going to probably going to need liposuction. I actually like fat better. I think I can shape it better, I think I can put in the areas that it needs fat in, also I can create hips. I only consider butt implants for patients that cannot gain weight and there's no fat on their body. 

What’s the deal with gaining weight or losing weight before the procedure?

After talking with the patient, I decide basically how big they want their butt and that determines how much weight you need to gain. For instance, if you're about 130 lbs — and you want a nice butt — and 5'5'' you're probably going to have to gain 10 lbs. It's just based on that particular person and how much weight they need to gain. Also, if you've already had liposuction before, then a lot of the times they need to gain weight because the type of fat that they have is very fiboris because of the old liposuction so they'll gain weight there. The big thing is once they've gained the weight then they need to maintain that weight after surgery. And of course, if someone is 20 lbs over their ideal weight, then I want them to lose weight because I really only want people to be 10 to 15 lbs heavier than their goal weight. 

Does technique and shape vary from doctor to doctor?

I always tell people that when you decide that you want [a] fat-grafting procedure, you really just need to look at their before and afters photos because everybody has a different vision of what they think looks good. And each doctor is going to have a different vision of what that is and that's going to reflect in their results. So, I really think you have to find someone who can give you what you want. 

As far as technique, there are a lot of different techniques out there because this is a very new procedure. So there's not one technique and you can probably see the difference in the results. 

How safe is a Brazilian butt lift, and what are the risks?

The fat grafting Brazilian butt lift procedure is I think very safe. I do several of them a week. The complication rates are relatively low. The major risks include: pulmonary embolism, or fat embolism, those are less than one percent, and anemia because a lot of times we're moving a lot of fat. If you're anemic already, or if you are starting your menstrual cycle, a lot of times you can become anemic. Those are the major things you'll see with this procedure. I think it's pretty safe compared to all the procedures that we do. 

Will a BBL give me the results I want if I want a big booty like Kim Kardashian?

At first I have to see you and how much fat you have. It also depends on how your butt is shaped because people might want one shape, but their body genetics doesn't allow that. We have to play in the confinements of your own body and genetics. There's some leeway and different techniques we can use to manipulate that to some degree, so you know Kim Kardashian has a very round butt, but there are different types of butts. I have to see yours to see exactly what I think I can do. 

How is a Brazilian butt lift performed? And where exactly will my fat be extracted from?

So, that also varies. For me, the most important place to take the fat from is the lower back because I like to shape the butt, the top part of the butt. Also, we take it from the flanks, the abdomen, the inner thighs, it just really depends on how much fat your have and what I'm doing. If you have too much fat and are 20-30 pounds over your goal weight then I might not be able to do as much on your abdomen or flanks. Those are the areas we take from. 

So, how much fat is exactly needed? 

A lot of people come into my office and ask: "How many cc's do you think you can fit in my butt?" This procedure, unlike any other procedure we do in plastic surgery, is an art. Really you can't decide until you're actually on the operating room table. It's like a sculptor trying to work with clay. You just don't know until you're done. I can take a max of 5,000 cc's off, but that has nothing to do with the BBL procedure, that has to do with the liposuction and fat harvesting. 

In general, I'd say, I put an average of 700 to 1,000 cc's in each cheek.  And that can vary based on the person's size, how wide they are, how tall they are, etc.

Will I get a scar from a BBL?

I know people hate scars. I hate scars more than anyone, so I always try to minimize scarring as much as possible. For the BBL there's little small scars scattered throughout the butt and abdomen area. I try to hide as many of them as I can and I do most of my work in the areas that are hidden, but I do need to place certain marks throughout the butt in order to do the injection. And that also varies by doctor. 

The places where we put the scars also is going to have a major affect on how your butt looks. I change my markings up based on what kind of butt I'm trying to create. I change them up on an individual patient; we customize that. So the marks are small, and basically, they heal based on the way you heal. Sometimes they can be hypertrophic (raised), sometimes they get dark and sometimes you can't see them at all. It's really based on your own body.

Do scar creams work?

I think the scar creams work very well, but the ones I promote actually have silicone in them. I suggest ScarGuard or some sort of silicone cream because I think it has an effect on hypertrophic scarring and also we use different scar lightening creams.

Will lipo and a BBL cause cellulite? Or at the very least a lumpy booty?

No, I've never seen that. I actually think it can improve the appearance of cellulite. Liposuction, we actually lipo it in a deeper layer, so we're not liposuction-ing right at the surface of the skin. It wouldn't cause more cellulite because we're actually de-bulking it or taking that away from a deeper layer. If you have cellulite, we're not going to affect that, but with the fat grafting, I do, the fat grafting in a three-dimensional plane — so below the muscle, in the muscle and above the muscle — and I do get right up by the skin and I do try to improve the cellulite. But I never promote this procedure as trying to improve cellulite because that's not really what the procedure is designed for. 

How long will my results last for? Is this something I have to maintain and get touch-ups for?

So, I'll explain it like this, the fat that I put into your body is a graft just like a skin graft. I don't know if you've ever seen anybody with a skin graft, but we take skin from one area of the body and we put it into another. That skin just doesn't dissolve away over time — and neither will the fat. So, when we inject the fat I expect about, you know, between 70 percent of it to take, or to stay. Thirty percent of it will resorb. The fat that takes has a blood supply — and that's why we call it "it takes" — because it has a blood supply. Once that blood supply has established, it's going to sit there it's not going to go anywhere because now that's its new home. It will shrink overtime because other parts of the body shrink as well.

But I think this is a very long-lasting procedure. I've had patients out for several years and they still maintain their results. Now if you lose weight, the fat will shrink — and if you gain weight, the fat will grow — but the fat cells remain. 

What happens if I gain weight after my BBL?

So, if you gain weight after the BBL procedure, then you will gain weight in the fat cells and there's no predicting exactly where you're going to gain weight. I've seen a lot of my patients gain weight in their butt because now I've taken fat that was resistant to diet and exercise — like in your flanks, or inner thighs — and I put that in your butt. A lot of times that's the first place to grow because I put those vessels in your butt and your butt gets bigger. 

Now I've also liposuction-ed areas and I've removed fat from those areas, that doesn't mean that you can't get fat in the areas I liposuction-ed, but you also might gain weight in other areas of your body, like your face, your arms, or places you normally didn't get fat before.

What I would tell people is "maintain your body weight, that's the goal."

So, what about if you get pregnant after a BBL?

Different people handle pregnancy differently. Different people gain weight differently. So, if you get pregnant after a BBL, you're expected to gain weight, that's natural, but you can moderate how much weight you gain. And your butt might get bigger. You know, your whole body changes after pregnancy so there's no guarantee on how you're going to look after. You might need a touch-up.

Do you think women should wait until after they're done having kids to get a BBL?

You know, I don't recommend that they wait [to have kids], but if you're planning to have kids in the next year, then you should wait. But it's not like a tummy tuck, where I say, "If you haven't had kids yet, but are planning on it, I'll wait." With the BBL, I've had a lot of patients that are younger and they have 10 years before they're going to have kids and so, you know, they want their body to look a certain way, so I don't think it's a problem.

How long will it take to recover after a BBL? Will I be able to sit? And if not, for how long?

I don't usually want people to sit at all for two weeks. And then after that, you can sit on a boppy pillow. Basically because a boppy pillow - there's a hollowed out area where you can sit — so when you sit, you're actually sitting on the back of your thighs and not on your butt. There's also special chairs that are made that you can sit on without sitting on your butt. After two weeks, you can sit on that. The recovery, people get used to it, I'm going to be honest with you. 

Can I resume regular exercise after a BBL? And on that note, is there a particular exercise that would help me maintain my results?

So, as far as exercising goes, we absolutely encourage people to exercise after surgery. However, we would like them to alter their exercise. So, for instance, I would not want someone to getting on a treadmill for an hour at a time and doing a bunch of cardio. There's other ways to raise your heart rate up and still maintain your butt. You can do squats, lunges, P90X-type exercises — calisthenics — that kind of stuff, and that can actually build the butt muscle up as well and give you even better results. I think leg exercises, and of course, you work out your upper body and core, but I wouldn't burn, I wouldn't try to run a marathon afterwards and train for marathon because I think you'd lose too much fat. 

What’s the deal with the compression garment and which one should I use after my surgery?

We struggle with compression garments because they're not one size fits all. And there are so many different size and shapes of women, and you know, so we have a standard garment that we use. But sometimes women will have to go pick up another garment because their legs are bigger, or their torso is longer, and certain things are uncomfortable. But we can hit about 80 percent of people with what we have. I like the garments with the butt cut out, but some doctors don't. That's what we use and I think we get really good results with that.

Why? Because I don't want any pressure on the fat. I want limited pressure on the fat because I think that might increase the rate of fat resorption. I don't have any scientific proof of that, but just from when I was training in plastic surgery, I know that the pressure does cause that and it causes some resorption of fat. This is fresh fat and I think it increases its rate of survival. 

Are massages absolutely necessary for a Brazilian butt lift?

I think the lymphatic drainage massage is extremely important for liposuction and because we do liposuction with fat grafting I do recommend drainage after my procedure to the areas of liposuction. I think it helps decrease swelling, bruising, and I think it makes your results better. [A patient goes] about once a week for six weeks. 

When do patients usually go back to work after a Brazilian butt lift, what do you do if you have a desk job?

I think people can go back to work after a BBL in two weeks. Usually they'll stay in town for about 10 days with me and then they'll go back and go back to work. If they have a desk job, I mean my employees have had the surgery and they have to go back to work, then they get the boppy pillow and they put it on their chair. They walk around with it, and then put it in whatever chair they're sitting in. The other thing is,  there are speciality chairs that you can buy. People will know that you're having something done. 

Watch Dr. Jimerson discuss running after a BBL and creating curves on petite women here:

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