What are the chances of a fat embolism happening from or during a brazilian butt lift fat transfer?

How do you prevent this from happening ? Are the chances high ? How do you even know if you're hitting a vein or artery before injecting ? This is one of the main things that scare me. I'm really looking to get this procedure done but not if I'm going to die ! I have a new baby and husband to come home too.

Doctor Answers 4

Fat embolism during Brazilian Butt Lift

Fat Embolism is a risk during the fat transfer done in a Brazilian Butt lift.    In my legal practice I have been called upon to examine and evaluate 5 such events.   In all 5 there was major illness and in one there was death.  What we have found here in the Stanford realm of influence is that all 5 fat embolisms occurred when the surgeon injected fat into the gluteus muscle.    This muscle contains a large venous plexus of vessels and if fat is inadvertently injected into this venous plexus it will go to the lung and be an embolism.   Although the injection of fat into the muscle continues as a common practice, I strongly recommend that this not be done.  In my practice fat is injected only into the existing buttocks fat and the result is very gratifying both in take and in artistic aesthetic result.    We have never had a fat embolism.    When the fat is transferred into the buttocks fat an embolism is nearly impossible.   One argument for muscle injection is that it results in a better take.  While this may be true I think the benefit is minimal and at the potential price of a fat embolism.   So this is where I stand on fat embolism risk and this is what I teach the Stanford residents.  In aesthetic surgery SAFETY is the one consideration that stands far and away above all else.   Of course next is a beautiful result and a happy patient.  But there must be SAFETY.   Every morning as I scrub in for my first case my mind thinks and dwells on SAFETY, SAFETY, AND SAFETY.   The rest of all good events then follows along.  My Best,  Dr C

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fat embolism and BBL

A fat embolism is very rare and while it can happen with BBL, it can also happen with any liposuction procedure. It is a very rare occurrence. Dr. Commons' comments are very pertinent. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Fat Embolism

Dr. Commons who answered the question is right on the mark. This is an honest clear true straight foreword answer.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

What are the chances of a fat embolism happening from or during a brazilian butt lift fat transfer?

I have not seen a fat embolus or a pulmonary embolus in the thousands of liposuctions and Brazilian buttlift procedures I have performed.  It would be a very rare event.

Find a board certified plastic surgeon who performs hundreds of Brazilian buttlifts each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.