After your Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery, your skin and tissue will need to heal properly to provide beautiful, natural-looking results. You will need to see your plastic surgeon for follow-up appointments, follow his/her instructions to care for your buttocks and give yourself time to rest so that you can enjoy your new well-rounded backside. It is important to work with a surgeon who is willing to be there for you every step of the process. Personally, I facilitate my cell phone number to all my patients for their use during the post-operative period. Patients can call me when they are experiencing any kind of complications, text message me their questions and concerns, and/or even send pictures over the phone, profiting from these modern technology communication tools.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), proper post-operative care and healthy lifestyle habits can significantly impact BBL surgery success and the appearance of your results (1). Usually, a highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeon will achieve around 65% to 85% survival rate of the fat cells, and the rest will be harmlessly reabsorbed by the body (2). However, patients can actively contribute a great deal on the success of the procedure and longevity of the results by following their surgeon’s recovery recommendations. Since no one case is exactly the same as other, plastic surgeons have different post-operative protocols, customized for each patient’s needs and specific requirements.
After surgery, I typically suggest my patients following a balanced diet which includes foods high in fiber (such as raw fruits and vegetables) and drinking plenty of water and fluids, since both pain medication (usually prescribed for BBL patients) and decreased activity may promote constipation. Starting the night of the surgery, it is important that patients try to do some light walking, to help prevent any blood clot formation in the legs. Your surgeon may recommend taking anticoagulant medication and wearing anti-embolism stockings, as well. Taking supplements like iron if you feel fatigued, and vitamin C to boost your body’s ability to heal are highly beneficial during BBL’s recovery. Additionally, avoiding cigarettes and heavy drinking is important because these habits will reduce circulation throughout the body, leading to the degradation of new cells (3).
Another fundamental measure I typically endorse after BBL surgery is wearing specialized compression garments around the clock (except for showering) during six months, to reduce swelling and help their skin contract smoothly to their new body’s contours. Since ill-fitting garments can lead to contour irregularities, I advise my patients about the correct method of using them, to limit folds and creases in the garments, and regularly check if they are worn properly (4). Additionally, at least ten lymphatic drainage massage sessions are required, starting 24 hours after the procedure, to eliminate excess lymph fluid, alleviate swelling and discomfort, and also prevent complications such as seromas (fluid collection) and contour irregularities (indentations, and/or fibrosis).
Getting plenty of rest will also help you remain comfortable and shorten your recovery. I suggest my patients stomach sleeping for least the first 8 weeks after BBL surgery, having different pillows at hand and changing their neck’s position from time to time, to feel more comfortable in bed. Side sleeping can also be an option, but only if you feel certain you won’t end up on your back. Most of your weight will be on the front of one of your hips. Your legs will be sprawled out, and you can place a pillow in between them to make it more comfortable. In my experience, patients who successfully avoid sitting or putting pressure on their buttocks or stretching for the first 8 weeks after their surgery are much more likely to have long-lasting results than patients who fail to follow this advice.
Figure 2: Before and After Brazilian Butt Lift with 4D VASER High-Definition Liposuction by Emmanuel De La Cruz M.D.
(1) “Buttock Augmentation”. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. www.plasticsurgery.org
(2) Fisher, C., et al. “Comparison of Harvest and Processing Techniques for Fat Grafting and Adipose Stem Cell Isolation”. Plastic Reconstructive Surgery. 2013 Aug; 132(2):351-61.
(3) “Smoking and Surgery”. Costhetics. http://www.costhetics.com.au
(4) “Unfavorable Outcomes of Liposuction and their Management”. US National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov