Butt-Augmentation Injections: Cost, Safety, and Aftercare
Are Butt Injections the New BBLs?
With conversations about beauty treatments, or "tweakments," becoming less taboo and celebrities sharing what procedures they've had done, it only makes sense that the interest in plastic surgery has increased.
The Brazilian butt lift, for example, has exploded in popularity over the last few years for its ability to significantly alter the size and shape of the recipient's backside. However, the surgery is notoriously dangerous. "BBLs are typically noted to have the highest risks and complications in the field of plastic surgery," Smita Ramanadham, MD, FCAS, previously told POPSUGAR. The procedure's death rate is about one in every 3000 procedures, making it one of the deadliest plastic-surgery procedures on the market.
As a result, another procedure has become a popular alternative: butt injections. "Depending on the type, butt injections can be used for patients that want a more pronounced augmentation of the buttock, want to address hip dips, or want more projection or fullness," Dr. Ramanadham says. "They can be used for small or large areas and can also be combined with liposuction to improve the overall contour of the waist and buttock."
Keep reading for Dr. Ramanadham's breakdown of everything you should know about different types of butt injections, including the cost of and downtime from the procedure.
Different Butt-Injections Options
There are two types of butt injections: fat grafting and Sculptra injections (a brand of filler). "For fat-grafting injections, this procedure is performed in conjunction with liposuction from the abdomen, back, or other parts that are of concern to the patient," Dr. Ramanadham says. "During this treatment, the fat is processed in a sterile manner and reinjected into the subcutaneous space of the buttock."
The other options available are filler injections, which are the more popular nonsurgical option used for the enhancement. Of the ones available, Dr. Ramanadham particularly likes Sculptra injections. "The filler used in Sculptra injections are comprised of poly-l-lactic acid," Dr. Ramanadham says. "Once the acid is in its liquid form, it is injected into the area of concern and is replaced by collagen over four to six weeks. Multiple sessions may be required for Sculptra in particular."
The difference between Sculptra and other dermal fillers (like Juvederm or Kybella) is that the latter holds its shape, whereas the former diffuses more easily across larger areas. It's best to discuss your options with your doctor during your consultation.
How Invasive Are Butt Injections?
The invasiveness of each procedure also depends on the type of injection received. "Fat grafting is an invasive surgical procedure that is typically combined with other surgical procedures. Sculptra injections are noninvasive, since it is a filler that is injected into the buttock region," Dr. Ramanadham says.
For Sculptra, needles or cannulas (a thin, flexible tube,) are typically used for the filler injections. Fat grafts typically also use cannulas — but ones that are larger in diameter — during the surgery.
How Much Do Butt Injections Cost?
Since these procedures are cosmetic, they are typically not covered by insurance. "In very rare instances, if a patient's contour deformity was due to a medical issue such as tumor removal or other injury, your insurance may cover fat transfer," Dr. Ramanadham says. "Sculptra injections, however, are not covered."
The cost for Sculptra injections can start at $1000 per vial, with anywhere from five to 10 (or more) vials needed during each session. Fat transfers can start at $10,000, but this cost varies based on practice, location, and the surgeon's level of expertise.
Downtime After Butt Injections
The time it takes to recover from butt injections varies — it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the procedure. Patients need to limit both pressure on the injection site and sitting or lying on the area. "This is vital with fat transfer to prevent loss of the fat cells," Dr. Ramanadham says.
Should you decide to do this procedure, it's important to make arrangements for childcare and work and to have someone available to help at home. This is especially crucial immediately after the more invasive surgeries, as your mobility may be limited.
How Long Do Butt Injections Last?
The time it takes to do each procedure varies (approximately 30 minutes to one hour for Sculptra, depending on the area, and a few hours for fat grafts, since it's a bigger surgery that usually involves additional procedures). One thing to also keep in mind is how long the results last.
"Sculptra will dissolve on its own over time and can last up to two years on average, whereas fat transfer is permanent — but this varies with patients," Dr. Ramanadham says. "Additionally, there can be normal fat loss of 40 to 50 percent within six months to one year from surgery."
If you're unhappy with your results, there are options for reversing them. "For fat grafts, they can be removed with liposuction; however, this is not ideal. The results can also decrease with weight loss in some circumstances," Dr. Ramanadham says.
Risks With Butt Injections
As with any cosmetic procedure, there are risks associated with butt injections. Commonly used materials in butt injections — including hydrogel and silicone — can travel to other parts of the body, leading to granuloma lumps, which can form as the body's response to infection. Other complications can include disfigurement and scarring.
It is essential to see a qualified provider for your procedure. Untrained providers can accidentally inject the materials into your blood vessels, which can be deadly. To minimize any risk complications from an ill-equipped doctor, make sure to do your research on qualified physicians.
How to Choose a Doctor For Butt Injections
When choosing a provider, note that a fat transfer should only be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. "These procedures offer significant risks if performed by surgeons or doctors that are not experts," Dr. Ramanadham says. "Sculptra should also be performed by plastic surgeons or certified injectors that have received the appropriate training to use these products safely."
If you're looking for a place to start, research the procedures on official plastic surgery sites, such as plasticsurgery.org — the official website of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons — or surgery.org, the official website of the Aesthetic Society. "The members of these societies are board-certified plastic surgeons, and information contained on these websites is straight from us," Dr. Ramanadham says. "Prospective patients should look at details of the procedures as well as the results to see if this meets their goals."
Bottom line: if you are considering any sort of butt augmentation, it is important to know exactly what you are looking to get out of the procedure. If you're looking into alternatives to a Brazilian Butt Lift, butt injections might be worth adding to your list of procedures to research.