15 Things You Didn’t Know About Brazilian Butt Lifts

As someone who’s fascinated by cosmetic surgery despite never having had any, I’m constantly dishing to my friends about the latest bizarre treatment I’ve discovered by perusing Instagram hashtags.

And the biggest crowd pleaser is always the Brazilian butt lift.

“Are you kidding?!” people shriek when I explain to them that yes, you can pay a doctor to suck the fat from your stomach and jam it into your butt cheeks. “That’s insane! What the fuck! Where do I get one and how much does it cost?”

BBL sounds like some miracle surgery from outer space — I mean, who wouldn’t want to have their fat redistributed into the places where they actually want it? But like all surgeries, it’s intense and requires months of recovery time. It’s not something to go into blindly.

(Also like all surgeries, celebs are all about it — but we’re just a smidge too classy here to speculate on who has and hasn’t. Sorry!)

I needed to know more about BBL and body contouring, so Real Self hooked me up with Dr. Constantino G. Mendieta, a jolly plastic surgeon from Miami who’s all about butt lifts.

Over the course of our phone call, he referred to himself as both “a sommelier of butts” and “the world’s expert on the booty.” Some rappers would disagree on that second point, but whatevs. Here’s what I learned.

1. “Brazilian butt lift” is just a cuter name for body contouring.

The cast of the reality show “Dr. 90210” coined the term because Brazilians are known for their pert and sizable booties, Dr. Mendieta said. BBL is actually just a specific type of body contouring or sculpting — redistributing someone’s body fat for a more desirable shape.

2. For body sculpting doctors, fat is considered “liquid gold.”

“Fat, a cell we’ve despised for centuries, has become our best friend,” Dr. Mendieta said. “Fat is liquid gold in surgery. I can create different shapes using it — its almost like clay.”

3. If you want to get BBL, you might have to gain weight first.

Dr. Mendieta makes his skinnier patients put themselves through “booty camp” for a month. That means they need to stuff themselves with food so they gain 10 to 15 pounds — enough for him to harvest their fat.

4. Usually, only about 60% of the fat in a BBL procedure ends up staying in the butt.

The rest is absorbed by your body and you pee it out, Dr. Mendieta said. Hot.

5. Actual butt implants are outdated and not that common.

Most doctors would much rather use your actual body fat than a silicone or saline implant, because implants can harden, shift, or cause other not-that-chill side effects. Dr. Mendieta will only resort to an implant if a patient physically can’t gain enough weight to use his or her own fat.

6. J. Lo’s green Versace dress sparked a burst of interest in BBL.

The dress heard ’round the world is what really put butt lifts on the map.

“That singular event really started the boom of the buttock,” Dr. Mendieta said. Now, though, “Kim Kardashian has taken the torch and is leading the way in buttock interest.”

Patients who are going for more extreme results claim Kim and Nicki Minaj as their booty goals. Those who are more into shape than size will name-drop Jessica Biel and Pippa Middleton, Dr. Mendieta said.

7. BBL isn’t all about size.

One of the biggest misconceptions about butt augmentation and contouring is that the end result is always extremely large. That’s not so, Dr. Mendieta said. A lot of people just want things lifted and reshaped.

“It’s all within the surgeon’s control,” Dr. Mendieta said. “He can reshape things differently if he desires. It’s a true art, the sculpting of the buttock.”

8. Many people who’ve had BBL and body contouring pretend the changes in their bum came from working out.

“Everybody blames the gym,” Dr. Mendieta shrugged. “They leave me out of the equation.”

How can you tell if someone’s butt is from the gym vs. surgery? The gym can enlarge your butt but can’t change its shape, Dr. Mendieta said. Only contouring can do that.

9. BBL costs $10,000 and keeps you out of work for 10 days.

The procedure will take an hour and a half, and you’ll be bedridden for 10 days. It takes three to six months to see your final results, and for two of those months, you can’t sleep or lay on your butt. Plus, when sitting you’ll have to use a special pillow so there’s no pressure on your butt for the first couple months.

And yes, the surgery costs $10,000. Any cheaper than that, and you run the risk of botching your bum, Dr. Mendieta said.

10. People of all races are interested in BBL.

At Dr. Mendieta’s Miami practice, 30% of patients are black, 30% are Latin American, 30% are white, and 10% are Asian. He also says about 10% are men looking to reshape their bums. He’s even had the procedure done himself because he started to lose volume in his buns as he got older.

“I’ve got a nice butt now,” he informed me.

11. The butt is the new breast.

I’ve been saying this for years! And Dr. Mendieta confirmed it. From the 70s up through the early 00s, it was all about big, in-your-face boobs.

“People really focused on the breast as being the sexy organ of the body,” Dr. Mendieta said. “The advent of the breast implant was initially about size, and then people didn’t want them that big.”

You’ll rarely see boobs as the focal point of a woman’s silhouette anymore. Most girls I know would never be caught dead with in-your-face fake boobs, and they probably wouldn’t even wear a push-up bra. Boobs are passé.

Butt surgery, though, saw an 85% increase from 2014 to 2015, and booties are only getting bigger. They’ll definitely taper off at some point and people will go for a more moderate look the same way they did with breast implants.

12. BBL is even big in the Middle East.

Dr. Mendieta has been invited to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Dubai to talk about body contouring and butt augmentation. Even though many of the women in those areas are covered from head to toe when out in public, they still want to enhance their booties.

“You’d think plastic surgery would be taboo in the Middle East,” he said, “but it’s a huge surgery there.”

Europeans, who usually go for straight-up-and-down bodies, are also getting into BBL.

“It’s a tsunami of interest with the buttock,” Dr. Mendieta surmised.

13. Just like faces, butts have different shapes.

Butts fall into different shape categories. The A shape is the most desired, with a small waist and a little bit of hip at the bottom. A V-shaped butt is wider at the top of the hips and gets narrower at the top of the thighs. An H-shaped butt is more like a square, and a round or O-shaped butt is… exactly what you’d think.

If you don’t like the shape of your butt, body contouring can change that. But if you just want to enlarge it, working out can help.

14. Possible side effects include infection and fat embolism.

Dr. Mendieta says they’re rare, but these are scary-sounding enough to make you swear off the procedure.

What’s fat embolism you might ask? That’s when your fat gets into your blood stream then make it into your lungs. It can be lethal. Yikes. Boost your butt at your own risk, people.

15. Even worse side effects come from black market silicone injections.

When professionals like Dr. Mendieta get requests for really extreme enlargements, they might say no — and then patients will go underground and get silicone injections from beauty salon owners or Home Depot workers.

Please don’t do that. It’s a really bad idea. Your butt could turn grey and fall off. I’m not kidding.

In conclusion, if you want to get a proper butt lift, it takes a huge amount of effort. Know what you’re getting into beforehand. And if you just want to boost your bum size without resorting to surgery or cosmetic procedures, take it from me: Pilates works wonders.

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