A recent trend on social media, particularly on TikTok, shows people jokingly mimicking the slow movements of a patient who has just undergone Brazillian Butt Lift surgery (BBL).
This is one of several trending videos that can be found under the hashtag #BBL that’s gaining traction online. There are people who share the various stages of their transformation after surgery with their followers, and there are those who share their stories of how they got BBL, how they found a surgeon, and how they prepared.
Called the “BBL effect,” this social media trend is sparking new conversations about a procedure that was shrouded with controversies a few years ago.
According to Dr. Patrick Hsu of Memorial Plastic Surgery, the main reason interest in BBL hasn’t waned is due to the efforts of various agencies led by plastic surgeons who have committed to developing specific technical safety guidelines to safely offer BBL.
As one of the leading BBL specialists in Houston, Texas, Dr. Hsu is an active advocate for BBL safety. Catering to a worldwide clientele, Dr. Hsu is regarded for his surgical precision and meticulous attention to detail.
The Dangers of BBL
A Brazillian Butt Lift (BBL) surgically improves the shape and volume of the buttocks by using a patient’s natural fat by giving them a curvy figure that is often difficult to achieve through diet and exercise alone.
In 2015, a study led by a Mexico-based plastic surgeon caught the entire industry’s attention worldwide. The study looked into an alarming number of deaths from BBL procedures performed in Mexico and Colombia for 10 and 15 years, respectively. It found that, in all cases, fat was injected into the gluteal muscles. The fat then entered the blood vessels and lungs, resulting in a fatal pulmonary fat embolism (PFE).
The BBL Task Force
In January 2018, a multi-society task force representing board-certified plastic surgeons around the world published a set of guidelines for performing BBL safely. Listed in the memorandum is the importance of ensuring fat is placed in the superficial subcutaneous space or over the muscle and not in the deeper muscles where large vessels are present and increase the risk for fat embolism.
However, the Task Force also reminds surgeons that it is still very easy to penetrate the muscle when injecting subcutaneously. They must remain mentally focused and alert, aware of the cannula tip at every moment, to follow the intended trajectory through the skin.
Warning Against Unsupervised, Alternative Practices
However, even with these guidelines, the risks of BBL, as with any surgical procedure, remain. Cases have been reported of surgeons claiming to have injected above the muscle, only to find out later that they had injected behind it.
For this reason, some patients seek available non-surgical options. During the consultation, surgeons offer alternative procedures (or a combination of different treatments) to help people achieve their specific goals.
Dr. Hsu cautions against uncontrolled practices by individuals who are neither doctors nor medical professionals.
These procedures are often performed in hotel rooms or home basements and involve the injection of several questionable substances to improve the size and shape of the buttocks.
In their quest to find alternative treatments, patients who opt for these under-the-radar procedures increase their susceptibility to implant-related deaths and other adverse side effects such as skin necrosis, infection, and deformity.
How to Find the Right Surgeon for BBL
The BBL is a complex surgical procedure that a board-certified plastic surgeon should only perform. It is advisable to research and meet with the surgeon in advance to discuss the patient’s goals, know about their experience, and discuss their techniques and methods. These consultations help the patient feel more comfortable with their surgeon.
Dr. Hsu also provides some tips for finding the right surgeon for BBL:
- The plastic surgeon must be highly experienced in performing liposuction procedures
- The plastic surgeon must be familiar with different augmentation techniques as the BBL is customized for each patient
- The plastic surgeon must be familiar with the latest methods to perform the fat transfer on the buttocks safely
If you are interested in getting a BBL, visit Dr. Hsu’s website to learn more about the procedure. You can also visit his Instagram page (@patrickhsumd) to see more before and after photos of his BBL patients.