Record-High Numbers Of Women Are Getting A Brazilian Butt Lift, But The 3-Hour Procedure Isn't For The Faint Of Heart

Our culture's perception of the perfect female figure will always change with each generation. In the 1990s the rail-thin, nearly emaciated look of supermodels (i.e. Kate Moss) was considered famous. Today the ideal version of beauty looks a little different.

By Gina Florio3 min read
kim bbl

Curvy is definitely in right now. Women who have small waists and large butts have been praised for their voluptuous figure, and nobody can deny that the epic rise of the Kardashians played a huge role in this seismic cultural shift. Those who weren't naturally born with this kind of physique are even opting in for major cosmetic surgery to achieve the look. In fact, we're seeing a record-high number of women choosing to receive the Brazilian butt lift (BBL). The Huffington Post reported on the matter and interviewed a few different women who chose to get the procedure.

Record-High Numbers of Women Are Getting a Brazilian Butt Lift

The coveted hourglass is just as achievable as larger breasts now, thanks to Brazilian plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguay, who created the procedure in the 1960s. The BBL enlarges the butt by adding fat that's removed from certain areas of the body, which is an added bonus for many women who want to remove fat from specific areas. A plastic surgeon Dr. Wright Jones told the Huffington Post that the surgery is more about "filling the butt" than lifting it.

"A more appropriate term would probably be a Brazilian butt fill," he explained. "We’re filling the butt with fat and we’re adding volume, which inflates and lifts the butt.”

2015 was the year when BBL surgeries started to skyrocket, shortly after Kim Kardashian's infamous Paper magazine cover in November 2014. Her bare butt became the talk of the town and her sisters also opted in for the same look. Soon enough, everyone wanted to follow suit and buy themselves a huge bum. In 2015, there was a BBL performed every 30 minutes.

In 2015, there was a BBL performed every 30 minutes.

This number has only continued to grow. In 2021, more than 61,000 BBLs were performed, which was a 37% increase from 2020. That equaled $2,458 million in revenue, and between 2015 and 2019, the overall number of BBL surgeries increased by a whopping 90%, according to Business Insider. Considering the fact that plastic surgeries and cosmetic procedures are on the rise in general, it doesn't look like these numbers will slow down anytime soon.

The Procedure Is Long and Has a Difficult Recovery

Although it sounds fairly simple – take fat from somewhere you don't want and put it somewhere you do want it – the procedure is intense and requires a long road of recovery. 28-year-old Bria Bryant paid $20,000 for her BBL, including the actual surgery and recovery needs. She traveled to Miami to have the surgery done. It was a three-hour procedure into which she had to go without having anything to eat or drink since the night before.

When she woke up from the surgery in a gurney, she wasn't able to move at all and needed 24/7 care. When she left the hospital, she had to be carted around in a rental truck where she could lay on her stomach because she wasn't able to sit on her new butt quite yet. She had no control of her bladder and was peeing constantly; luckily, one of her best friends, Roxanne, stayed with her at the Airbnb while she was recovering, and she was able to wait on her hand and foot.

“I could not bend any type of part of my body whatsoever. Getting in and out of bed was the worst part of it all,” Bryant told the Huffington Post. “Roxanne had to take me to the bathroom; she had to bathe me. At one point, I put a diaper on, which did absolutely nothing. It literally soaks through everything. You never realize how much you take for granted, and sitting is one of them.”

Healing is apparently not a linear process, and the recovery process will look different for everyone, depending on the inflammation and the characteristics of their skin. Bryant had to wear a compression garment for 22 hours a day for the first six weeks; the purpose was to maintain the fat where it was so it didn't migrate to other parts of the body. For the first 12 weeks of recovery, she had to get 40 lymphatic massages and could only sit on a special pillow with a horizontal cushion that put all the pressure under her thighs instead of her new buttocks.

She says she's happy with the results. "I do feel like I need a tummy tuck because I have a child and the liposuction [portion of the BBL procedure] didn’t really get what it needed to get,” Bryant said. “It’s very natural. Someone can’t look at me and be like, ‘She had surgery’ or ‘That looks ridiculous.’”

Some Women Reverse Their BBL

Social media influencer Neyleen Ashley felt pressured to get a BBL because of the physical perfection she saw around her in Miami. She got a breast enhancement when she was only 18 years old, and at 28 years old she also opted in for a BBL. But it didn't really turn out as expected.

“[My family] would tell me, ‘Your butt just looks so big. It doesn’t look natural,’” Ashley said. “I think that that affected me too, but I just kind of was like, ‘I'm getting likes on Instagram because of it.’”

She decided to have it reversed because she didn't like how people stared at her when she was with her kids.

She ended up deciding to have it reversed because she didn't like how people stared at her, especially when she was with her kids. “I feel like I didn’t really realize how big and how much filler I had put into my lips. When I got my lips dissolved, I saw how happy I looked and how my smile was brighter and I looked more like myself, like I had aged [backwards]," she said.

She had to inject deoxycholic acid into her butt to dissolve the added fat, but this is not the recommended way to reverse the BBL. It can actually take multiple procedures to safely remove the extra fat from the BBL. But Ashely is doing whatever it takes to return to her natural figure and she's documenting the whole journey on social media.

Closing Thoughts

While the promise of a bigger butt may sound exciting at first, it's a procedure that shouldn't be taken lightly and can sometimes result in disaster. Trends come and go, and it probably won't be long before we see the huge butt go out of fashion. It's probably best to keep your natural figure and naturally enhance what you can through exercise (yes, you can get a bigger butt by lifting weights!) and flattering clothes.

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