Why I do ‘not’ offer non-surgical (injectable) buttock lifts as a first-line option – By Dr. Niro Sivathasan

Why I do ‘not’ offer non-surgical (injectable) buttock lifts as a first-line option – By Dr. Niro Sivathasan, Ignite Medispa Wollongong

The trend for a perkier and curvaceous derrière seems to be ‘growing’ over the last three to four years, all around the world but especially ‘Down’ Under.  The options for augmenting one’s bottom are non-surgical (with injectables) or surgical (using specifically designed implants, or by moving fat harvested during liposuction in a procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift).

An increasing number of doctors are injecting large volumes of filler into buttocks and claiming they are creating ‘butt lifting’.  However, there are a number of things to consider about the accuracy of this claim and the outcomes of this approach. 

About Injectable Buttock Lifts

Injectable buttock lifts are quick and easy procedures which may be performed in the doctor’s office.  They are relatively affordable (in the short-term), also, and they don’t involve a prolonged period of recovery.  Plus, some patients don’t want to have silicone buttock implants or they don’t have enough fat elsewhere for a fat-transfer procedure, so the use of fillers is appropriate.

One of the key problems is predictability: whilst nothing is guaranteed, elective medical procedures should have a good chance of a predictable outcome, and the outcome of a so-called injectable butt lift is incredibly difficult to predict.

The fillers typically used are temporary ones or biostimulatory ones (to stimulate growth of collagen), and some even inject permanent fillers, the latter being something I specifically and strongly do not recommend in this part of the body.  In countries like Britain, where regulations covering the cosmetic medical industry are probably the weakest in the developed world, random people are injecting temporary fillers because they are very easy to procure; however, in most parts of the world, when a non-surgical technique is chosen, it is a collagen-stimulating drug (e.g. poly-L-lactate) which is preferred. 

However, I don’t advise the use of any fillers, including biostimulants, as a first-line choice to volumize buttocks, and here’s why:

  • The result is exceptionally variable, in part because it depends on each person’s individual ability to generate collagen in response to the injected drugs and also because it’s very hard to know the anatomical location of the needle tip when injecting;
  • There is a notable risk of lumpiness, especially if the buttocks are not firmly massaged a few times per day, for a few minutes, over a few days.  People say 5-7 minutes at a time, 5-7 times per day, for 5-7 days, in order to optimize uniformity;
  • Multiple treatment episodes are needed before patients are satisfied; and even then, I’ve never seen consistently good ‘long-term’ results in terms of projection and shape of the buttocks.  Indeed, ‘only’ the use of buttock implants achieves predictable and long-lasting, good buttock contouring;
  • Contouring of adjacent areas by way of removal of, frequently stubborn, fat is not undertaken;

The ‘Brazilian butt lift’

It is also good to note that the term, ‘Brazilian butt lift’, is inaccurate because nothing is being lifted – it’s an illusion, since fat is removed from surrounding areas to accentuate the appearance of the hips and buttocks, and fuller buttocks have a higher take-off.  This is why there is a ‘perception’ of a lifted bottom.

Buttock Implants: “fuller”, better and longer lasting results

So, this is why I offer buttock implants as the ‘go to’ option for those seeking a fuller bum. Indeed, I choose a specific type of implant for this role, as it is important to avoid weak and deformable implants which may rotate – many shall have seen the videos of women ‘flipping butt implants’, for example on YouTube – and I place the implant under the muscle (as opposed to immediately under the skin/ fat.

Whilst the decision for buttock augmentation using silicone implants is the most expensive of the available options, it is the one that yields the greatest satisfaction and lasts the longest time (noting that large-volume injectable butt lifts are temporary, usually lasting 1-3 years, and that Brazilian butt lifts are semi-permanent, typically lasting 3-10 years and what is left of the latter has a risk of calcification (causing an irregular or ‘cobblestoned’ appearance). Please note that the appearance of buttocks changes as part of the normal ageing process, with weight-change, and so on.

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