Butt implants are artificial devices surgically placed in the buttocks to create volume in the area.
Also called buttock or gluteal augmentation, this procedure has grown increasingly popular in recent years. One estimate reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that buttock augmentation surgery has increased by 252 percent between the years 2000 and 2015.
The most popular types of buttock-related surgeries include butt lifts, implants, and augmentation with fat grafting.
Despite their popularity, butt implant surgeries aren’t without risk. Discuss the possible benefits and side effects, as well as any expected costs and recovery time, with a board-certified surgeon.
Butt implants have one primary goal: to enhance the shape of the buttocks. Still, there are a few different approaches to achieve this goal. The two main types of procedures are fat grafting and buttock implants.
Butt augmentation with fat grafting was the most popular cosmetic surgery for the buttocks in 2015. It’s also nicknamed the “Brazilian butt lift.”
During this procedure, your surgeon suctions another area of your body to obtain fat — usually the abdomen, flanks, or thighs — and injects it into the buttocks to add volume. This method is sometimes combined with silicone implants to achieve the most natural look possible.
Sculptra butt lift
In another procedure, a filler called Sculptra is injected into the soft tissue of the buttocks. This procedure is performed in a doctor’s office with almost no downtime.
The material adds a small volume at the time of injection, and over weeks to months, your body uses it to form additional collagen which may further increase the volume in that area.
It requires a few sessions to see a significant difference as well as multiple vials of the medication per session, which can be expensive.
Hydrogel and silicone buttock injections
You may have heard about hydrogel buttock shots as a cheaper method of augmentation. This method gives temporary results and doesn’t require a traditional surgical procedure. It’s also dangerous.
Like hydrogel injections, silicone injections don’t involve surgery and they also don’t directly change the shape of your buttocks.
While there’s some conversation about silicone injections being used in place of butt implants, this method is not recommended. In fact, silicone injections for the buttocks can be quite dangerous.
Silicone and other various materials are often injected illegally by unlicensed providers in nonmedical locations. Often, they inject silicone sealant and other materials that would be used in sealing bathrooms or tile floors. This is dangerous for many reasons: The product isn’t sterile and both the product and nonsterile injection can cause life-threatening or fatal infections. The materials are soft and don’t stay in a single location, leading to hard lumps called granulomas. If this product is injected into blood vessels, it can travel to the heart and lungs, causing death.
Silicone is the material used for butt implants. Unlike injections, solid silicone implants are surgically placed into the buttocks via an incision in between the butt cheeks.
This procedure is sometimes combined with fat grafting for maximum results. It takes up to four weeks to recover from buttock surgery.
Implants typically add volume. This is something that injections and fat grafting can’t do alone. Overall, silicone implants have been documented as safe and effective for buttock enhancement.
Implants are preferable for people with little fat as they may not have much to inject for a Brazilian butt lift.
In addition to fat grafting and implants, liposuction is sometimes used in buttock procedures. The process removes excess fat in certain areas of the buttocks to achieve maximum contouring.
You may qualify for liposuction with butt implants if you have excess fat in the area from weight loss or aging.
Overall, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has documented a 95.6 percent satisfaction rate concerning this type of surgery based on ratings. Despite the high success rate, butt implant surgery still poses risks. Some of the most common side effects include:
- excessive bleeding after surgery
- skin discoloration
- fluid or blood accumulation underneath the buttocks
- allergic reactions
- skin loss
- nausea and vomiting from anesthesia
It’s also possible for the silicone implants to move or slip out of place. This can leave you with an uneven appearance in the buttocks and requires surgery to fix it.
Fat grafting can also lead to asymmetry due to fat absorption in the body. Such effects may be fixed, but any follow-up surgeries come at an additional cost and downtime.
The FDA has not approved any type of injections for body contouring and augmentation purposes. These include hydrogel and silicone injections.
The agency notes that injections attempted for these types of procedures can lead to serious complications, including infection, scarring, and disfigurement, stroke, and death.
Any injections to the buttocks, including Sculptra, are considered off-label by the FDA.
Buttock implants and augmentation are considered permanent and the surgery has an overall high success rate.
However, it takes three to six months until you see full effects, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
You may also need follow-up surgery several years later to maintain your results. This is especially the case if the implants shift or break.
Buttock implants are on the rise, but this doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. You may be a good candidate for butt implants if you:
- recently lost weight and have also lost some of the natural shape of your buttocks
- feel that your natural shape is too flat or squarish
- think that your buttocks could use more curves to balance out the rest of your body shape
- want to fight natural signs of aging, such as sagginess and flatness
- don’t smoke tobacco
- lead a healthy lifestyle
Talk to a cosmetic surgeon or a doctor about your concerns to see if this procedure is a good fit for you.
Butt implants are considered an aesthetic, or cosmetic, procedure. These types of procedures aren’t deemed medically necessary and aren’t covered by insurance.
However, many providers offer payment plans for their clients. You may also be able to finance the procedure directly with your provider or through a low-interest loan.
It’s also important to know all the costs up front. Aside from the actual surgeon’s fee, you’ll also need to pay for any anesthesia and room fees separately.
According to 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average butt implant surgeon’s fee was $4,860. The national average for augmentation with grafting was slightly less at $4,356.
Surgeon fees can also vary based on where you live. You may want to consider comparing the costs with multiple board-certified providers in advance. You can also use this calculator to estimate costs in your area.
Butt implants are increasingly popular due to their efficacy and overall safety rate. Still, there’s a lot to consider before signing up for this type of surgery, including cost, recovery, and your overall health and desired effects.
Consult with a provider first to make sure you understand everything that’s involved with this type of surgery. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you find the right surgeon — just make sure your pick is experienced and board-certified.
Silicone and other materials that are injected illegally are not safe and can pose life-threatening complications. They are not san alternative to butt implants.