A Brazilian Butt Lift, more commonly known as a “BBL”, is an intense procedure which requires an extensive recovery period. Patience, attention to detail, and lots of extra care are necessary to heal comfortably and as easily as possible. However, it doesn’t have to be a daunting journey — patients who educate themselves and closely follow their surgeon’s instructions are more successful making it through the healing period. Knowing what to expect and preparing beforehand lowers the risk of post-op complications and eases patient anxiety.
A BBL is a two-step procedure that uses liposuction to graft fat from other parts of the body (specifically the back, inner thighs, and midsection) to the buttocks to create an hourglass body contour. The surgeon performs liposuction to harvest fat from the grafting sites, using a narrow tube to break down the fat cells before suctioning them out. Next, using a small needle, the fat will be directly injected into the desired areas. Patients decide on the designated fat grafting sites with their surgeon, choosing parts of the body with sufficient excess fat. These sites are often strategically chosen to enhance the hourglass shape further.
This procedure requires a minimum of two weeks of full downtime away from work and normal activities. The entire recovery period lasts around four to six weeks, though the full length can vary from person to person. Patients typically experience soreness for the few first days after a BBL procedure. Swelling and bruising are common side effects that may last up to a month. Altering such a vast part of the body–the gluteus maximus being the biggest muscle in the body, it also contains the largest veins–means patients should be ready to adjust their lifestyle accordingly until they are completely healed. Researching an experienced and certified surgeon is the first step in reducing the risk of complications, but it’s also up to the patient to diligently care for their bodies after the procedure. A key benefit of the recovery period is to ensure the maximum amount of fat cells survive, which allows the patient to keep their new shape.
Patients should arrange for someone to pick them up from their procedure and find support for any child or pet care for the first few days. (Once cleared by your surgeon, try the Tushbaby Hipseat Baby Carrier to keep from stressing the area!) Exercise and strenuous activity should be avoided for about six weeks. Patients need to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to avoid restriction of the surgical sites. Your doctor will provide any necessary compression garments to wear under the clothing – these garments were designed to encourage healthy healing and blood flow. Special pillows are also made to help BBL patients sit and sleep without adding pressure.
The surgeon will provide specific instructions for optimal post-operative care, including a routine for advanced scar management past the initial healing period. The surgical team should always be available to closely monitor recovery in the weeks and months following surgery. Above all, patients should exercise restraint and not skip the extended healing protocol as their BBL settles into place. Though there will be an immediately noticeable difference, the final results can take up to six months to fully emerge as the grafted fat stabilizes. Recovery is a journey best approached with care, time, and diligence while paying close attention to your body.
BBL Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Ask your surgeon questions.
Speak up if you’re unsure or curious about any part of the procedure or recovery period. Your surgical team is there to support you, and you should feel comfortable to reach out if you are concerned about complications.
Reasons to call your doctor include:
- Excessively red, warm, or irritated buttocks
- Drainage that seems infected or pus-filled
- A fever over 101°F
- Significant bleeding or drainage from incisions
- Grapefruit-sized abdominal swelling
- Inability to urinate in the first 12 hours post-surgery
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
DO: Stop smoking and avoid alcohol.
It’s essential to keep your body in optimal health as it recovers, and smoking and alcohol can compromise the immune system.
DO: Take your prescribed medications.
Taking the full course of prescribed antibiotics is a MUST, and the only way to avoid infection. Pain management medication should always be taken as instructed.
DO: Create a BBL recovery kit.
Many patients find that creating a post-op kit can relieve anxiety and prepare them for successful healing. BBL recovery supplies can be anything that will make the patient’s recovery journey as trouble-free as possible. Common items to include in the kit are loose-fitting clothing, sitting and sleep aids, water bottles, nutritional supplements, scar tape, bandages, and all prescribed medications (which should be filled prior to surgery) and any natural pain relief remedies.
DO: Partake in light exercise, gradually increasing over time.
Starting the day of surgery, light walking about three times daily will help blood circulation and reduce the chance of clotting. More rigorous exercise can begin after about four weeks.
DON’T: Soak in water, including baths.
Patients should avoid baths, hot tubs, pools, and natural bodies of water to avoid bacteria that may cause infection.
DON’T: Skip bathing altogether.
Though BBL patients shouldn’t take baths, keeping the surgical sites clean and dry is imperative. Patients will need to shower 24 hours after their operation. Your doctor will specify how to clean the wounds and reapply dressings such as bandages or scar sheeting.
DON’T: Go at it alone.
BBLs are invasive surgeries that require an extended amount of downtime. Patients should arrange for someone to pick them up from the operation and seek assistance from a friend, loved one, or nurse for the first few days when mobility is difficult.
DON’T: Ignore your body.
Many people are tempted to use the recovery period as a mini vacation. While resting and relaxing during this time is important, basic nutrition and wellness are even more of a priority than normal. Any major surgery depletes the body’s nutrients by responding to the wounds, so patients should try and maintain a healthy diet filled with vitamins and nutrients. Speak with your doctor about nutritional supplements like magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc that can assist in the healing process.