Everything you've ever wanted to know about butt injections

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Bizarre Plastic Surgeries You Won't Believe Exist
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Butts have always been a thing to have, to hold, and to squeeze with glee, and lately, bare butts are shining in their own plump social-media glory. It's no surprise, then, that butt injections are having a moment, too, even though no one seems to know what they are. To navigate through the noise, the Cut spoke with Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City plastic surgeon who specializes in butt augmentation, and Dr. Constantino Mendieta, a Miami plastic surgeon who performs butt-implant surgery and fat transfers. Together, we created a primer to get to the jiggly meat of all your butt-injection questions.


Photo: Zeljko Santrac/Getty Images

What, exactly, are butt injections?
Butt-injection surgery is a medical procedure in which a substance is injected into the butt to make it larger. The only FDA-approved method is the Brazilian Butt Lift and its tailored variations, where fat is removed via liposuction from other parts of the body and transferred to the butt and hips to create a curvy silhouette. Dr. Schulman conducts a version the Brazilian Butt Lift known as the SCOOP Lift®, which uses a centrifuge to separate and remove broken fat cells before transferring them to the butt. He says this method allows for fewer fat cells to be rejected during the transfer.

What other "substances" do people inject into their butts?
Other fillers and injectables like silicone and collagen are not FDA-approved to enhance the butt and are linked to serious consequences, like severe pain, permanent disfigurement, and death.

How is the Brazilian Butt Lift different from butt implants?
According to Dr. Mendieta, butt implants pose a higher complication rate because there's an incision rupture risk (implants are inserted through the butt crack). Far less popular than the Brazilian Butt Lift, they only add volume instead of reshaping the butt, so if you went into surgery with a square butt, you'll leave surgery with a supersize square butt. There's also a chance they'll make your backside look like it's smuggling a Frisbee, as seen in this video. Butt implants differ from breast implants, in that they are made from a solid, gel-like silicone, instead of a liquid. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Butt Lift adds fat that isn't encased in an implant, which allows for a total reshaping of the hips and butt. The butt feels softer, too, where butt implants tend to feel like tightened muscles.

Can the fat move to other parts of the body?
No. Once the fat is transferred to the buttocks during a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure, it can't migrate to other parts of the body. However, Dr. Schulman estimates that 20 to 25 percent of the fat inserted will be rejected by the body, liquefied into an oil, and excreted through urine within six weeks. "It sounds gross, but it's almost like the fat surrounding a raw piece of chicken. If you smash the fat between your fingers, the fat will disintegrate and become oil," he says. After the initial 20 to 25 percent fat loss, the results are permanent and will only diminish if you lose weight.

Who is the ideal candidate for the Brazilian Butt Lift or a butt implant?
It varies from person to person, but prime candidates for the Brazilian Butt Lift are slightly overweight, with a BMI ranging from somewhere around 25 to 30 (a person with a BMI over 30 is considered obese and carries a greater risk for surgery complications). Dr. Mendieta puts it this way: "If you can pinch at least an inch of fat in your gut, then you can probably undergo the surgery." Butt implants, however, are for anyone, especially very thin individuals who lack enough fat for the Brazilian Butt Lift.

What happens if you lose weight?
Sometimes thinner patients intentionally gain weight in anticipation of the procedure. Dr. Schulman advocates against this because it forces patients to maintain their heavier weight post-surgery, rounder face and all, if they hope to prolong the surgery's results. If patients lose weight after surgery, their newly purchased butt will likely diminish in size as well.

How long has this procedure been around?
The first Brazilian Butt Lift was performed over two decades ago, but Dr. Schulman says demand for the surgery skyrocketed within the past five or six years. According to the latest data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 10,000 butt enhancements were performed in 2013.

What is the most requested butt shape?
Dr. Schulman says that most of his patients ask for an "upside-down heart" shape. Sofia Vergara and Jessica Biel butts are the most requested in his office. Rounder "C" butts, like Nicki Minaj's or Kim Kardashian's, are less popular.

What are the risks for the Brazilian Butt Lift and implants?
Any surgery poses risks, and butt surgery is no different. A fat embolism, where fat is injected directly into a blood vessel and blocks an artery, is a very rare consequence of the Brazilian Butt Lift. Although it is impossible for a butt implant to leak (they are made from a thick, gummy-bear-like silicone), they can harden over time or become infected if the implant incision accidentally opens.

How long is the recovery time?
For the Brazilian Butt Lift, the recovery time depends on the amount of fat removed and then transferred. Dr. Schulman tells his patients to expect seven to ten days of discomfort. After two to three weeks, the pain should dissipate entirely. Pain from implants should go away after a month.

How much does all of this cost?
Though the price varies from state to state and practice to practice, anything less than $9,000 for a Brazilian Butt Lift should raise red flags. Implants are a little more expensive, with prices ranging from $10,000 for a basic surgery and up to $20,000 at Dr. Mendieta's practice, where he prefers to modify traditional butt-implant surgery by adding a small amount of liposuctioned fat around the hips and implants. In any case, always seek a board-certified plastic surgeon before going under the knife.

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Everything you've ever wanted to know about butt injections
In this Oct. 24, 2014 photo, Jennifer Lopez, left, and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at CBS Radio's second annual We Can Survive concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. American companies are cashing in on growing demand from women seeking the more curvaceous figures of their favorite stars, like Lopez and Azalea, who regularly flaunt their fuller rear ends. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2014 file photo, Iggy Azalea performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York. American companies are cashing in on growing demand from women seeking the more curvaceous figures of their favorite stars, like Azalea, who regularly flaunt their fuller rear ends. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2013 file photo, hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the Power 105.1's Powerhouse Concert at the Barclays Center in New York. American companies are cashing in on growing demand from women seeking the more curvaceous figures of their favorite stars, like Minaj, who regularly flaunt their fuller rear ends. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP)
In this Oct. 29, 2014 photo, Jessica Asmar, owner of Feel Foxy, repositions a mannequin wearing a pair of padded panties in the studio at her Katy, Texas warehouse. Asmar says 2014 has been its best year since launching nearly a decade ago. Sales are up 40 percent from a year ago. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
In this Oct. 29, 2014 photo, Jessica Asmar, owner of Feel Foxy, adjusts padded panties on a mannequin in the studio at her Katy, Texas warehouse. Asmar says 2014 has been its best year since launching nearly a decade ago. Sales are up 40 percent from a year ago. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Nicki Minaj poses in the press room at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Nicki Minaj arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Waka Flocka performs at the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park, on Friday, March 28, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP)
Waka Flocka performs at the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park, on Friday, March 28, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP)
Nicki Minaj performs at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -4/9/13 - “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member KENYA MOORE shows the hosts some moves from her “Booty Boot Camp” workout DVD on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, KENYA MOORE, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -4/9/13 - “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member KENYA MOORE shows the hosts some moves from her “Booty Boot Camp” workout DVD on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) KENYA MOORE, KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 29: Model Rachel Hilbert, rapper Iggy Azalea and model Elsa Hosk pose for a photo at Victoria's Secret 'PINK Nation Crazy For Campus' bash at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) on October 29, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Singer Jennifer Lopez (L) and singer/songwriter Iggy Azalea perform onstage during CBS Radio's We Can Survive at the Hollywood Bowl (presented by 5 Hour Energy) on October 24, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Singer Jennifer Lopez (L) and singer/songwriter Iggy Azalea perform onstage during CBS Radio's We Can Survive at the Hollywood Bowl (presented by 5 Hour Energy) on October 24, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, Kelly Brabants, rear center, leads her "Booty by Brabants" class at The Club by George Foreman III gym in Boston. The class, started by Brabants a year ago, fits in 120 squats in 45 minutes. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, Kelly Brabants leads her "Booty by Brabants" class at The Club by George Foreman III gym in Boston. The class, started by Brabants a year ago, fits in 120 squats in 45 minutes. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, Kelly Brabants leads her "Booty by Brabants" class at The Club by George Foreman III gym in Boston. The class, started by Brabants a year ago, fits in 120 squats in 45 minutes. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, Kelly Brabants, foreground, leads her "Booty by Brabants" class at The Club by George Foreman III gym in Boston. The class, started by Brabants a year ago, fits in 120 squats in 45 minutes. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Singer Jennifer Lopez (L) and singer/songwriter Iggy Azalea perform onstage during CBS Radio's We Can Survive at the Hollywood Bowl (presented by 5 Hour Energy) on October 24, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez attends 92nd Street Y Presents: Jennifer Lopez in Conversation with Hoda Kotb at 92nd Street Y on November 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Jennifer Lopez arrives at the 2014 LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Barbara Kruger And Quentin Tarantino Presented By Gucci at LACMA on November 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Singer Beyonce Knowles is seen on November 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by NCP/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Beyoncé Knowles attends the Topshop Topman New York City flagship opening dinner at Grand Central Terminal on November 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Singer Beyonce Knowles attends the Topshop Topman New York City Flagship Opening Dinner at Grand Central Terminal on November 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 12: Beyonce performs during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at the Stade de France on September 12, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Myrna Suarez/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Beyonce performs onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Beyonce Knowles Poses at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
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