In Africa and many other parts of the world, there has been a growing desire for women to grow big nyash. It can be safely argued that most African women have long held the title of most abundant in the gluteus maximus department. It is well known that African culture exalts full figures above all and a full bum bum is greatly desired by many women. Lately, it has been viewed as one of the ultimate signs of beauty on a woman.
Over the past several years, there has been an increased social focus on the ‘booty’. Open your Instagram or Facebook right now and you are sure to see an image of some young woman posing with her bottom prominently featured. Enhancing curves, increasing bottoms, sculpting various parts has been an aim for many to achieve an almost ‘perfect’ physique.
Social media may have added much of the pressure. Also, the fact that getting the body akin to voluptuous ladies such as Serwaa, Yvonne, Jocelyn, Kelly Bhaddie or Paulina has become as easy as booking a dentist appointment, many women are prepared to do whatever it takes to earn the title of the one with the biggest ‘bum bum’.
But to what length will women go to achieve their aim? Is surgery the answer for all? Let’s discuss this growing phenomenon and the pro’s and con’s of natural vs. enhanced.
Why do women go in for BBL?
There are many reasons why a woman may want to change her natural physique. It can be pressure from family, insecurities or just wanting to feel better about herself. In some cases, even married women- whose husbands, family members, and friends think they look stunning- have opted for cosmetic surgery or enhancements in their quest for the perfect body they desire. This choice may result from the desire to lose excess body fat gained after having babies or to bring their body back to its original state after years of weight fluctuation.
Generally, women may want to lose excess body fat or add fat to parts of their body where they believe they aren’t voluptuous enough. In extreme cases, some women may go for cosmetic surgery to gain a competitive advantage over others.
For instance, celebrity Cardi B revealed that before becoming a famous musician, she was a stripper and had to get a filler injection in her buttocks because her colleague strippers with bigger bottoms earned more than her. There are several other reasons why women get cosmetic surgery. The leading cause of this, especially in the case of Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), is the influence of famous persons or celebrities who get BBL surgery and display their new physique on social media.
What is BBL?
BBL is an acronym for Brazilian Butt Lift. So what’s in a name? Is BBL a Brazilian thing? The origin of the name BBL can be traced back to 1996, when a certified plastic surgeon liposuctioned fat from a patient and injected it into the patient’s gluteal region. This operation was featured on the Learning Channel, and because the patient was Brazilian, the segment was titled “Building the Brazilian Butt.” This is the origin of the term Brazilian Butt Lift. Aside from the fact that BBL did not start in Brazil but was only first performed on a Brazilian woman, the other two words in BBL, butt lift, can be misleading since literally, no lifting takes place.
The BBL operation is not restricted to the butt but also includes reshaping other body parts such as the hip, the gluteal region, the lower back, and the posterior thigh. By the science behind this operation, ‘subcutaneous buttock augmentation’ is perhaps a better name. In BBL surgery, surgeons inject fat transferred from body parts to other parts. Patients will likely feel some bruising, pain, and discomfort in the area of the surgery and are told not to sit directly on their buttocks for three weeks.
Early scientists reasoned that fat transplanted into muscle should have a good chance of survival because muscles have a good blood flow. This was confirmed by tests on rats but has never been confirmed in humans. A more in-depth look into the science behind BBL shows that muscle may not be a great substitute for subcutaneous fat- as other factors apart from blood flow matters. Over the years, there have been improvements in the procedure, but it has not attracted much scientific research and scrutiny.
Pros of BBL
So what are the benefits of going under the knife or sculpting the body? Well, the reality is that patients achieve their dream physique when they successfully complete the BBL procedure. The good thing is that the new form looks very natural and gives a massive boost to a patients’ self-esteem. As mentioned earlier, BBL is not all about enhancing the shape and size of the butt, but it can be used to contour the lower back, thigh, love handles, waist, and other parts of your body. It can be a game changer for a woman’s confidence and an enhancement of her sex appeal.
Provided you don’t lose or gain too much weight, fat that is successfully transferred to these areas survives there forever. In addition, because the fat used is from your own body, there is no need to worry about your body rejecting it or having any allergic reactions.
The only scars you will get are those from small liposuction incisions, often done at hidden parts of the body. Many patients tend to be satisfied with this procedure and rate BBL higher than silicone butt implants.
Cons of BBL
BBL happens to be one of the riskiest cosmetic surgery procedures. Even after the surgery has been completed, you may have to go through some ordeal- since you have to avoid any activity that applies direct pressure to the buttock (For example, sitting) to prevent disruptions in the transplanted fat. You may need several months to recover fully from the procedure.
According to patients who have had the procedure, close to 40% of the transferred fat can be naturally absorbed by the body within the first few months following the surgery. Some patients have been left dissatisfied after the procedure because they didn’t fully get the dramatic result they wanted. Others get lumps, slumping, or dents and pay additional money for revision surgery.
Other possible complications include rupture of prosthetic implants, wound infection, and the blockage of blood vessels when fat enters the bloodstream (fat embolism). Patients may also suffer ill figured or asymmetric buttocks if the transplants shift and become uneven during the healing process.
There is a risk of not correctly injecting fat into large veins when the fat is injected lower down the buttocks or deep into muscle tissue. This is a major cause of fat embolism, which may get into the lungs, leading to death. Patients’ oxygen levels may fall when fat enters the bloodstream, which causes death. A fat embolism may be avoided by injecting far under the skin and not into the muscle. However, this may be technically impossible to achieve.
Studies by Board Certified Brazilian plastic surgeons reported complications such as:
- 36.5% reported contour irregularities
- 17.75% build-up of clear fluid in the body (seroma)
- 23.63% damaged or dead tissue (fat necrosis)
- 11.25% reported oil cysts,
- 13.5% reported infection,
- 9.38% a collection of blood outside of the blood vessel (hematoma)
- 2.25% reported fat embolism
Among other complications, the unfortunate reality is there is a risk of death. While some studies have shown the death rate following BBL to be 1:3000, new study reports have reported ratios as high as 1 in 5 persons can die as a result of the procedure.
The risk of such complications increases with less experienced surgeons. Yet, the statistics mentioned above are from the best doctors who have undergone rigorous training to become plastic surgeons. You can imagine what the death rate and rate of complications would be when rogue doctors perform the BBL procedure on unsuspecting women. Complications from such cases are often unreported or unknown
Bans on BBL
Today, many plastic-surgical societies condemn intramuscular gluteal fat grafting, while some countries have outrightly banned the Brazilian Butt Lift altogether. For instance, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons cautioned its members to stop performing BBL surgeries. This stance may be based on flaws associated with the practice of BBL.
Just as the media gave BBL all the hype that made it popular, experts who condemn it are looking to the press to end it. Other experts have proposed modifications in BBL surgery to remove the dangerous aspects instead of banning it outrightly.
Though BBL is a quick way to get the body you want, the underlying risks are indeed high. The next question then, should you just workout for a better shape?
Should you workout or go the quick route?
With the above premise, let’s now answer our question: Is BBL worth it? Ultimately, it is up to you to inform yourself and to determine if BBL is the right thing for you.
As a fitness facility, we promote and encourage using exercise as the most effective tool to enhance the body. Consistent and proper use of equipment to shape and enhance the gluteus maximus, as well as exercises to sculpt the waist and hips, can give you amazing results with less risk.
If you want to achieve an amazing physique, we encourage you to visit Fitness 1 Gym Ghana, the best gym in Accra. Come and talk to one of our fitness trainers to get a customized plan that can help you to achieve your best body.
Del Vecchio, D. A., & Rohrich, R. J. (2020). A Changing Paradigm. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 145(1), 281–283. https://doi.org/10.1097/prs.0000000000006369
Meierhans, J. (2019, November 22). Is “Brazilian butt lift” surgery a risk worth taking? BBC News; BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-45367980
Perry, A. W. (2019, January 31). I’m a plastic surgeon who won’t perform Brazilian Butt Lifts. They’re deadly. USA TODAY; USA TODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/01/31/plastic-surgery-brazilian-butt-lifts-florida-death-column/2374585002/
Repinski, K. (2020, November 11). Brazilian Butt Lift. RealSelf.com; RealSelf. https://www.realself.com/surgical/brazilian-butt-lift