Hazards and Other Unfavorable Outcomes of the Brazilian Butt Lift

Hazards and Other Unfavorable Outcomes of the Brazilian Butt Lift


Brazilian butt lifts, or BBLs, have been popularized by many celebrities and social media influencers as a way to create a seemingly more aesthetically-pleasing body shape, such as the hourglass figure, which is when the waist is smaller than the ratios of the chest and hips. 

A BBL is a form of plastic surgery intended to specifically enlarge the size and shape of a woman’s buttocks. Fat is injected under the skin in the glute area, and the area is then contoured to resemble an enhanced body curvature. Keep in mind, this process does not increase one’s ability to engage or power through their glutes, as this is purely a cosmetic procedure that involves body fat.

So where does this fat come from that is used for the injection? The BBL can involve an aggressive liposuctioning procedure, pulling fat clumps from the waist line, the lower back, the abdominal region, and even the thighs. Suctioned body fat is then redistributed to the buttocks. 

Plastic surgeons market the BBL as a safer alternative to butt implants, as silicone and other composite implants can be rejected causing pain and other health complications - But the reality is, BBLs are no safer. While the BBLs might be a tempting option, cosmetic surgery is rarely the only and certainly not the best solution. This article will pose the risks and important considerations to make before getting a BBL. 


Why is the BBL So Dangerous?


First of all, and most importantly, the BBL is one of the most dangerous operations in the world and the most dangerous aesthetic procedure ever performed. One in 3,000 people die from a BBL (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). The leading cause of death is a fat embolism which is when one or more droplet-like particles of fat enter your bloodstream and block circulation. 

The buttocks contain a multitude of large blood vessels which drain into the “inferior vena cava” which leads directly to the heart. If a doctor mistakenly injects fat into the gluteal muscle, fat travels directly to the heart and lungs obstructing blood flow and causing immediate death.

Even after a successful surgery however, patients are still at risk of a fat embolism as the fat could break loose at any point after surgery. 

While the life threatening risks alone should be enough to dissuade someone from getting a BBL, the results are further worrying. There are plenty of examples of BBL’s going wrong, most notably the “diaper booty”. 


Oftentimes, too much fat is added to the butt and the body structure can’t hold the excess fat up or together. When this happens, the butt becomes excessively saggy, and in extreme cases, patients need to start wearing a diaper to avoid involuntary bowel movements. Other horrors involve chronic infections, nerve damage, permanent scarring, and the reabsorption of fat cells leading to asymmetrical buttocks.

If a nerve is severed, then numbness and the inability to move the affected muscle are permanent. Additional surgical intervention is required to help restore function in these cases, but even then, the chances of a successful restoration and healing process are dependent on a variety of other factors such as your immune system, your cellular health, your mental health, your environment, your ability to keep up with the costs, and more.

Knowing the risks, we pose this questions: Is an elective procedure, not a medically necessary one, such as a BBL, really worth losing buttock function and proprioception? 


The Lifetime of a BBL in Your Body


The effects of a BBL are semi-permanent – meaning they should technically last several years, or even up to a decade. But this isn’t the case for every patron undergoing the BBL surgery. Some will experience rapid aging in the buttocks area, consists of skin loosening, stretch marks, lumpy skin texture; and under those skin layers, the muscles becoming more atrophied (muscle cells shrinking/dying). The buttocks then require further surgery to maintain, or modified back to, the appearance of roundness and smoothness, which again will require the client to undergo additional anesthesia, again additional unnecessary health risks, and further financial expense. Touchups, which are actually required every couple years, can be equally dangerous, physically taxing, and extremely expensive.


The Mindset Behind Getting a BBL


A fixation on the physical body can lead to becoming hyper-focused on perceived asymmetries and perceived disproportions. Without addressing why one thinks this way, it can be common for people to get stuck on how to change it, and how to change it fast. It’s that idea that if you can change what something looks like, you can then change how you feel or behave. But time and time again, as plastic surgery and other body modification trends pass through the generations, there’s really no way to bypass the work it requires to addressing one’s values.

Understanding your values and living in congruent to these values can, over time, establish a more structurally integrated sense of self. Self-esteem issues, which often stem from a multitude of psychological factors, can be temporarily distracted by the validation of a BBL, but if you pull through the risks of the medical procedure, eventually the validation will subside. The hyper-focus and body fixation within will seek out new perceived disproportions.

Additionally, after BBL surgery, many patients report increased levels of insecurity, the need for psychological counseling, as well as the desire for surgery reversal. It has become common place for celebrities and influencers to advertise their cosmetic surgery reversals - But keep in mind, they are still contouring their bodies to try to reclaim their “natural shapes”, which is still a cosmetic surgery in itself, with many risks involved. The easiest way to avoid these unfavorable outcomes is to just don’t do it.

Increasing Gluteal Function 


Pictured above in red, Noah Lyles, the new and current record holder and world champion for fastest 100m sprint at 9.83 seconds.

There are other solutions to increasing the size of your buttocks that not only serve the aesthetic purpose, but also one that allows you to function on two legs better than before; which is the purpose that buttocks serve in the body to begin with. To better integrate your gluteal muscles into your everyday movement and get them to propel you through life, it’s key to start viewing the body as a system. You cannot isolate a muscle or even a group of muscles without considering how the rest of the body moves in relation. Coming back to the point on how to change the body, the most sustainable way to approach lasting change is investing time and energy into training the whole body.


Pictured above, Laviai Nielsen, a 400m sprinter and 2015 Olympian, @laiviai

Sprinting is a multiplanar exercise that works the entire body, connecting glute function to propelling the body forward in space. At Functional Patterns, we utilize sprinting as a framework to train the body in an integrated fashion. With every exercise and each program made available, eventually resulting in a body that functions and adapts well to any environment.

How to Address Body Dysmorphia: Additional Thoughts and Considerations

From a previously posted article, Addressing Insecurity and Body Dysmorphia (2), besides training the physical body, below are the recommended mental exercises for taking a different approach towards body hyper-fixation and perceived flaws:
  1. Access to Social Circles: 
    • Surround yourself with people who value function over looks or surface-level thinking.
    • Having discussions with friends or hearing stories about others who have addressed similar insecurities can help give you some ideas about how to make changes into your own life.
  2. Systems-based approach:
    • Start getting in front of your problems. If you know you are inclined to waste energy on overly grooming or obsessing over flaws, start recognizing that tendency and establish new habits that will ground you in functional behavior.
  3. Cognitive Restructuring:
    • It takes time to re-associate, but you can start by making a list of your intrusive thoughts and asking yourself if they are really true.
    • After addressing their validity, ask yourself how much of an impact they really have on things like your job performance, taking care of your pets, or problem solving on a day to day basis.
  4. Work on Posture for Confidence:
    • Start exposing yourself to Functional Patterns training concepts to address your physical structure and improve how you move your body.
    • Improving your posture and movement can have a strong impact on your emotions and day to day well being


While Brazilian butt lifts seem to be a quick and easy solution to a problem you may have dealt with your whole life, it’s not without major risks. There are no quick fixes. No easy ways out. Anything that comes quickly has the potential to leave or fail just as fast. At the end of the day, to create lasting change, it requires work. Functional Patterns training and protocols help you get started on the work that matters and gets lasting results.



  1. “Plastic Surgery Societies Issue Urgent Warning about the Risks Associated with Brazilian Butt Lifts.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 6 Aug. 2018, www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/plastic-surgery-societies-issue-urgent-warning-about-the-risks-associated-with-brazilian-butt-lifts. 
  2. “Addressing Insecurity and Body Dysmorphia” Functional Patterns Articles, Alicia Tingzon, May 2023 https://functionalpatterns.com/blogs/articles/addressing-body-insecurity-and-body-dysmorphia?_pos=1&_sid=3cfae9a69&_ss=r



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