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Procedure Time: 2-4 hours
Recovery Time: 1-2 weeks before returning to work, 4-6 weeks before exercise
Results Duration: Several years, dependent on lifestyle
Cost: Approx. £5,000 to £6,500
Anaesthesia: General anaesthesia or epidural and sedation
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There are several different procedures that can be used to improve buttock shape and appearance. The buttock can be lifted, reshaped with liposuction, added to with buttock implants or fat, or a combination can be used depending on the shape of your bottom and what you're trying to achieve. A buttock lift is the most complicated procedure and is generally reserved for those who have large amounts of loose or sagging skin around the buttocks that needs to be removed in order to reshape the bottom. Buttock lifts are usually performed under a general anaesthetic, although alternatives include an epidural combined with a sedative. The nature of this operation means long cuts need to be made in the skin and these will obviously leave long scars afterwards. Recovery generally takes 1 to 2 weeks and most people can usually return to work in a couple of weeks, and resume vigorous exercise or contact sports in approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Private prices for a buttock lift operation can be in the £5,000 to £6,500 range.
Fashion trends in recent years have seen greater attention been given to areas of our bodies other than our faces. Often, women, and some men, are now seeking to improve the effects that gravity has had on their sagging flesh.
For example, buttocks begin to droop and change shape as we grow older and women have always been particularly conscious about the size and shape of their bottoms!
Surgeons are learning newer body procedures all the time and these include liposuction, fat transfer and body implants. New methods are constantly being developed to lift or improve certain body parts that in the past people would have had to let age gracefully.
There are several different procedures that can be used to improve the buttock shape and appearance. The buttock can be lifted through surgical incisions and suturing, reshaped with liposuction, added to with buttock implants or fat, or a combination of any of the above can be used.
Your choice of treatment will depend on what shape your body is and what your specific goals may be. You need to look at the size, shape, and the skin quality of your bottom before making any decisions. It is these three factors that will help in arriving at the right operation for you.
A buttock lift is the most complicated procedure of those mentioned above and is generally reserved for patients who have large amounts of loose or sagging skin around the buttocks that needs to be removed in order to reshape the bottom.
Buttock lifts are a relatively new and not commonly performed cosmetic operation, although they have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), just over 5,257 buttock lifts were performed in 2018 in the U.S., which is an 86.3% increase compared to 2014 and a 12.1% increase on the year before (2017).
No official figures are yet available for the U.K., but there are a few surgeons who are starting to offer this procedure.
If you're considering a buttock lift, the following information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure. It can't answer all your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon.
Please ask your surgeon about anything you don't understand.
Your first discussion with a surgeon should clearly set out your expectations and whether the operation can give you the results you desire.
Careful discussions regarding the reasons for wanting a buttock lift and your suitability for this type of surgery are very important at this stage. Make sure that you obtain as much information as is necessary to enable you to make a fully informed choice and make sure you receive satisfactory answers to all your questions. If you feel uncomfortable, ask more questions, or try another surgeon.
If, for example, you have good skin quality and tone, but your buttocks are flat rather than rounded, buttock implants, or fat transfer may be recommended to help produce a more rounded shape to your bottom.
For patients with excess fat around the sides of the buttocks who, again, have good skin quality and tone, liposuction alone may provide the best results in helping to reshape the buttocks. In such cases, the excess fat can simply be sucked out of your rear.
A medical history should also be taken to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have this operation. You would normally be asked to sign a consent form which means that you have understood the potential benefits and risks associated with a buttock lift.
Photographs may also be taken by the practitioner as a "before and after" comparison at a later date.
The surgeon may also wish to write to your G.P. giving details of the operation so that if there are any problems associated with surgery in the short or long-term, your doctor is aware of the procedure and can help you to recover.
Buttock lifts are usually performed under a general anaesthetic. Alternatives to this include an epidural anaesthetic injection (sometimes used in childbirth) which will numb the area from the waist down, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy, so that you remain awake but feel very little discomfort.
Please take into account that a general anaesthetic carries more potential risks than an epidural. This should be clearly explained by the surgeon before you make any decisions about the anaesthetic.
If you make a decision to go ahead with a buttock lift, the actual procedure may take place in an outpatient surgical clinic, but most surgeons and patients prefer a hospital setting where you can recover overnight.
A buttock lift usually takes several hours, depending on the extent of work required, and whether any other procedures such as liposuction are involved.
The nature of this operation means long cuts need to be made in your skin and these will obviously leave long scars afterwards. The length of the scar will depend on how much excess skin you have. Typically, the scar will be all across the upper buttock; it might also go round the sides and possibly onto the front. Your underwear can usually hide the scar, however.
Nearly all types of excess skin can be improved with the traditional buttock lift as described above. However, sometimes, if you only have a small area of excess skin, especially in the lower buttock area, then surgeons can perform a limited cutting of the skin, and the scars are then left in the buttock crease. In this operation, the surgeon is not really lifting the buttock but rather giving a small area a gentle tightening.
During the traditional operation, half-moon shaped segments of skin and fat from underneath the surface of the skin are removed from the buttock area. The remaining skin and tissue are lifted to achieve a tighter and smoother effect.
Although the operation is often combined with liposuction, it is designed to tighten the skin and deep tissue.
After a buttock lift, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be put in to drain excess fluid from the area of surgery. Firm elastic bandages are then applied to support the area.
Depending on the extent of the procedure, you may be able to go home after a few hours, or you might have to stay in hospital for 1 or 2 days.
Buttock lift recovery generally takes one to two weeks. You can usually return to work in a couple of weeks, and resume vigorous exercise or contact sports in approximately four to six weeks.
Bruising after the surgery is usually quite light but swelling is considerable and it can take up to three or four months to disappear. You may also experience numbness of the skin around the buttocks and it may take several months for the sensation to return.
Like all surgical procedures, there is always a possibility of side effects and, although rare, these can include infection, risks of a reaction to the anaesthetic, blood or fluid collection underneath the skin, nerve damage, blood clots, and an irregular or a “lop-sided” appearance of the buttocks after the operation.
The surgery does produce a permanent scar which, depending on the extent of the cuts, may stretch from hip to hip across your buttocks. Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in colour. While they'll never disappear completely, they can usually be hidden by underwear.
Too much scar formation, however, can occasionally occur where the scars broaden and thicken.
It may take you weeks or months to feel like your old self again. If you start out in top physical condition, recovery from this procedure will be much faster than if you are out of shape when you have the operation.
It is very important that you follow the advice of your surgeon carefully after a buttock lift.
Post-surgery advice may include:
There are few absolute medical reasons why you should not undergo a buttock lift as long as you are in good general health and have realistic expectations of this treatment.
If you have had phlebitis (inflamed blood vessels) in either of your legs, you may not be a candidate for lift surgery.
A buttock lift, however, is not an alternative to losing weight. In fact, many surgeons will suggest alternatives to surgery for patients who are more than 15 percent over their ideal body weight.
Also, if you are considering losing weight, you should wait until after your target weight is met before having a buttock lift. Otherwise, you may need extra surgery to remove the excess skin after your diet which would mean that the money spent on the previous operation has been wasted.
If you have experienced healing problems with any past surgical treatments or if you are prone to keloid (red, angry, raised) scars, your surgeon may not recommend a buttock lift or may advise you that scars could be raised and very visible.
Only fully trained and qualified surgeons should perform Buttock Lift surgery.
For more information about practitioner training, qualifications and relevant medical organisations please view the information contained within the Legislation section of the Consulting Room.
It is highly unlikely that anyone considering a buttock lift would be able to access this free of charge on the National Health Service.
However certain regions do make special cases, and we would always recommend that you visit your General Practitioner before embarking upon a cosmetic procedure involving surgery. As well as their advice and guidance they may also be able to refer you to a local NHS Hospital who can treat you.
The NHS has set out the following guidelines on how to get cosmetic surgery through the NHS:
"To qualify for surgery on the NHS you must meet specific criteria as set out by your local health authority. The NHS will not pay for surgery for cosmetic reasons alone. Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery to correct, or improve, congenital abnormalities and injuries will usually be carried out free of charge.
NHS reconstructive surgery is performed by plastic surgeons who have had extensive training and belong to the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Surgeons who carry out cosmetic surgery through the NHS also belong to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
To receive cosmetic surgery from the NHS, you will normally need a referral from your GP. You will have a consultation with a plastic surgeon and an assessment by a psychiatrist, or psychologist. It will then be decided whether there is enough social, psychological, or physical benefit to be gained to justify surgery."
Private prices for a buttock lift operation can be in the £5,000 to £6,500 range.
Traditionally a buttock lift procedure is performed on a patient that has already had a tummy tuck, or some other sort of body re-shaping surgery. Nevertheless, some patients do specifically request this type of operation alone.
As well as the lengthy recovery time, the long visible scars are the major drawback for this procedure. However, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, the results from this operation can dramatically improve the appearance of your droopy buttocks!
It is very important for you to describe exactly how you want to look after the operation with an experienced surgeon who also performs liposuction and buttock implants so that they can assess you properly and recommend the most appropriate procedure, or combination of procedures, for you.
Results vary enormously depending upon both the patient and the skill of the individual surgeon, so outcomes for cosmetic surgery procedures will always be more variable than those for less invasive non-surgical treatments.
We currently do not have any before and after images for buttock lift surgery.