Deaths during a Brazilian Butt Lift or BBL have made the news over the last several years. These are avoidable tragedies. The cause of death after a BBL is due to fat embolism.
After harvesting fat from the abdomen, flanks and back via liposuction, the fat is injected into the buttocks. If injecting too deep into the pelvis, fat can be inadvertently injected into the deep pelvic veins. From there, the fat travels to the heart, as a fat embolism, lodging in the heart and lungs, leading to death. This is similar to a blood clot traveling from the deep veins of the leg to the heart in a pulmonary embolism. A fat embolism can be more deadly because, unlike a blood clot, there’s no way to dissolve the fat. Luckily, there are various techniques that can make this procedure safer – a safe BBL.
How is a safe BBL different?
In the past, some physicians would inject fat into the gluteus maximus muscle in the buttocks. The idea, aside from providing more buttock projection, was to increase survival of the fat by placing it in a vascular-rich environment like the buttocks.
But the risk of accidentally injecting fat into the deep veins of the pelvis when injecting into or under the muscle is just too great. That’s why one technique of the safe BBL is injecting fat only on top of the muscle.
Additionally, by always injecting away from the deep veins of the pelvis, the surgeon can avoid direct venous injection. For example, when filling in the hip dips (the depressions on the sides of the thighs), injection can take place in an outward direction, through under-buttock incisions. To provide more buttock projection, the fat-injecting cannula uses the incision over the sacrum. With this angle, not only is the surgeon injecting away from the deep pelvic vessels, the sacrum protects the vessels, making it virtually impossible to inject deep.
Statistically safe BBL
By combining these techniques, the BBL can be safer than a tummy tuck. According to the AAAASF surgery center accrediting organization, the risk of death from a tummy tuck is around 13,000. Whereas the safe BBL has a risk of 1 in 26,247 according to the World Association of Gluteal Surgeons (WAGS). A patient may think it’s just about how much fat is injected. It’s really more about how you inject.
To watch Dr. Kaplan perform a safe BBL and check pricing, click here.