The Butt Lift: Brazil’s signature procedure

The buttocks and thighs represent areas of increased patient interest and surgical modification, with Brazil leading the worldwide trend. Buttock augmentation targets an increase in the size of the buttocks and can be achieved via lipo‑injection or through silicone implants.

The butt lift is Brazil’s signature procedure. It aims to achieve a nice and round buttock projected mostly on the upper two thirds of the derriere, and is widely viewed as a reshaping surgery. The range of indications for a buttock lift is wide: it may correct ptosis, lift the buttocks, correct asymmetries, shorten long buttocks, or correct laxity. Butt lift procedures are growing in popularity with younger women as they seek to achieve a larger, curvier and shapelier behind, although the best candidates seem to be those having recently undergone significant weight-loss.

Many techniques are being used in Brazil to achieve the perfect butt. The butterfly buttock-lifting technique addresses light and moderate ptosis; the dermo-tuberal anchorage lower lift technique is best to correct long buttocks and asymmetry; while the upper lift technique corrects a strong gluteal crease.

The Brazilian butt lift is typically achieved by fat grafting, in which gentle liposuction is applied to harvest the autologous fat, and minimally disturbs the local tissues. The procedure, performed under general anaesthetic and lasting for approximately 2 hours, involves taking fat from one part of the body (typically the abdomen, thighs, or stomach), purifying it, then re-injecting the selected fat cells. In order to get the desired amount of fullness, the surgeon will typically have to perform a number of injections. To improve the survival of the fat graft, newer techniques use adipose-derived cells (ADC), which are rich in stem cells and growth factors. The ADC are preserved and re-injected to promote a better survival of the fat graft by promoting a perfect environment for the fat to survive.

Cellulite-busting also sought-after

The number of patients seeking treatments to tackle cellulite and fat reduction in Brazil make up one of the biggest markets in the world in terms of volume, and one of the most dynamic segments in the aesthetic surgery field.

Leading body contouring energy-based technologies are doing well in Brazil, with devices combining infrared light, radiofrequency and mechanical massage used in most clinics (e.g. VelaShape). Bella Contour, which uses a combination of ultrasound, electrical current and lymphatic drainage, has also been well received in Brazil to smooth out the skin’s surface, and recontouring problem areas such as the abdomen, love handles, buttocks and thighs.

Recently, Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT) has also been getting good press in Brazil to treat cellulite, mainly in patients with some localised fat. Since 1980, acoustic waves have been popular in medicine to dissolve kidney stones and for the treatment of orthopaedic conditions. AWT works well to address the vicious circle with cellulite. In the typical cellulite environment, enlarged fat cells lead to increased pressure in the tissue, thus diminishing local microcirculation and resulting in decreasing lipolysis. As a result, the fat cells become further enlarged and the cellulite increases. Treating cellulite with AWT leads to improved lymphatic drainage, breakdown of fat deposits, reduction of dimpling, and improved appearance of the skin leading to overall reduced circumference of the affected body regions.

Another treatment in vogue to correct cellulite through a more invasive approach is subcision, developed by Dr Doris Hexsel. Ultra-thin laser fibres cut the septa in the fibrous connective tissue responsible for the traction of the skin, which causes the dimpling aspect of cellulite. It works well non the treatment of severe celluilite with depressed lesions.

Carboxytherapy is also used widely in Brazil. Carboxytherapy is a popular therapy to fight cellulite by improving local tissue metabolism and breaking down fat deposits. It is also being used with significant results in Brazil to tackle stretch marks on the buttocks, abdomen and upper arms in all types of skin — even darker skin tones. It involves the therapeutic use of carbon dioxide gas administered subcutaneously, or under the skin, which stimulates the mechanism of the skin’s cells to naturally produce nutrients, collagen and elastin, so that the body can repair itself.


The future of the Brazilian aesthetic medicine market will be driven by highly bespoke treatments which fit the uniqueness of the population: a mixture of Indian, European and African descent, which gives the country its distinctive flavour. Many of its eminent physicians believe that highlighting its unique cultural make‑up and a more targeted approach to their very specific skin’s needs —a bespoke service targeting sun damage as well as general body contouring —will prove highly popular for the sustainability of the market.