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Improving the Safety of Gluteal Fat Grafting Procedures

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Gluteal Fat GraftingFat grafting in NYC is the main element in the Brazilian butt lift, an increasingly popular option for women who wish to enhance the appearance of the posterior without implants. Due to its good cosmetic outcomes of gluteal fat grafting, it is among the fastest growing aesthetic procedures in the United States and around the world. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), more than 20,000 butt augmentation procedures were performed in 2016 alone, in which about 92% were using fat grafting. Fat transfer to the buttocks poses certain risks and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) cautions that women considering the procedure should decide if the benefits will achieve their goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable to them. The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF) recently formed the Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force to examine the risks associated with this increasingly popular procedure.

The Brazilian butt lift involves removing fat via liposuction from the patient’s body and using it to enhance her buttocks. The harvested fat cells are purified and transferred or grafted by injecting them into the buttock area to add volume or correct a contour deformity. It is an ideal option for women who want to avoid the use of implants or artificial fillers and has fat to spare in donor sites such as the flanks, abdomen and thighs.

The Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force comprised board certified plastic surgeons who designed a survey for the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) members. The aim of the survey was to identify factors that either added risk or proved to be protective and/or preventative techniques associated with the procedure. The findings were published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Plastic surgeons have adopted the recommendations of the Task Force to reduce the risks associated with gluteal fat grafting:

  • Avoid injecting fat into the deep muscle
  • Use a >4.1 mm single hole injection cannula
  • Pointing the injection cannula downwards should be avoided
  • Position patient and place incisions to create a path that will avoid deep muscle injections
  • Maintain constant three-dimensional awareness of the cannula tip
  • Only inject when cannula is in motion
  • Consider pulmonary fat embolism in unstable intra- and postoperative patients
  • Review gluteal vascular anatomy and draw landmarks to identify and avoid injection into the pedicle
  • Include risk of fat embolism and surgical alternatives in the informed consent process

The formation of Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force and its findings are critical steps in research and education this popular procedure. Educating plastic surgeons about specific techniques is crucial to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates associated with gluteal fat grafting. ASERF and ASAPS are also committed to educating prospective patients about the importance of finding an experienced plastic surgeon when considering a Brazilian butt lift in NYC or any other plastic surgery procedure. Surgeons who are experts in the procedure will take care to inject the fat at the right depth and take all measures necessary to ensure the highest level of patient safety.

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