Is BBL Surgery Safer Now? Exploring the Advances and Safety Measures

Learn about the latest techniques and safety measures in BBL surgery to make an informed decision.

September 1, 2023

3 min read

woman wearing yoga pants, showcasing the results of a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedure for a more sculpted and contoured buttocks

There is no doubt about it — butts are in. Bigger, rounder, and curvier than ever. With the public’s growing interest in the backside, then, it’s no surprise that the “BBL” has become one of the buzziest cosmetic surgeries around. 

Understanding the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) Procedure

What is a “BBL”, you ask? A “BBL” stands for “Brazilian Butt Lift”. It’s called that because this surgery was developed in Brazil and other parts of South America where a voluptuous butt has long been a standard of beauty. It involves the transfer of fat from one area of the body to the buttocks, resulting in a more prominent and rounder buttock appearance. 

The Evolution of BBL Surgery: From Beauty Standard to Safety Measures

While the BBL has clearly become increasingly popular in recent years, it has also gotten significant negative press due to a higher risk of complications and even death compared to other cosmetic procedures. As a result, there was an outpouring of concern among both patients and healthcare providers about the safety of BBL surgery. This led to deep investigation as to what was causing the issues and widespread efforts to make the procedure safer.

Is BBL Surgery Safer Today? Exploring Advances in Safety Protocols

So, is BBL surgery safer now? The short answer is YES, but it helps to understand the background for the changes. In this blog post, we will explore the current state of BBL surgery and discuss the measures that have been taken to make the procedure safer.

Reducing Risks: How Surgical Techniques Have Transformed BBL Safety

First and foremost, it is important to note that any surgical procedure comes with some degree of risk, and BBL surgery is no exception. However, the risk of complications and mortality associated with BBL surgery has decreased significantly in recent years thanks to advances in surgical techniques and safety protocols.

Guidelines and Innovations: Ensuring Safety in Modern BBL Procedures

In the past, it was common for the fat to be injected into the main muscle of the butt (the “gluteus maximus”). The problem is that there are large veins in a particular segment of the gluteus maximus muscle where, if the fat entered those veins, could lead to the fat traveling to vital organs, such as the heart or lungs. This is called a “fat embolism” and is the most dangerous complication of a BBL. After this was identified, surgeons now avoid injecting into the muscle entirely and aim instead for subcutaneous injection only. “Subcutaneous” means the space below the skin but above the muscle. 

Choosing Safety First: Selecting a Skilled Surgeon for BBL Surgery

Guidelines have also been put out regarding how to position the patient on the operating table and the size of the cannulas that are used to inject the fat into the buttocks. Ultrasound has been suggested to improve visualization of fat placement. Plastic surgeons around the world have contributed their experience and expertise toward making this surgery as safe as it can be. All these efforts combined have led to a decrease in mortality worldwide. According to the Past President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, J Peter Rubin, the mortality rate of a BBL is now approximately the same as a tummy tuck, one in about 15,000. 

It is important to note that the safety of BBL surgery depends on the experience and skill of the surgeon performing the procedure. Patients should always do their research and choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience performing BBL surgery.

So yes, the BBL surgery is safer now than it has ever been before. Thanks to countless hours of research and analysis, there have been substantial improvements in the technique. Still, it’s an intensive procedure that requires care before embarking on the journey. It remains very important for patients to do their due diligence and choose a qualified and experienced surgeon to ensure the best possible outcome.


Mendieta CG, Salgado CJ, Mejia JD, et al. Butt Augmentation: Principles and Practice. Springer International Publishing; 2018. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-62382-6

Fisher J, Garcı́a-Tutor E. Brazilian Butt Lift: Safe Practices and Optimal Outcomes. Clin Plast Surg. 2020;47(3):333-342. doi:10.1016/j.cps.2020.03.005

Mofid MM, Teitelbaum S, Suissa D, et al. Brazilian butt lifts: A review of key patient safety issues and proposed process improvements. Aesthet Surg J. 2020;40(8):896-907. doi:10.1093/asj/sjaa085

Clark, K. (2023, February 23). All in the wrist: Improving safety for the Brazilian butt lift. American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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