Buttock lift surgery also called a bum lift or gluteoplasty aims to shape and lift the buttocks by removing loose skin and excess fat from the buttock area. The results are a fuller, rounder, perkier, and more aesthetically pleasing bum. This procedure has increased in popularity in recent years as fashion and trends have begun to favour larger and more shapely derrieres.
Day case or 1 night
General anaesthetic or local anaesthetic +/- sedation
6 to 12 months
The cost of buttock lift surgery is determined after a consultation with a surgeon. Prices can vary to reflect the specific features of each procedure.
During the consultation, every patient has the opportunity to outline what they are hoping to achieve from their procedure. In turn, the surgeon will make some suggestions to ensure the best possible results. These variants may include:
- Surgeon experience
- Anaesthetist experience
- Which hospital or clinic is chosen for the procedure
- The complexity of the individual procedure
- Surgical techniques chosen
- The time required in surgery for each patient’s case
It is during the free consultation that these tailored features are decided upon, and therefore it is only after the consultation that a final bespoke price can be determined for the individual's patient's needs. Once a buttock lift surgery final price is set, that price is inclusive and transparent. It will cover:
- Hospital costs
- Surgeon and anaesthetist costs
- Aftercare and follow-up appointments
- Overnight stays (if required)
What can a buttock lift achieve?
The medical term for buttock lift surgery is gluteoplasty but patients may find that this name is less commonly used than the term buttock lift or bum lift. Although it is related to other procedures such as Brazilian butt lifts and buttock augmentations, it is a different treatment entirely.
A buttock lift involves removing excess skin from the buttocks and tightening the muscles with stitches. This helps to raise the position of the buttocks and reduce the appearance of sagging. A buttock lift may be a good option for the patient if they are conscious that they have sagging skin or excess fat around the buttocks. It aims to:
- Make your buttock area look smoother and more toned
- Help relieve any discomfort or mobility issues caused by loose skin
- Improve self-confidence and boost self-esteem
- Reduce the appearance of a ‘saggy’ bottom
- Improves the overall outline and balance of the body
Who are the ideal candidates for a buttock lift?
A buttock lift is becoming an increasingly popular cosmetic treatment in the UK. Many people are unhappy with the size, shape, and position of their buttocks. Therefore, the ideal buttock lift candidates are individuals who wish to enhance the appearance of their buttocks by removing loose, saggy skin and excess fat.
Patients may wish to consider a buttock lift if they:
- Are experiencing sagging buttocks after major weight loss, aging or illness
- Feel unhappy with the appearance of your buttocks
- Are bothered by loose skin, excess fat or the general shape of your buttocks
- Have tried diet and exercise to combat this unsuccessfully
- Have realistic expectations of what surgery can do for you
- Are mentally and emotionally ready for surgery
- Are healthy with a stable weight
When patients speak to the surgeon about what they are unhappy with, they will be able to adjust the procedure to suit individual needs. Furthermore, patients may be able to combine this technique with other procedure such as liposuction, a thigh lift or a tummy tuck.
How is a buttock lift procedure performed?
A buttock lift procedure can last 1 to 3 hours. Patients may need to stay in the hospital for one night or they may be able to leave on the same day if their procedure is a day case.
A buttock lift procedure involves the following steps:
Patients will need to sign a consent form for the procedure before it takes place. Patients will meet with their surgeon and anaesthetist before the operation. This is often either on the day of the surgery or at the preoperative assessment a few weeks before. Here, they will discuss the procedure and inform of any risks and complications. It is important patients are aware of these to be able to make a fully informed decision. Of course, they will be happy to answer any questions that the patient may have.
On the day of the surgery, patients will meet with their surgeon and anaesthetist. The surgeon may draw lines on the buttocks with a surgical marker to mark out the procedure area.
Once ready, the patient will be taken to the operating theatre where the anaesthetist will either numb the area or put them to sleep. A buttock lift procedure can be done using either local or general anaesthetic. The surgeon will discuss which anaesthesia type is most suitable during the consultation. If patients opt for a local anaesthetic, they will be awake during the surgery but will be under sedation so that they are not fully conscious. Each type of anaesthetic has its own risks and benefits which the surgeon will discuss before the surgery.
Once the patient has been given an anaesthetic, the surgeon will then start the procedure. For a buttock lift procedure, there are different types of incisions that a surgeon may make. The type of incisions that the surgeon chooses and where the scars will be located will have been already discussed with the patient in the consultation. These different types of incisions are dependent on a number of factors including:
- The size and shape of the buttocks
- The amount of fat that needs to be removed
- Goals for the surgery
- The quality of the skin
- The amount of excess skin
- Muscle mass
When the patient is in the operating theatre, the surgeon will clean and drape the area to keep the procedure sterile. During the operation, the surgeon will make incisions into the buttocks to remove thin layers of fat, tissue, and skin. They will also strengthen the underlying muscles and suture them in place to hold the buttocks in its new lifted position.
The surgeon will make the incisions in one of the following ways:
Upper buttock lift
An upper buttock lift is considered to be a more intense method of surgery where the surgeon will make an incision at the top of the buttocks. They then remove any excess underlying tissue and reposition the buttock to enhance its appearance. An upper buttock lift can leave a long scar at the top of the buttocks but is effective in lifting the position of the buttocks.
Lower buttock lift
A lower buttock lift incision may be a suitable option if the patient has mild to moderate sagging only. This involves the surgeon making an incision in the lower buttocks where there is a natural crease. This allows them to remove excess tissue from the lower end whilst lifting the crease upwards. This method results in a less visible scar as it lies in the natural crease line and therefore may be more discrete.
Butterfly buttock lift
A butterfly buttock lift procedure gets its name from the shape of the incision which starts from the central crease and carries on upwards and outwards like the wings of a butterfly. This method is effective in tightening the skin. However, a butterfly buttock lift may not be of benefit to people who require repositioning or lifting of the buttocks via the muscles.
Lateral buttock lift
Another option for mild sagging is a lateral approach to the buttock lift. This involves the surgeon making an incision into the outer side of each buttock and is a good choice for people who wish to limit their scarring and who do not have dramatic sagging or large amounts of excess fat and skin.
Closing of incisions
Once the surgeon has successfully performed the buttock lift and any other associated procedures that you may opt for, they will close the incisions with either absorbable or non-absorbable stitches. These may then be covered with dressings which will help the healing process.
Return to the ward
Finally, when the operation is complete the patient will return to the ward. If the surgery is a day case, the patient will need to wait for a few hours before returning home. This is because they need to recover properly from the anaesthetic first. The nurses on the ward will be able to help with anything and will care for the patient until they go home, or during the overnight stay.
What to expect during a buttock lift consultation
Patients will meet their surgeon for an initial consultation. This will usually last between 15 mins to one hour. During the buttock lift consultation, they will be able to discuss a number of things with the surgeon including:
- Why you wish to have a buttock lift
- What you hope to achieve from surgery
- If you have any current medical conditions or drug allergies
- If you have had any past surgical procedures in the past
- Which medications you are currently taking
- Any herbal remedies and vitamins you are taking
- If you currently drink alcohol, smoke tobacco or use recreational drugs
It is important that patients share all of the above with the surgeon as they will then be able to recommend the best option for the patient that way. The surgeon will then examine the buttocks and the amount of excess skin and fat in and around them. Furthermore, they may also wish to take confidential medical photos of the buttocks for the patient's records. The surgeon will work to come up with the most suitable procedure plan. They will base their decision upon:
- The amount of excess skin and fat you have
- How saggy the buttocks are
- Your general health status
- The best surgical approach to meet your expectations
- Your preferences in terms of scar locations
Questions to ask during a buttock lift surgery consultation
Being honest with the surgeon about what they would like to achieve from a buttock lift procedure is very important. Patients must make sure that they speak to the surgeon clearly about the expectations and desires they have.
Here are a few questions that patients should consider asking during the consultation:
- What can I do to help achieve the best results?
- Have you got any photos of any similar procedures that you have done in the past?
- Where will my final scars be?
- How long will it take to recover?
- Is there anything I can do to speed up the recovery process?
- What are the potential risks and complications of a buttock lift?
- Do you think my wishes of what the surgery can do are realistic?
Remember that there is no such thing as a silly question. The surgeon would much prefer to answer anything that concerns their prospective patient so that they can help to put them at ease whilst they decide whether to go ahead with the procedure.
Most surgeons strongly recommend a two week “cooling off period” between the consultation and having a procedure. This is to ensure that the patient has had time to think everything through and know that this is the right choice for them at this time.
Risks and Complications
What are the main buttock lift risks and complications?
Before patients consent to surgery, it is vital that they educate themselves and are aware of all of the potential buttock lift risks and complications.
Some of the potential buttock lift risks and complications include:
General surgical complications
All surgical procedures come with some general risks. These include:
- Blood clot formation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood loss
- Reaction to the anaesthetic
- Post-operative pain
- Allergic reactions
The surgeon and anaesthetist will talk through these potential risks before the patient has their procedure along with pre- and post-operative care advice. It is important that patients follow the surgeon’s specific advice as it will help reduce the chance of any risks and complications occurring.
Bleeding and bruising
A common complication of surgery is minor bleeding and bruising. Patients should expect to see some small amounts of bleeding around the incision after the operation. If bleeding occurs, it is usually either during or immediately after the operation. Bruising is to be expected after buttock lift surgery, but should settle within 1-2 weeks. If patients notice a large amount of bleeding or if bleeding occurs up to two weeks after the procedure, they should seek medical attention straight away.
Infection is a risk that comes with all surgical procedures. If the wounds become infected, patients should notify their surgeon as soon as possible. Most of these infections are only mild infections that develop around the wound and delay the healing time. These minor infections often settle down with a short course of antibiotics. A more serious infection may require a return to the hospital or a further procedure.
Please notify the surgeon or seek medical attention there are any of the following:
- Feeling feverish with a temperature over 38° C.
- Redness at the incision site that is spreading after the first 48 hours.
- Yellow pus-like or foul-smelling fluid from the incision.
- Pain or discomfort that your pain medication does not solve.
The incisions the surgeon makes during the buttock lift procedure will result in scarring. Where these scars will be located depends on which approach your surgeon uses and they will discuss this before the procedure. However, the amount of scarring the patient may experience depends on their skin’s ability to heal. Occasionally, some patients experience more severe forms of scarring, known as keloid or hypertrophic scars. Most patients are aware if they are at risk of developing these as they have had them before.
There is always a risk that patients may be unhappy with the aesthetic result of the buttock lift procedure. Therefore, it is advised that they fully understand the procedure and choose their surgeon carefully. Make sure to spend as much time as needed to discuss desired outcomes and make all goals clear to the surgeon.
After a buttock lift procedure, the ageing process will continue as it does for everybody. As a result, the outcome of the buttock lift may seem to fade over time as the skin naturally becomes a bit saggier. In addition, if patients experience a large change in their weight after surgery they may notice a change to the shape and size of the buttocks which is not preventable. Patients may, therefore, find that they need further surgery to return to the aesthetic that they desire.
Before going in to have buttock lift surgery, there are a few things that patients can do to prepare. These tips will help patients to have the smoothest recovery with the best possible results. Here are some general buttock lift preparation tips:
Pre-surgery preparation around the house
Shopping & cooking
It is a good idea to do a big food shop prior to the surgery date. This is because patients may not feel up to leaving the house for a while after the procedure. Also, it is important that patients do not strain themselves whilst carrying heavy shopping bags. It may even be a good idea to cook some meals to put in the freezer so patients do not have to worry about cooking for the first few days after the surgery.
Household & cleaning
For the same reasons, it may be a good idea to allocate some of the cleaning and bigger household chores to another household member or try to get them out of the way before the procedure. To prevent straining after the buttock lift, it is recommended that patients remove some mugs, crockery and food items from higher cupboards onto the kitchen counter so that they do not have to reach for them.
Children & pets
Looking after children and animals can be tiring and stressful. Patients will need plenty of time to rest and recover after the procedure. Therefore, it may be useful to ask friends and family to look after any young children and pets for the first few days after the operation.
As patients will not be able to drive after having the buttock lift, they will need to organise for someone to take them home from the hospital.
What to expect after buttock lift surgery
During the consultation, the surgeon will give specific instructions for the buttock lift aftercare. It is very important that patients follow their surgeon's tips as they will help during the recovery. The surgeon will give specific timeframes regarding driving, going back to work and resuming exercise. These timeframes will depend on many factors such as age, health, the approach used and how active patients normally are. Furthermore, the surgeon will give specific instructions regarding medication, if any, that patients may need to take to help the recovery process.
The post-operative appointment
After having the procedure, a follow-up appointment with the surgeon will be arranged. This usually takes place one to two weeks after the surgery. During this appointment, the surgeon will check the buttocks area is healing and recovery is going well. They will also check that no complications have arisen, and if needed, carry out any required treatment.
Returning to work
Patients will need to take some time off work to help with recovery. Generally, patients will be able to return to work after around two weeks. For an office job, patients may be able to return more quickly and for a more physically demanding job they may need up to three weeks off.
Sports and exercise
For the first four weeks after the surgery, patients will need to avoid all sport and strenuous exercise. During this time, it is recommended going on gentle walks to keep active, which in turn will help with recovery. After week four, patients will be able to start doing some exercise again. However, they should still avoid strenuous activity and contact sports. After six to eight weeks patients should be able to resume all sports and exercise. This includes contact sports and weightlifting. Patients should ask their surgeon for specific timeframes of when they will be able to return to sport and exercise.
Sitting and sleeping
It is important that for at least two weeks after the surgery that patients avoid prolonged sitting. Patients should avoid putting direct pressure on the buttocks as much as possible after the surgery. Patients can do this by using a pillow to raise the buttocks when they sit down. In addition, patients will be encouraged to sleep on their front or sides after surgery. Patients should avoid sleeping on their back for the first three weeks as this also puts pressure on the buttocks.
Patients may be given a compression garment to wear after the surgery. The surgeon will inform the patient specifically if they need one as part of their buttock lift aftercare and how long they should wear it for. Usually, patients will have to wear it for around four to eight weeks. This is to support the buttocks and to ensure that they heal properly. The purpose of a compression garment is to reduce swelling and help to achieve the best final result.
To help the results of the buttock lift surgery last as long as possible, patients should continue to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet that contains lots of fruit and vegetables. Patients should try and eat foods that are high in protein and low in sodium and fats. They should try and drink lots of water and caffeine-free fluids. It is recommended to avoid alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs both before and after having a buttock lift.
The final results
Although patients will be able to see the results of the buttock lift immediately, it can take three to six months to fully appreciate the final cosmetic results. The results of the buttock lift will be long-lasting, however, the procedure cannot halt the process of ageing or the effects of a large change in weight. This means that as the patient gets older they may notice the buttocks begin to sag again. Also, gaining or losing lots of weight can change the result of the buttock lift. Therefore, patients should try and maintain a stable weight to gain the full benefits of the buttock lift.
Usually, scars tend to be raised in the first few weeks after surgery and will eventually fade to faint lines over the following months. Once the scars have fully healed, they will be left with a more toned, rounded buttocks. Remember that following the surgeon’s specific buttock lift aftercare advice will also help to prolong the results of the procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buttock Lift Surgery Recovery and Postoperative FAQs
Buttock Lift Surgery FAQs
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- https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/body-procedures/skin-removal-after-weight-loss/ American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
Our content is written by our Medical Quality Managers and Patient Care Advisers, all of who have medical backgrounds and training. Prior to publishing, all the information is reviewed by a surgeon specialised within the relevant field.
Discover more about buttock lift surgery
Buttock lift aims to rejuvenate by removing excess skin and fat