Forget Butt Implants—“Butt Contouring” Is the Hot New Thing

Updated 09/08/17

It’s safe to say that butts are having a huge moment right now—Sir Mix-a-Lot would be so proud. Partly due to the Kardashians’ ever-prominent ass-ets, partly because of the rise of the “belfie” (butt selfie, for those not in the know), and partly because social media makes it just that much easier to discuss, display, and analyze body parts to no end, the rise of the behind is happening, and 2015 seems to be the year when “big butts” (as the aforementioned musician puts it so eloquently) are the hot new thing.

And lest you mourn your flat, average, decidedly anti–Kim K butt, know this: “Butt contouring” is here, and it will help you achieve the round, lifted tush of your dreams. All you have to do is undergo surgery that moves fat from one part of your body to… your butt, obviously. Whether this sounds like a dream or a nightmare, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about this new procedure. Keep scrolling to find out all the facts!

To help explain this buzzy new procedure, we spoke with Dr. Matthew Schulman, New York City board-certified plastic surgeon. He says this procedure is actually called the Scoop Lift Brazillian Butt Lift (though we thought “butt contouring” had a nice ring) and is a two-part procedure that is done at the same time during a single operation. The first step involves “harvesting” (or collecting) fat through liposuction. “Basically, I remove fat from the areas that patients don’t want it,” he says. “I can remove fat from any part of the body, but I specifically like taking it from the lower back and flank area.” The key is taking “good” fat that is stable.

Then comes the fun part: injecting this fat into your buttocks and hips. “Removing fat from the back and flank area already contours and makes your body look better, but adding it to the butt and hips really completes the transformation of the lower body,” he says. So, if you’ve ever dreamed that you could shift some of your weight around in your body and put your extra belly or thigh fat in your butt, your prayers have been answered.

For the actual operation, Schulman explains, patients are put under anesthesia. You can expect to be swollen and sore for a few weeks after, though recovery time varies by the patient and how much liposuction has occurred. “Patients will begin to see the results of their new body when the swelling goes down, which takes a few weeks,” he says. “Patients can return to work in one to two weeks, and can resume with all normal activity in about three weeks.” As for how long results last, Schulman promises that—like diamonds—they last forever.

Unlike fillers or implants that can harden or lead to infection (ew), the fat used in this procedure is part of your own body, making it safe, natural, and long-lasting, according to Schulman. “The transplanted fat cells stay where they are injected, eliminating the risk of shifting/movement that is often associated with butt implants,” he explains. “The deposited fat cells join the new cells in the area in which they are injected, making results appear extremely natural and long lasting.”

This all sounds great, if a bit graphic, but how much does a procedure like this cost? Well, it’s definitely not cheap: Schulman says the cost starts at about $10,000. Yikes. Then again, this is around the cost of most liposuction surgeries—the difference being that most traditional lipo is used as a solution for health issues linked to obesity, while this Scoop Lift can be done by anyone. “Even people who are thin without much fat can have it done,” Schulman tells us. “As a doctor, I know all of the spots where fat is stored in the body.

Some people are too thin to get it done, but I don’t run into this problem often.”

This might sound like a dream procedure for some people, but it’s important to remember that—like all liposuction procedures—there can be complications. Schulman says in his own experience, complications have been rare, but can include a bad reaction to the anesthesia, or lumpiness on the skin if you don’t choose the right person to do the job. “Your skin can appear lumpy after liposuction due to uneven fat removal, which is why it’s so important to always go to a professional who has extensive experience in fat-transfer procedures,” he warns.

And we couldn’t let Schulman go without asking one of our most pressing questions: Does this procedure help with cellulite? Say, for example, we were lipo-ing fat out of our thighs—would that decrease the appearance of cellulite there? According to Schulman, yes. “By removing fat from areas of the body, cellulite appearance often goes down,” he says. “Also with careful placement into specific parts of the buttocks, this fat will appear smooth, rounding out and plumping up the butt.” (You can head to his website for some eye-opening before-and-after photos.)

This procedure sounds kind of awesome, kind of crazy, and so 21st century. But we can’t help but wonder if the big-butt phase is just that—a phase. And at the end of the day, when our fascination with the Kardashian clan has faded, what will we think of the time we decided to transplant fat from our stomach and thighs to our butts? Then again, will there ever really be that day? Up for debate.

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