Buttock Lift


Hedy Marks, MPH

What is a buttock lift?

A buttock lift, or butt lift, is the surgical lifting and tightening of the skin of the buttocks. Most people have a buttock lift for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of the buttocks. A buttock lift involves removing excess skin and repositioning tissues to lift and shape the buttocks.

A buttock lift is a common but major surgery that has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having a buttock lift. 

Other procedures that may be performed 

Your doctor may recommend other procedures in addition to a buttock lift to enhance the appearance of your buttocks or other areas. This is common for sagging or loose skin that results from significant weight loss. Other procedures may include:

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  • Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, to remove excess skin from the stomach area

  • Belt lipectomy, or body lift, to remove loose, hanging skin from the waist down. This often includes a buttock lift.

  • Breast surgery to lift sagging breasts

  • Buttock augmentation, sometimes called a Brazilian butt lift, using implants or fat injections to add fullness and roundness to the buttocks

  • Facial plastic surgeries, such as facelift, neck lift, or brow lift, to tighten sagging skin and create a more youthful appearance

  • Liposuction to remove excess fat

  • Thigh or arm lift to remove sagging skin on the thighs and arms

Why is a buttock lift performed?

Your doctor may recommend a buttock lift to tighten and lift low, flat, or unevenly shaped buttocks. A buttock lift can also remove loose, sagging skin on the buttocks that result from significant weight loss or aging. 

Your doctor may only consider a buttock lift for you if other treatment options with less risk of complications have failed. Other options include diet and exercise. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on a buttock lift.

Who performs a buttock lift?

A plastic surgeon performs a buttock lift. A plastic surgeon is a specialist in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. 

How is a buttock lift performed?

Your buttock life will be performed in a hospital, surgeon's office, or outpatient surgery setting. Your surgeon will make incisions in certain areas of the buttocks based on the amount and location of the excess skin. 

An ellipse shaped incision on the upper portion of the buttock below the bikini line is most common type of incision. Your surgeon may use a "butt wedge" incision at the crease of the buttock if you have minor sagging. 

Your surgeon will remove excess tissues and pull the remaining skin to its new position. The incisions are closed with stitches, surgical tape, or skin adhesives. Your surgeon may place small drains under the skin to drain excess blood or fluid. 

A buttock lift is usually an outpatient procedure. Your doctor will advise you on which procedure is best for you and if you need to stay in the hospital based on your diagnosis, age, medical history, general health, and possibly your personal preference. Learn about the different buttock lift procedures and ask why your surgeon will use a particular type for you.

Types of anesthesia that may be used

Your surgeon will perform a buttock lift using either general anesthesia or regional anesthesia, depending on the specific procedure. 

  • General anesthesia is a combination of intravenous (IV) medications and gases that put you in a deep sleep. You are unaware of the procedure and will not feel any pain.

  • Regional anesthesia is also known as a nerve block. It involves injecting an anesthetic around certain nerves to numb a large area of the body. To numb a smaller area, your doctor injects the anesthetic in the skin and tissues around the procedure area (local anesthesia). You will likely have sedation with regional anesthesia to keep you relaxed and comfortable.

What to expect the day of your buttock lift

The day of your surgery, you can expect to:

  • Talk with a preoperative nurse. The nurse will perform an exam and ensure that all needed tests are in order. The nurse can also answer questions and will make sure you understand and sign the surgical consent form.

  • Remove all clothing and jewelry and dress in a hospital gown. It is a good idea to leave all jewelry and valuables at home or with a family member. Your care team will give you blankets for modesty and warmth.

  • Talk with the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist about your medical history and the type of anesthesia you will have.

  • A surgical team member will start an IV.

  • The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will start your anesthesia.

  • A tube may be placed in your windpipe to protect and control breathing during general anesthesia. You will not feel or remember this or the surgery as they happen.

  • The surgical team will monitor your vital signs and other critical body functions. This occurs throughout the procedure and your recovery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable.

What are the risks and potential complications of a buttock lift?

As with all surgeries, a buttock lift invo