We bust the myths about so-called ‘Brazilian Butt Lifts’.

Kim Kardashian - Women's Health & Fitness

Kim Kardashian (pictured) and JLo have blossomed into icons – and women are aspiring to bottoms you could serve the good china on. In fact, ‘booty’ is among the biggest compliments a gal can get.

Victorian Cosmetic Institute cheek-spert Dr Gavin Chan gives us the low-down.

How does a butt lift differ from breast implants?

While both aim to better approximate ideal proportions, the procedures couldn’t be more different. While a breast implant is just that – introducing a foreign object to enlarge the breast – a butt lift uses your own fat stores to sculpt the desired shape. Liposuction is performed to remove fat from stubborn areas such as the waist, back, tummy or hips, before fat is re-injected into your bee-hind cheeks to make them shapelier. “Think of it like a potplant,” Dr Chan says. “You can basically take it out and put it anywhere.” Often lipo is performed around the buttocks – think outer thighs and above your butt – to optimise the sculpting effect of a BBL.

Can skinny minnies have fat transfers?
That depends – not on your weight or dress size, but on how much fat you have available. “There is no guideline because it’s different for everybody,” Dr Chan says. “Slim people can have liposuction.”

What can I expect?
After your health history and current medical status have been cleared – “if there is any risk whatsoever, it’s not worth it,” Dr Chan says – you’re good to book in. The liposuction procedure is done as day surgery under a general anaesthetic, heavy sedation or while you’re awake (while it sounds like a big deal, the incision is no bigger than the diameter of a little finger – so small it won’t leave a trace). To help keep the fat in mint condition, the liposuction procedure uses lower than normal suction pressures to minimise trauma to the fat – which is then kept in a vacuum to reduce its exposure to air and oxidisation.

Finally, the fat is transferred to syringes and carefully introduced into the buttocks to achieve the desired effect. Standard criteria for the perfect butt are an upside-down heart shape appearance from the back, and perky profile. While you can return to work within a week and drive in one to two days, it’s not ideal to sit for a few weeks after the procedure. Compression garments need to be worn for around three weeks.

What about when STATEMENT Butts go out of fashion?
“People often come in with an idea that they want a sizeable butt, but it’s my job to educate them on what will achieve the best outcome,” Dr Chan says. While he concedes that celeb derrieres are helping to drive the trend towards ample posteriors, Dr Chan warns against going under the knife for the sake of fashion. “The goal is to make it look natural and in proportion so it becomes a nice feature,” he says. Dr Chan also feels duty-bound to correct would-be patients’ perceptions of how their bodies measure up to the ideal innately recognised by humans as the standard of feminine beauty. “The goal is not just to give people a big butt, but to get them into ideal proportions. People often choose bits that aren’t so important; they might ask for a butt lift but the big issue might really be their hips.”

Will weight gain wreck the shape?
 “If you gain weight it will only be a bigger size version of the new shape,” Dr Chan says. Once the fat cell population of an area has been reduced, it can’t re-populate. If you do gain weight, the fat cells you do have left will stretch. “If someone does gain weight, it re-distributes more evenly.”

How much does it cost?
The price depends on the number of areas from which you have fat removed, but expect to pay between $8,000 and $13,000 – about the same as the cost of breast augmentation ($9,000 to $13,000).

Photo credit: Getty Images