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Butt implants vs BBL: Which one is better for you?

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Are you going back and forth between deciding on getting butt implants vs BBL to improve your buttocks? It’s easy to dismiss the difference between these procedures just because they’re both butt enhancements. However, it’s crucial that you get the right procedure for you so you can be satisfied with the results.

Here, we compiled and compared the butt implant procedure with the popular Brazilian Butt Lift on multiple aspects, thoroughly. We started with the similarities between the procedures and moved on to differences comparing their surgical techniques, results, longevity, costs, and more to find of which option is better for you in that specific aspect. So without further ado, let’s get started. 

What is a BBL?

BBL, or Brazilian Butt Lift, is a cosmetic procedure to increase the size of the buttocks while making the patient’s waist thinner. It is one of the most preferred buttock enhancement surgeries throughout the world for its remarkable and satisfactory results.

How does BBL work?

BBL works with fat harvesting and grafting. Excess fat deposits in the abdominal area, back, and even arms will be harvested with the liposuction procedure. After that, the harvested fat will be purified from blood and other fluids. Then, purified fat will be injected into the buttocks to give it a fuller, rounder shape.

What are butt implants?

Also known as gluteal implants, they are round or oval-shaped solid silicone implants that are placed into the buttocks to boost the projection of the area. Butt implant sizes are between 150 to 800cc and patients get to choose which size they want. Most implant surgeries are done with implants above 400cc in size as patients would love to have noticeable changes.

How do butt implants work?

Gluteal implants work by inserting implants into the buttocks. The silicone implant can be placed under or above gluteal muscles to increase the volume of the butt dramatically. The placement will depend on the plastic surgeon’s approach and your body’s anatomy.

Similarities between butt implants vs BBL

The first round of implants vs BBL is about what they have in common. Both are the most popular options when it comes to buttock augmentation but how similar are they in reality? And as these factors are similar between both procedures, they probably won’t be the deciding factor for you, but they’re important to review nonetheless. 

They both improve the appearance of the buttocks

As can be understood from both procedures’ names, patients’ buttocks will be the center of attention in BBL and butt implant procedures. Every step taken during procedures will be to increase the volume of the butt and fulfill the patient’s expectations for a better shape.

They are both performed under general anesthesia

Both procedures are performed with general anesthesia. However, depending on the type of BBL, local anesthesia with sedation can be given to the patient instead of general. The amount of fat transfer can also be a determiner for given anesthesia. For buttock implants, general anesthesia is a must in every situation.

If you look for subtle changes, grafting small amounts of fat under local anesthesia will be better instead of getting small implants and going through a full-scaled surgery. Especially if you have concerns about general anesthesia and its side effects.

There's a chance you might not like the results in both surgeries

Let’s say that you aimed for the biggest projection your butt could afford to have with implants and got the surgery. After the swelling is gone you may think that it could be better if the implants were a bit smaller. Because now you have a butt that looks unnatural for its size and your body proportions. The only way of fixing it will be either implant removal or replacement surgery.

After BBL, the body will absorb some of the grafted fat. After the swelling is gone and the fat is settled, you may find your butt smaller than expected. This may make you search for additional treatments or another BBL procedure to reach your goals.

Both procedures are reversible

Placed implants can be removed or replaced several months after the surgery. However, some doctors recommend waiting at least a year for such action as surgical sites should be healed completely.

BBL is also reversible but requires at least a year for it. Unlike implants, grafted fat will take a longer time to settle in their new place. To reverse a BBL, a standard liposuction procedure will be performed and unwanted fat will be removed.

Without any concern, you can get both butt enhancement procedures as they are reversible just in case you don’t like the changes made.

Differences between butt implants vs BBL

Now we are at the second round of butt implants vs Brazilian Butt Lift: the differences. No matter what, there will be always something different between the approaches even though their goal is the same. This is the section where you start to decide on getting a Brazilian Butt Lift vs butt implants.

BBL can improve areas besides your butt

BBL uses patients’ own fat to increase the projection of the buttocks. For this reason, unwanted fat from the waist, thighs, back, and even arms will be removed to inject into the buttocks. For this reason, patients will be one step closer to the dream body: The hourglass shape.

Implants will be placed in the buttocks and that’s it. There won’t be any additional procedures to perform on the patient.

So, if you are happy with your current body shape but want to get rid of flat buttocks, implants will be good. However, if you want to hit two birds with one stone, BBL is the best option for you.

Butt implant recovery is shorter

Downtime after a butt implant surgery will take around 6 weeks. For 2-4 weeks, you will be prohibited from sitting directly or sleeping on your back. This period will depend on how well the patient is recovering. After a month, patients can go back to their daily activities, and wait a few weeks more for swelling to be gone.

On the other hand, the BBL recovery time takes around 3 months. Same as implants, BBL patients can’t sit on their butt directly but for a longer period, around 2 months. Because newly placed fat will be delicate and require some time to connect with the blood supply properly. By the third month, most of the swelling will be gone and the recovery period will be over.

So, if you don’t want to deal with a long recovery process and get back to your daily life as soon as possible, implants vs BBL can be a better choice.

You have to have enough fat for a BBL

To get implants, you need to be healthy for the surgery, don’t have saggy excess skin. Also, you should avoid smoking and have control over your diabetes or tension if you have such medical history.

Except for the saggy skin, mentioned factors above apply to BBL as well. However, the most important requirement for a BBL surgery is to have enough fat for the transfer. Without enough fat, the results won’t be promising for the patient.

We can say that having enough body fat is the most crucial factor when it comes to butt implants vs BBL. If you don’t have enough fat tissues for BBL, implants will be the optimal decision.

You can be more exact with your butt size with implants

Patients can choose the size of butt implants between 150 to 800 cc per butt cheek. Even though the surgeon will give recommendations according to the patient’s body proportions, patients will have the final word.

When it comes to BBL surgery, this situation can’t really work as the patient’s own body fat will be used. Not every patient can have a sufficient amount of fat for the changes they want. Also, know that excess fat suctioning is not a solution as it can cause life-threatening complications.

Butt implants will provide more reliable results

Silicone butt implant results are more reliable than BBL because they are solid and will stay in their location after being placed. Unless ruptured or flipped, implants will stay in their places.

However, after BBL, the body will absorb around 20-40% of grafted fat in the buttocks. For this reason, BBL results are unpredictable and you may need touch-ups after the fat is settled completely. Also, as fat tissues change their size according to weight, any post-op weight fluctuation will affect the results easily if patients don’t maintain body weight after.

In terms of butt implants vs BBL results, the uncertainty of BBL may not sound good for some patients if they look for stable results. 

Butt implants are longer lasting

Once implants are put inside your butt, they will be with you forever. Butt implants are considered permanent because they are made of semi-solid silicone rubber which cannot rupture that easily. So, the only way to get rid of them is to have a removal or replacement surgery.

Even though BBL is considered permanent, its results generally last 5 to 6 years, 10 at maximum. Fat cells change over time as you age and it can’t be prevented. That is why BBL is not totally permanent. However, the longevity of BBL results depends on how well the patient takes care of their butt after the surgery.

If you want one-time permanent projection improvement, implants are an excellent choice. BBL is great in terms of longevity as well but there’s nothing that can be done against aging cells and fading results. 

The complication risks are very different

Apart from the common post-op risks, butt implants have their own specific risks such as displacement, capsular contracture, and allergy. Rupture isn’t the case for butt implants. BBL, on the other hand, has fat-related complications.

Implant-specific risks

All the potential complications that implants can cause after being placed:

  • The implant being too big:
    When the implant placed is too big, the tension would be so great in the buttocks. This can prevent incisions from healing as known as wound dehiscence.

  • Displacement:
    When the implant moves from its original position due to trauma, weak tissue support, incorrect placement, or capsular contracture.

  • Capsular contracture:
    When the formation of scar tissue that surrounds the implant thickens and moves its position.

  • Rupture:
    When a breakage happens in the outer shell of the implant, gel leaks and causes an asymmetry between two sides. However, butt implant rupture is extremely rare.

  • Allergy:
    Even though it is extremely rare, your body may show adverse effects to synthetic rubber. (1)

Reminder: Silicone rubber is biocompatible so your tissues will get less stimulated by the implants. Meaning that “the risk of rejection” doesn’t apply to butt implants.

BBL-specific risks

Fat-related complications that can happen after BBL surgery:

  • Fat necrosis: 
    When newly placed fat can’t connect with blood vessels or doesn’t get enough supply, they die and cause lumps in the butt.

  • Fat embolism: 
    If fat is injected into butt muscles, it can enter the bloodstream and cause a blockage. 

Remember that if you go to an experienced plastic surgeon, the chances of potential risks will be minimized.

BBL is slightly more affordable

BBL costs between $8000 to $10000 on average. Depending on the type of BBL and the extent of the fat injection, the price can go up or down.

Butt implants cost $11000 on average. Body augmentation with implants is a complex procedure and requires expertise. The material and quality of implants can increase the price as well. That’s why it is more expensive than a BBL.

Prices also change depending on the location and the surgeon. There are numerous clinics that offer surgery packages for affordable prices.

Numbers are talking: Statistics of both procedures

After reading both similarities and differences you may wonder what are the thoughts of people about these procedures. To save you from such research trouble, we compiled several statistics.

  • Positive aesthetic appearance:
    Satisfaction from butt implants is 100% while it is 88.2% for BBL.

  • Complication chances:
    Experiencing a complication after implants is around 31.4% while it is 6.8% after a BBL.

  • Patient preference: 
    Both procedures are the most preferred among other buttock augmentation procedures. However, surgeons perform Brazilian Butt Lift surgery 33.7% more than implant surgery.

Grand finale: Silicone vs your own fat

Here, we made a quick table for you to see all the key differences between butt implants vs BBL. If you were going back and forth between these two cosmetic procedures, this table should be enough to answer which one is better for your aesthetic goals.

Buttock implantsBrazilian Butt Lift
Maximum achievable volumeSome fat will be absorbed after the surgery
Predictable resultsUnpredictable results
PermanentLast up to 10 years
Performed under general anesthesiaCan be performed under both general and local anesthesia
Don’t require fat for body contouringNeed to have enough fat for the transfer
May look unnaturalProvides a natural shape
Focuses on buttocks onlyProvides a thinner waist and rounder buttocks
Complication chances are highComplication chances are low
High satisfaction among patientsHigh satisfaction, but not as high as implant patients
Costs moreMore affordable

As can be seen above and throughout the article, implants can be a better choice for people who are happy with their bodies overall and just want to increase the size of their butt. Or for people who don’t have enough fat to graft for the butt shape and size they want.

Brazilian Butt Lift is better for patients who want to get rid of excess fat in their waist, abdomen, and thighs and shape their bodies to an hourglass figure. Also, patients who prefer more natural-looking results are better candidates for BBL procedures. 

  • Abboud, Marwan et al. “Improving the Female Silhouette and Gluteal Projection: An Anatomy-Based, Safe, and Harmonious Approach Through Liposuction, Suspension Loops, and Moderate Lipofilling.” Aesthetic surgery journal vol. 41,4 (2021): 474-489. doi:10.1093/asj/sjaa157
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