A buttock lift is a cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of the buttocks. It may be done as part of a tummy tuck. Or it may be done as part of a lower body lift to contour the buttocks, groin, thighs and abdomen.

During a buttock lift, excess skin and fat are removed from the buttocks. The remaining skin is then repositioned to create a more toned look.

A buttock lift alone won't add volume to the buttocks. But sometimes a buttock lift is combined with an augmentation. An augmentation alters the shape or size of the buttocks with implants or fat taken from other parts of the body.

Why it's done

With age, the skin changes and becomes looser. In addition, sun damage, changes in weight and genetic factors can make it harder for skin to spring back into place after being stretched. These factors can cause the buttocks and other parts of the body to sag.

A buttock lift is typically done in combination with other body contouring procedures. You might consider a buttock lift if you:

  • Have lost a large amount of weight and your weight has been stable for at least 6 to 12 months
  • Are overweight and haven't been able to lose a large amount of weight through physical activity and changes in your diet
  • Have a healthy weight but want a dramatic improvement in the appearance of your lower body
  • Have a healthy weight but you've had fat removed through liposuction and you have loose skin

Keep in mind that a buttock lift won't change your skin quality.

A buttock lift isn't for everyone. Your health care provider might caution against a buttock lift if you:

  • Have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
  • Plan to lose a significant amount of weight
  • Have a body mass index that's greater than 32
  • Are a smoker
  • Have an unstable mental health condition


A buttock lift poses various risks, including:

  • Fluid buildup beneath the skin (seroma). Drainage tubes left in place after surgery can help reduce the risk of seroma. Fluid may also be removed after surgery using a needle and syringe.
  • Poor wound healing. Sometimes areas along the incision line heal poorly or begin to separate. You might be given antibiotics if there is a wound healing problem.
  • Scarring. Incision scars from a buttock lift are permanent. But they're typically placed in areas that aren't easily visible.
  • Changes in skin sensation. During a buttock lift, the repositioning of your tissues can affect superficial sensory nerves. You'll likely feel some reduced sensation or numbness. Numbness usually decreases in the months after the procedure.

Like any other type of major surgery, a buttock lift poses a risk of bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

If you're having a buttock augmentation at the same time as a buttock lift, discuss the side effects with your surgeon. Using your own fat can have potentially serious side effects, such as infection and even death.

How you prepare

Initially, you'll talk to a plastic surgeon about a buttock lift. During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely:

  • Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions. Talk about any medications you are taking or have taken recently, as well as any surgeries you've had.

    If your desire for a buttock lift is related to weight loss, the surgeon will likely ask detailed questions about your weight gain and loss, as well as your diet.

  • Do a physical exam. To determine your treatment options, the surgeon will examine your buttocks, skin and lower body. The surgeon might also take pictures of your buttocks for your medical record. You'll also need blood tests.
  • Discuss your expectations. Explain why you want a buttock lift and what you're hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the benefits and risks, including scarring.

Before a buttock lift you might also need to:

  • Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. Smoking can also significantly increase your risk of complications. If you smoke, you'll need to stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
  • Avoid certain medications. You'll likely need to avoid taking blood thinners, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements. They can increase bleeding.
  • Maintain a stable weight. Ideally, you'll maintain a stable weight for at least 6 to 12 months before having a buttock lift. Significant weight loss after the procedure can affect your results.
  • Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you as you begin to recover.

What you can expect

Before the procedure

A buttock lift is done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. During a buttock lift, you'll be made comfortable with the aid of a general anesthetic — which puts you in a sleep-like state.

A tube will be placed into your bladder to collect urine. Your legs will be placed in devices called sequential compression boots, which are used to prevent blood clotting during and after surgery.

During the procedure

Your plastic surgeon will make an incision along the lower back, from hip to hip. The excess skin below the incision is pulled up, lifting the buttocks. Extra skin and fat are then removed.

During the procedure you'll be given an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection.

The procedure typically takes an average of 2 to 3 hours. However, it can take up to six hours if the surgery is combined with other procedures, such as a body lift.

After the procedure

After a buttock lift, your incision will likely be covered with surgical dressing. One or more drains are typically placed under the wound and close to the incision line to drain any excess blood or fluid.

Your health care team will help you walk as early as the first day after a buttock lift to help prevent the formation of blood clots.

You'll likely feel moderate pain, which will initially be controlled by intravenous pain medication. Drains might be left in place for several weeks after surgery. You'll be shown how to empty and care for your drains.

You might need to continue taking an antibiotic after your buttock lift. You might also need to take a medication to prevent blood clots after surgery.

After a few days, you'll begin wearing a supportive garment for the next few weeks. This will help prevent fluid buildup and provide support while you heal.

Scar management might include use of silicone sheeting, scar cream and massage. The appearance of your scar will improve over time.

For the first months after a buttock lift, you'll need to take care when moving, increasing your activity level slowly. You'll need to avoid positions that strain your incision line to prevent the wound from reopening. Your health care provider will provide instructions. In addition, follow-up visits with your provider will be needed.


By removing excess skin and fat from your buttocks, a buttock lift can give you a more toned appearance.

Buttock lift results are usually long lasting. Keep in mind that maintaining a stable weight is crucial for retaining your results.

Aug. 19, 2022
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