Brazilian Butt Lift Recovery

From the moment the surgeon closes the last incision to the day you’re finally healed, we’ve got all the details on what it’s really like to recover from a Brazilian butt lift.

The Skinny


Butt lifts. The results can be quite considerable, but what does this ever-popular plastic surgery procedure actually entail? Let’s review the basics. A butt lift is a procedure to alter the fat distribution and overall appearance of the buttocks. A Brazilian butt lift surgery specifically refers to a butt lift procedure that uses liposuction and subsequent fat transfer to harvest fat cells from one area of the body for replacement in the butt area. A Brazilian butt lift increases volume, shape, and size, and overall body contours. A Brazilian butt lift does not address skin sagging concerns so some candidates may choose to pursue a traditional butt lift at the same time to tone and tighten skin and remove excess skin.

The Specifics


What to Expect During Brazilian Butt Lift Recovery

So, what’s it actually like to create your ideal buttocks? All candidates can expect pain, swelling, and bruising in the recovery period following this plastic surgery. While specific recovery time will vary depending on how invasive your procedure is and how you naturally heal, one to two weeks is a safe amount of time to assume you’re going to feel significantly uncomfortable and be pretty limited in your activities.

Another factor you may need to consider is how you recover from general anesthesia, if that is a component of your procedure. A BBL can be performed with traditional general anesthesia or ‘awake’ with IV sedation. Many people feel nausea, drowsiness, and slightly disoriented in the hours following general anesthesia. These side effects tend to resolve rather quickly, as the sedating medications wear off. Regardless, it is a part of the immediate post-surgical recovery.

**The Ultimate Brazilian Butt Lift Recovery Timeline Ok, let’s get into the nitty gritty of Brazilian butt lift recovery. We’ll start with how to utilize your pre-op time to minimize the intensity of your post-op time and then we’ll look at what you can expect from the first few days, weeks, and months.

It should also be noted that your surgeon should provide comprehensive pre- and post-op instructions, and you should always defer to the advice of your medical team. This is simply meant to serve as a guide.

  • Pre-Op

    • Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, taking certain supplements, and reduce caffeine intake a few days prior to surgery. This reduces inflammatory markers and promotes overall health optimizing you for a successful and speedy recovery.
    • Get your supplies together! Have the essentials like ice packs, pain and inflammation medications (like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen), any medications your doctor advises (like antibiotic ointments), compression garments, and a special offloading pillow that will allow you to sit without putting pressure on the butt. Check out our complete guide to recovering from cosmetic procedures in comfort and style to learn more.

  • Immediately Post-Op

    • Depending on how you react to general anesthesia, you may feel drowsy, slightly disoriented, and nauseous. Even those of us lucky enough to tolerate anesthesia should expect to feel quite sore and be noticeably swollen. Your liposuctioned areas in addition to your buttocks may also be numb or tingly. These immediate side effects should wear off within a few hours.
    • Remember that part of your general anesthesia is usually strong pain medications that will have you waking up with localized numbness and not sharp pain. As these medicines wear off, you should expect to feel a more intense (but not severe) pain. Your doctor will tell you what pain medicines are most appropriate for you post-op.
    • And, remember you are not allowed to sit on your butt. Yes, you heard right. You can’t sit on your butt for at least two weeks. Seriously. We hope you bought that special pillow.

  • Day 1

    • So, you hopefully got some sleep lying on your stomach-how fun! You ideally kept an ice pack and your pain or inflammation meds not too far away. Medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are important not only for pain control, but also for keeping inflammation down and promoting faster recovery.
    • You’re probably feeling sore and uncomfortable around your butt and wherever you had liposuction performed.
    • You’ll be sporting some bruises in all the areas that were treated (both the donor site and the buttocks)
    • Some people find they don’t have much of an appetite following these types of procedures. Even if you’re not enjoying a 12 course feast, make sure to drink plenty of water!
    • Also, it’s not unusual to have some bleeding and drainage from your surgical wounds. Remember your body is working hard to heal and it’s sending a lot of blood with nutrients and infection-fighting cells to these areas. This creates considerable inflammation that you can control with meds and ice packs.
    • And don't forget to wear your compression garments as directed by your board certified plastic surgeon.

  • Day 2 to Day 14

    • Each day, pain, swelling, and bruising will slowly improve.
    • Any sutures or special post op bandages usually can be removed around days five to seven.
    • During this first week, don’t expect to go to work or be doing anything strenuous. This is the time to binge watch TV (on your stomach), finally organize your inbox (at your standing desk), or learn a new language… whatever works for you.

  • Week 2 to Week 4

    • Ok, so now you can probably start thinking about getting back to some more active aspects of life. If you need to travel home from your procedure, it’s now safe to get on a plane. You can also think about heading out for some errands or back to the office.
    • Depending on the candidate, it may be ok to start sitting on your butt again. How exciting!

  • Week 4 to Week 12

    • For most candidates, it’s now safe to get that heart rate up again. Your doctor will give you specific instructions, but, by week four or five, you can generally resume more strenuous activities and exercise. Take it slow though. Keep in mind, exercise at this time will most likely cause increased swelling, but this should go down within a few hours.
    • We’ll mention again that during this entire time swelling will continue to go down.

  • 6 months to 1 Year

    • Swelling will resolve completely by this time.
    • There’s not much for you to do other than be mindful and to continue to take general precautions to minimize swelling.
    • Also within this time frame all natural fat reabsorption will most likely be complete and your final results will be noticeable.

Tips to Improve Your Brazilian Butt Lift Recovery

Now that you know more about the recovery timeline associated with a Brazilian butt lift, we’ve got some tips to help you progress along your healing journey as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. Like we mentioned, every individual body heals at its own pace, but there are definitely some universal truths that augment healing.

1. Be Mindful & Be Patient

We’re not being deliberately vague here. Your body will let you know what it needs. If you feel like taking it slow one day, do it! If you suddenly have the desire to get some fresh air, go for it (albeit you are medically cleared for it)! The mind-body connection exists and the more you respect it the easier your recovery will be. Patience rules the day, so be kind to your body and slowly ease yourself back into your routine without forcing things like your return to work or working out.

2. Eat well, sleep well, & stay hydrated

This is just good life advice, but, especially during times of increased stress on the body (think: following a major plastic surgery), the more you nourish yourself and properly rest the better. Some of the best repair hormones only get cycled through your blood while you sleep, so be like a pro athlete during the months following your surgery and get those eight hours. Your butt (and your entire being) will thank you for it.

Additionally, eating a balanced diet free from processed foods in combination with plenty of water and taking it easy on caffeine and alcohol will naturally reduce inflammation and help lessen swelling more quickly (check out our guide to what to eat before and after cosmetic procedures). Oh, and don’t smoke. Our advice is to never smoke, but it’s particularly vital to lay off after a major surgery.

3. Elevate & Ice

Cold compresses and keeping off your butt will help regulate blood circulation to the area and reduce the amount of fluid accumulation in and around your surgical sites. While blood does bring all the good nutrients and healing cells, it can also leave large deposits of infection-fighting cells and other materials you don’t really need hanging around. This is why icing for periods of time (i.e. not continuously) creates the best balance of blood flow. In the case of a BBL, keeping pressure off your butt also reduces fat reabsorption meaning more voluminous results.

4. Moderate Your Activities

This probably doesn’t need to be said, but, just in case, three weeks after your Brazilian butt lift is not the time to begin your CrossFit training regimen. Vigorous exercise makes blood pressure increase. Increased blood pressure means increased swelling. Intense exercise also naturally increases the stress hormone cortisol. While it’s great in moderation when you're healthy, it’s not ideal in the months following a major surgery.

Other activities to avoid or limit: sitting on your butt, sun bathing, and squatting or stretching your legs unnecessarily.

Brazilian Butt Lift Side Effects & Complications

So now that we’ve thoroughly covered the days and weeks following a Brazilian butt lift procedure, let’s review what you can definitely expect versus what may or may not occur. Every Brazilian butt lift patient should expect at least one to two weeks of bruising and at least four to six weeks of noticeable swelling. Soreness, moderate pain, tightness, and some drainage from surgical wounds are all common side effects that will resolve within a week or two and can be mitigated with medications.

While rare, more serious complications are possible. Infections of the body tissues are a possible complication of Brazilian butt lift and can be treated with antibiotics. Permanent numbness from nerve damage, intractable pain, asymmetry, and scarring are more significant complications that may require further surgical revision or be unable to be fixed.

The Takeaway


The healing process following a plastic surgery like a Brazilian butt lift can seem intimidating. And while we are not minimizing the fact that a butt lift is a major surgery with considerable risks and side effects, thousands of Brazilian butt lifts are safely performed successfully in the United States each year with patients enjoying significant results. Never underestimate the value of a consultation with a Brazilian butt lift surgeon to more specifically determine what your unique cosmetic surgery experience will entail.
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  1. American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report plasticsurgery.org; 2019-01-01
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