Questions to ask about before and after Brazilian butt lift photos

There is an old saying in photography: “A photographer is known for what he shows, not for what he shoots.” In other words, a photographer only shows his best work and there may be a lot of lousy pictures… he is just not showing those.

A photographer is known for what he shows, not for what he shoots.

Think of post-operative pictures of Brazilian butt lifts the same way. You may be seeing the surgeon’s best work because that is what he is showing! So the question is, “how do you find out about what the surgeon is NOT showing?”

Here are few hints for gathering information about a plastic surgeon’s Brazilian butt lift results by seeing what he’s really showing you in his patient photo gallery:

How many patients?

One of the first things to take notice of is the size of the gallery. Are there a lot of pictures from the surgeon, or just a few? A few great pictures may mean that he only has a couple of good results or that he has only done a few cases. In today’s competitive market, even a surgeon like me who has performed hundreds of Brazilian butt lifts still needs to post a lot of pictures and show even more photos during a consultation appointment.

Do photos show different body types?

Does the surgeon’s photo gallery seem to feature patients with similar body types or does the gallery show that he can operate on different body types? When you look at before and after photos, the temptation is to look at the picture of a final result that you like, regardless of your specific body type or the body type of the patient whose results you’re viewing.

Fight the urge to latch on to a result you like without first looking at the ‘before’ surgery pictures to find a patient with a body type like yours. Finding the ‘before’ photo that looks most like your own body will give you the ‘after’ photo that is more like what you will actually get as a result of your Brazilian butt lift.

What other information accompanies the photo?

When you’re looking at before and after galleries online you’re sometimes offered photos with very little additional information. Beyond body types, it helps you to know case particulars such as height, weight, and age so that you can find ‘before’ photos of patients who are most like you. When reviewing photos with a plastic surgeon during consult, he should be choosing photos he feels are close matches to your body type and situation. If he doesn’t offer additional information, be sure to ask about which areas of the body were liposuctioned, how much was liposuctioned, and how much fat was reinjected.

What is the surgical techniques used?

If you find the perfect before and after photo online, be sure to visit the surgeon’s website to continue to explore the rest of his gallery along with information about surgical technique. You should be able to get a clear explanation of how the surgeon performs lipo, how he processes the fat, what his operative technique is, and what his surgical goals are. Does he liposuction two or three areas? What amounts of fat does he inject on average? Does he know?

While viewing photos during a consult, if the surgeon can provide a lot of details about a technique, it is a good sign that he spends a lot of time thinking about the Brazilian butt lift procedure and has very rigorous operative routines.

When exactly was the photo taken?

Fat grafts are permanent when done well, but you don’t really know how well your grafts survived until at least a few months after surgery. So when looking at ‘after’ pictures you need to know exactly how long after surgery the photos were taken.

Why? Because some surgeons tend to take ‘after’ pictures a month or two following a Brazilian butt lift when there is often still a lot of swelling and things have not “settled in.” Sure, they may look like spectacular results, but it’s important to understand that Brazilian butt lift photos taken too early, while the patient is still having swelling, can exaggerate the results.

The best time frame to see post-op photos for the Brazilian butt lift is at the 4 month mark or later. At four months, THIS is your permanent result. So when you see a fabulous post-op result, be sure to know when those photos were taken. We take ALL our ‘after’ pictures 4 months after surgery to give the most realistic look at the permanent result. If a surgeon is squeamish about giving dates, it’s likely he didn’t wait long enough to take realistic ‘after’ photos.

The Internet is a wonderful tool for researching plastic surgery procedures like the Brazilian butt lift and there are a LOT of before and after photo galleries. Patient galleries are great for illustrating actual results that can be achieved, but please be sure you know exactly what you’re seeing and realize there may be quite a bit the surgeon is not showing (or telling) you.

Wondering if a Brazilian butt lift is right for you?

I am a board certified plastic surgeon, boarded by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and I have been in practice for more than 25 years. I am also a member of the Gluteal Safety Task force, which issues recommendations for safe Brazilian butt lift procedures. Contact Us to schedule your in-office or virtual consultation for just $30 (which gets applied to your surgery when you book). Or just give us a call at 410-494-8100! Note: Virtual consults can also be used to get second opinions.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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4 thoughts on “Questions to ask about before and after Brazilian butt lift photos”

  • Carmen L Melendez-Rickenbacker says:

    Hello, I am a fit female and was interested in a Brazilian lift. My concern is where you would take the fat from because I don't have much to spare. I guess I'm not sure how much fat exactly would be enough for the procedure? I live in Ohio and it is very hard to take time off to make multiple trips. What do you recommend, or how do you deal with someone that may not have enough body fat?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Carmen: I have done fat grafts in girls as light as 95 pounds. The main thing is that it is a game of proportions. The waist to hip ratio should be .7, that is if the waist is 70mm (28 inches) in circumference, the waist should be 100 centimeters (40 inches). In your particular case I would need more info. Contavct Kelly at if you want more info or set a virtual consult Hope this helps!
  • The Deuce says:

    Hi, Dr. Rodriguez, I took a look at the program book for the 2013 IFATS meeting. First of all, congrats on your own presentation there! One of the more interesting-sounding presentations listed there is #64, "PREDICTABLE & DURABLE FAT GRAFTING BY TARGETED PROTECTION OF THE DONOR MICROVASCULATURE USING PHOSPHODIESTERASE 5 INHIBITORS Apparently injecting sildenafil into fat rather than just saline before harvesting it (presumably it would be part of the tumescent fluid?) prevents the fat's vasculature from being damaged as much when it's suctioned, making it easier to reestablish its blood supply in the new location, which resulted in the amount of fat that survived being doubled in their experiments. According to the presentation notes, sildenafil is already FDA approved. The conclusion says, "These data demonstrate a rapidly- translatable, FDA-approved method to increase predictability and durability of autologous fat grafting in clinical practice." So does that mean that this is something surgeons could start doing already? Do you expect it to start being used in the field in the near future? How much would the sildenafil add to a typical procedure's cost? Thanks for your time!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Deuce: Thank you for your interesting post, which made me hit the books. Sildenafil, aka Viagra, relaxes the smooth muscle of vessel walls causing the blood vessels to relax and enlarge. This would be highly COUNTER productive in the harvest phase, which would be inflammatory as well as leading to excessive blood loss. The theoretical advantage in the injection phase would be to relax the blood vessels in the buttock and increase blood flow. In truth, there are many factors contributing to the success or failure of a fat graft. The most important one is how healthy the fat graft is at the time it is injected. The authors report improvement relative to THEIR method of fat grafting, but It makes me wonder how healthy their fat graft was to begin with. A healthy fat graft has stem cells in it that create its own blood supply. When there is bleeding or unhealthy fat graft inflammation is stimulated that decreases fat graft survival. Since Sildenafil is already approved there's no barrier to adoption. When things REALLY work, they get adopted like wildfire. I just have not seen any kind of buzz about this. Final comment- the ultimate success of Brazilian Butt Lift is not about how much fat you can stuff into the butt, but how good it looks permanently. As hard as the technique is, the esthetic result is even harder to get right. Contact Kelly at for more info. We'd love to hear from you as we like well informed patients.