Plastic surgery and stem cells technology are two medical fields that are progressively becoming intertwined. Over the past several years, there have been exciting developments that could help improve the lives of people with cosmetic deformities and terminal and congenital diseases.
However, plastic surgery and stem cells technology is still in the infancy stage and up to this point experts are still deciding how and when to apply this method in clinical practice.
Photo Credit: Advanced Cell Technology via AP
Stem cells, as suggested by leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley, are noted for their capability to turn into another type of cell, thus their application in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery is almost infinite once their “core nature” and “power” have been harnessed and deeply understood.
In Dr. Smiley’s recent Snapchat video post, he has explained the impact of stem cells on the results of Brazilian butt lift, which in essence is buttock augmentation via fat transfer. In this procedure, excess fats are collected from two or more donor sites through liposuction, which are later purified and re-injected into the patient’s backside.
Because the procedure does not entail the use of artificial prosthesis, such as the case of butt implant surgery, it is perceived to be safer and more natural looking.
After collecting the fats from the donor sites, Dr. Smiley said it is of critical importance to purify them, i.e., remove the blood and other unnecessary materials. The goal, he further explained, is to get the healthiest fats that can survive long term once transferred to the buttocks.
Purified fats are loaded with stem cells, which he said “can promote high survival rate.” Nonetheless, he slightly “over-corrects” the re-injection process because some of the transferred fats will not survive despite best efforts.
“My goal is to achieve a survival rate of at least 70 percent. For this reason, during the initial weeks or months the patients may notice that their backside is swollen or slightly bigger for their liking. However, the long-term results are almost always satisfying,” Dr. Smiley said.
“The 70 percent that survives in the first 3-6 months will persist long term,” he added.
Can Sculptra buttock augmentation provide the same results as the Brazilian butt lift? This is arguably the most common question of patients who want to reshape their backside but have very low body fat percentage to make butt augmentation via fat transfer a viable option.
While Sculptra and other lab-made fillers can add volume to almost any part of the body, leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says that Brazilian butt lift remains the gold standard because it gives the surgeon more control over the projection, shape, and size of the buttocks.
In essence, Brazilian butt lift is a buttock augmentation via fat grafting in which excess fats are removed from various donor sites (usually the lower back, hip-flank region, back rolls, and frontal abdomen) and later re-injected into the patient’s backside.
The celebrity plastic surgeon regularly posts Snapchat videos showing how the Brazilian butt lift is accomplished and thus may help viewers (or would-be patients) form “reasonable” expectations and goals.
The problem with Sculptra, he says, is one will need multiple procedures performed several weeks apart just to achieve a “conservative” amount of augmentation; hence, patients seeking for more drastic results will have to adjust their expectations. Furthermore, it may cost as high as $30,000 on top of the fact that the results can only last an average of five years, says Dr. Smiley.
The average cost of Brazilian butt lift, meanwhile, is between $5,000 and $9,000; its highly variable pricing is due to factors such as liposuction or donor sites, clinic location, doctor’s fee, and operating room fee.
With blood supply ingrowth within and around the fat grafts, the results of Brazilian butt lift are near permanent, Dr. Smiley further explains.
Sculptra and other traditional fillers are best reserved for treating small areas such as the laugh lines, deep tear trough, flat or gaunt cheeks, and thinning lips, says Dr. Smiley.
Should the patient elect to have Sculptra buttock augmentation, Dr. Smiley says that while the filler is FDA-approved for facial volume loss, injecting it into the backside is an off-label procedure.
The qualification of buttock augmentation surgeons is the most critical factor affecting patient satisfaction rate, according to California Surgical Institute website.
As of this writing, there are two reasonably safe and effective methods used by buttock augmentation surgeons:
- Brazilian butt lift. In essence, this is buttock augmentation via fat transfer in which the patient’s own fat harvested through liposuction surgery is used to reshape her backside.
- Buttock implants. Solid silicone implants, which do not pose risk of leakage, are positioned above the patient’s sitting area, ideally beneath the muscle for additional soft tissue coverage.
While most patients feel that the technique is the most important factor, the truth is the surgeon’s skill set is the one that largely determines the success rate. Nonetheless, some doctors have their own personal preference based on their experience and “educated” judgment.
For instance, leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley prefers Brazilian butt lift to buttock implants since the former provides additional contouring thanks to the simultaneous liposuction; it also eliminates implant-related risks such as inadvertent shifting and palpability.
Dr. Tarick Smiley explains the qualifications you should look for in buttock augmentation surgeons:
The proliferation of professional-sounding boards might leave you confuse. Nevertheless, the general rule of thumb is to select a plastic surgeon who has passed the rigorous oral and written exams of the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Take note that ABPS members must adhere to the strictest standards: they are required to take the board exam every 10 years and continue their education; and they should only operate in an accredited surgical facility.
Plastic surgery is a very broad practice; some surgeons focus only on facial surgeries, others dedicate most of their time perfecting rhinoplasty (nose-reshaping), while others have a preference to body contouring surgeries.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who performs buttock augmentation on a weekly basis. It is important to note that experience will help doctors make educated judgment and minimize or avoid risk of complications.
Even the surgeon with the best clinical skills may not be the right one for you if he has poor bedside manner. It is important that you choose a doctor that you trust completely.
Simply put, your surgeon must have good interpersonal skills, i.e., he must be caring and friendly.
Buttock implants or fat transfer? This is one of the most common dilemmas of patients seeking butt augmentation surgery.
Dr. Tarick Smiley, a leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who devotes much of his time to body contouring surgery, says he prefers fat transfer to buttock implants provided that the patient has adequate donor fats, which are collected through liposuction surgery.
Buttock augmentation via fat transfer, or more commonly referred to as Brazilian butt lift, uses the patients’ own [excess] fat to reshape and add volume to their backside. Using one’s own tissue, as opposed to synthetic implants, it provides a wide range of benefits such as more natural results and feel.
In addition, Brazilian butt lift eliminates most implant-related complications such as adverse reaction, protrusion, and visibility, says Dr. Smiley.
The celebrity plastic surgeon, who regularly posts Snapchat videos as part of his educational and awareness campaign, says the Brazilian butt lift gives him more “freedom” when it comes to the final shape not just of the buttocks but the rest of the torso or waistline as well.
Buttock implants, because they are positioned above the patient’s sitting area, can only reshape and augment the upper mid and uppermost aspect of the buttocks. Meanwhile, the hips and lower buttocks will remain the same after surgery, explains Dr. Smiley.
On the other hand, Brazilian butt lift in which fat grafts are injected can “widen” the hips and reshape all the aspects of the buttocks, says Dr. Smiley. For this reason, the surgeon has more control over the final contour of the backside; this is particularly important in patients with a specific “shape goal” in mind—e.g., heart-shaped derriere, “bubble” butt look, large “C,” etc.—he adds.
Under most circumstances, Brazilian butt lift is superior to buttock implants; hence, Dr. Smiley says he sometimes requires “thin” patients to gain a bit of weight to make fat transfer a viable option.
However, the results and the overall viability of Brazilian butt lift are highly dependent on the patient’s donor fats. This might be an issue for some men (naturally, they have a lower body fat percentage than women) and patients who want large augmentations but have limited fats.
To determine whether buttock implants or fat transfer technique is a more viable approach, Dr. Smiley says the patient’s underlying anatomies and cosmetic goals are always taken into account.
A good number of secondary liposuction aims to eliminate the indentations caused by the initial surgery. While this goal is often achievable, leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says the patient must have good skin elasticity or shrinkage to achieve good results.
Dr. Smiley has recently posted a Snapchat video involving a patient who had a poorly done abdominal liposuction, i.e., her tummy had visible indentations.
Aside from a secondary liposuction, the patient also requested for Brazilian butt lift or BBL in which the backside is augmented and reshaped using one’s own [unwanted] fat. Fortunately, she was a good candidate for both procedures, says Dr. Smiley.
Dr. Smiley started off the surgery by treating the abdomen. He corrected the indentations by removing the residual fats that contributed to the skin irregularities with the use of a liposuction microcannula (flexible hollowed tube).
Microcannula delivers smooth results because it removes tiny bits of fat, as opposed to large chunks of fatty tissue when large cannulas are used.
Aside from the abdomen, Dr. Smiley also performed liposuction of the flanks, lower back, and bra roll. The goal was to collect more donor fats, which were later used to reshape the patient’s backside.
Despite the proliferation of different liposuction techniques, Dr. Smiley prefers the tumescent approach because it minimizes bleeding. This requires the injection of fluids containing saline, lidocaine (local anesthesia), and epinephrine (blood vessel-constricting drug) into the fatty area.
After liposuction, he was able to collect about 5 liters of fat, which was purified prior to re-injection to achieve a high survival rate and ultimately near permanent results.
To create smooth and symmetric results from liposuction, Dr. Smiley says that the surgeon’s experience plays a critical role since he must know these guidelines:
- There should be enough fat layer beneath the skin to prevent indentations and other surface irregularities.
- There should be symmetry between the left and right side of the body.
- The natural curves and contours of the body must be preserved.
At the end of liposuction, Dr. Smiley says he always pinch and “feel” the skin to make sure that both sides are symmetric. If one of the sides has a “thicker feel,” he would remove additional fat in the area to achieve a more balanced result.
Aside from removing just the right amount of fat, Dr. Smiley also ensures that he creates an “S” profile, which is the epitome of a beautiful feminine physique; hence, he always removes all the unwanted fat in the lower back (or outer-upper buttocks) and flanks.