Are BBLs Worth The Risk? Get The Safety Facts From Dr. Alexander Earle

Dr. S. Alexander Earle launched Pure Plastic Surgery in Miami in 2018. He is an Ivy League-educated, double-board certified plastic surgeon with vast experience in both reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. No two patients are alike and Dr. S. Alexander Earle uses in-depth knowledge of the patient’s individual proportions and combine that knowledge with a thorough understanding of each patient’s desired outcome. The ultimate goal is to create a beautiful and long-lasting result that fits the individual in a naturally balanced and visually stunning way. Today, Haute Beauty expert Dr. Earle gives you the safety facts about BBLs and discusses how to perform these procedures in the best manner possible. 

Dr. Alexander EarlePhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Lately, it appears the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedures are gaining an increased amount of hype — just go on social media to see videos showing long lines of post-op BBL patients being wheeled toward their gate to fly home from Miami International Airport. Of course, as popular as BBLs have become, there has also been recent buzz reporting how dangerous it can be. Some have said you have a 50% chance of dying during this procedure. Even Dr. Terry Dubrow from E!’s “Botched” TV series did a recent video with TMZ warning that the BBL is “the most dangerous operation there is with the highest fatality rate.” Although this has caused extreme concern and discussion with the public, Dr. Alexander Earle would like to share the real numbers with you. 

In fact, all of the recent videos and stories that have spurred discussions over the safety of BBLs use data from 2017. At that time, the mortality rate was 1 in 3,000, which is way too high for an elective procedure. At the same time and before, it was encouraged for doctors to place the fat deep into the gluteal muscle. Although doctors didn’t know all about the dangers that this could inflict, they simply knew they could achieve more dramatic results that way. However, going that deep into or beneath the muscle can be extremely perilous because of the large, important arteries and veins located in that region; if one is damaged and fat gets in, you will get a fat embolus and likely die — 1 in 3,000. 

But in 2017, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) gave new recommendations to do a safe BBL procedure: 

  • Place the fat subcutaneously between the skin and muscle
  • Do not inject into the muscle 
  • Use a bigger and blunt cannula tip with a single hole to place the fat
  • Keep the cannula tip in continuous motion
  • Inject fat as you are pulling the cannula out

After the ASPS made such recommendations, plastic surgeons began applying these standards to their practice. As a result, new data from 2019 found BBLs to be much safer. The mortality rates decreased — 1 in 14,000 to 1 in 20,000 — and became in line with all cosmetic procedures. But when a board-certified plastic surgeon performs a BBL, the mortality rate is even lower! According to a landmark survey from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF), this revised mortality rate is 1 in 14,952. In fact, a BBL is now safer than the tummy tuck’s mortality rate of 1 in 13,193. 

Nevertheless, the ASPS did not mention that there’s a new method to make the BBL much safer: using ultrasound to guide the cannula for the fat transfer. Indeed, the ultrasound allows the surgeon to see and precisely locate the cannula tip to ensure they’re not injecting fat too deep or into the muscle. Especially when navigating the “danger zone” area, surgeons can use ultrasound technology to confirm that they’re injecting fat into a safe place. 

Unfortunately, very few plastic surgeons went this extra step to keep their patients as safe as possible. The World Association of Gluteal Surgeons (WAGS) preliminary data for the ultrasound-guided BBL seems to estimate that the odds of mortality are even less. BBL procedures are no longer the deadliest plastic surgery procedure if done by a board-certified surgeon. And the procedure is even safer if that plastic surgeon is using ultrasound-guided BBL.

But you can go even further by getting your BBL done by a double-board certified plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Earle. Not only does he always use ultrasound-guided BBL, but he performs 10-15 BBLs per week and has done over 2,000 BBLs throughout his practice. And not to mention, 100% of his patients have successfully recovered from their BBL procedure. Plus, Dr. Earle has even developed a new technique to complete BBLs with fewer incisions, which makes scars easier to hide. To view before and after photos of BBLs performed by Dr. Earle, click here, or visit his website for more information. 

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