In a standard BBL, or “Brazilian Butt Lift”, fat is harvested from one are of the body (often the abdomen, waist and / or back) and injected into the buttocks to give them a more curvy, lifted appearance. An ultrasound assisted BBL, or ultrasonic BBL, is exactly the same with one very important difference. In standard BBLs, the fat is injected blindly into the buttocks. It is impossible to know how deep the fat is going. In an ultrasound-assisted BBL, ultrasound is used to see through the skin and know the exact depth at which the fat is being placed.
Ultrasound-assisted BBL technology is a huge leap forward in the safety of the very popular BBL procedure. Standard BBLs can be dangerous as it is impossible to know exactly how deep the fat is being placed. If fat is placed too deep in the buttocks, specifically within the gluteus maximus muscle (see below), there is an increased risk that this fat can travel into the large blood vessels in the muscle. From here, the fat can travel to the heart (this is called a “fat embolism”) and potentially cause death. Instead, fat should be placed in the gluteal fat pad that is over the muscle. In ultrasound assisted BBL, we are for the first time able to see the exact depth at which we are placing our fat grafts, and ensure we are staying in a safe location outside of the muscle. Another added benefit of ultrasonic BBL is that we can make sure we are placing the fat in the correct fat compartment. Fat should be grafted into the deep fat compartment as it can flow evenly here and produce a natural, plump result. If fat is injected too close to the surface, it cannot flow evenly. This leads to a flat, unnatural appearance and unwanted changes in skin quality.
In ultrasonic BBL, a device called an ultrasound transducer (see below) is positioned over the site of fat injection. This device is both a speaker and a microphone. It uses its speaker to send out ultrasound waves (sound waves outside the range of human hearing). It then listens for those waves to come back with its microphone. Since all materials reflect sound differently, a computer can create an image of the area of interest based on how the ultrasound waves are bounced off the tissue targeted by the device. In ultrasound assisted BBL, we are therefore able to see exactly where we are placing the fat graft and ensure it is going into a safe location.
The ideal candidate for ultrasonic BBL is in good health and has a BMI close to their goal range. Individuals with less overall body fat may be good candidates for the “athletic” ultrasonic BBL, in which small amounts of fat are collected from multiple body areas and combined to produce a subtle, natural-appearing increase in buttock definition and projection.
Ultrasound assisted BBL is an advanced technique requiring a specialized skill set and specific equipment. Therefore, it is generally more expensive than a traditional BBL. It is reasonable to expect to pay $12,000 to $17,000 for an ultrasonic BBL in New York City.