BBL Recovery & Aftercare Tips

BBL Recovery & Aftercare Tips

For many patients considering  Brazilian Butt Lift(BBL) surgery, the recovery period is one of the most important elements of the surgical journey to research and prepare for.

Tagged: Body & Breast

Date: 16th January 2024

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 16th January 2024

BBL Aftercare

For many patients considering  Brazilian Butt Lift(BBL) surgery, the recovery period is one of the most important elements of the surgical journey to research and prepare for. Your surgeon and our expert nurses will ensure you understand what you need in advance and what you can expect from your BBL aftercare and recovery, but it is also important that you are confident in these steps and understand why they are required. The BBL aftercare instructions you are given are crucial for making sure your desired results are achieved and that you don’t suffer unexpected complications which may impact your health and wellbeing as well as your surgical results. 

What is the recovery time for BBL?

You can expect your full BBL recovery time to be 6-8 weeks. This is the time it takes for the injected fat to be accepted by your body, as well as your incisions to be safely healed. In all fat transfer procedures, it is normal to lose up to 50% of the grafted fat, and this process can take up to 3 months, post-surgery, however the new blood supply will have begun to be established safely within the first 8 weeks. 
 
Throughout this 6-8 week Brazilian Butt Lift recovery period, you will be able to resume certain activities at different points, with only heavy exertion and exercise to be avoided throughout, until your surgeon has said it is safe to pick this up again. Most patients find they can return to work within 2 weeks and begin light activities within 4-6 weeks. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may be given slightly different instructions, and a different BBL recovery time, and it is important you follow the personalised directions you have been given. 

How your BBL recovery will look week by week

Along with ‘How painful is BBL recovery?’, one of the most common questions our surgeons discuss in surgical consultations is ‘How long is BBL recovery’? As well as explaining how long your personal BBL recovery is likely to take. They will also talk you through the timeline and what you can expect week to week during your recovery process. For most patients, it is likely to look like this: 
 
Week 1 
In the first week following your BBL procedure, you can expect to be quite bruised and swollen. This is completely normal following any surgical procedure and the nurses will have given you instructions on how to manage this. You will have been given a surgical garment to wear, which will cover your buttocks, plus any areas that have been treated with Liposuction. This will provide compression, to help reduce swelling and fluid retention, as well as maintaining the shape of your buttocks. You will need to wear this garment throughout your recovery period. 
 
At this stage, your surgeon will also ask you to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting or lying directly on your buttocks. This is important to maintain your surgical results and prevent the injected fat from being moved or manipulated. Your surgeon will explain how to sit after BBL surgery during your consultation, so you are able to prepare. Some surgeons recommend a specific cushion to sit on, which is usually doughnut or rugby ball shaped to help to reduce pressure on the surgical area, whilst also allowing you to sit comfortably – be aware that depending on your plans, you may need to carry this cushion around with you. You will need to sleep on your front, and many patients find it helps to support their body using a few pillows. 
 
Although it is likely you may be feeling some discomfort within the first week following your BBL, you should be able to shower normally after 2 days and fairly mobile within 4-5 days. You will be asked to rest as much as possible within the first week to aid your healing and recovery. A week after your surgery, you will come into the clinic to see our dedicated cosmetic surgery nurses, will check your dressings and incisions and answer any questions you have about your recovery. 
 
Week 2 
In the second week of your recovery, you can expect to be feeling more like yourself again. Many patients find they are able to return to work (depending on what your job involves) and undertake their usual day to day activities at this stage or shortly afterwards. 
 
You will still be experiencing swelling and bruising, and this is completely normal, however you are likely to be feeling less pain. You will still need to wear your surgical garment and reduce pressure on your buttocks by using a surgical cushion and lying on your front to sleep. 
 
Week 3 
By the end of the third week following BBL surgery, you can begin to expect the swelling and bruising to be settling down, although it is unlikely to have resolved completely. You can also consider beginning driving again at this point in your recovery – although it is important to check with your insurance provider as every policy is different, and you may invalidate your insurance by driving too soon. 
 
You will still need to wear your surgical garment and limit the amount you are sitting and lying directly on your buttocks without a cushion. If you have any questions about your recovery, you will have access to our surgical nurses 24 hours a day via our dedicated telephone line. 
 
Week 4 
After 4 weeks of recovery, you can begin restricted sexual activity. It is important to listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right or comfortable to not continue. Some patients see recovery milestones as targets, but it is important to remember that every surgery is different, and your recovery may take longer than someone else’s. Your surgeon will remind you to take your recovery at your own pace and not rush into anything that doesn’t feel comfortable. 
 
Any swelling or bruising you are experiencing will be continuing to reduce and your results may be becoming more apparent. BBL results usually take 3 months to reveal themselves completely, but you can expect to see some results starting to show from this point. Remember to keep wearing your surgical garment and being cautious about applying pressure to your backside without support. 
 
Week 5 
At week 5, you are well over half-way through your BBL recovery journey. At this stage it can feel very tempting to try and get back to normal life completely. However, it is important to remember that your body is still establishing a new blood supply to the injected fat in your buttocks, and rushing your recovery (even if you feel recovered) can jeopardise this process – effecting your final surgical results. 
 
Your surgical garments and BBL cushion or support is still needed at this stage and our surgical nurses will still be on hand to help with any questions. 
 
Week 6 
Week 6 of recovery is a big milestone for a lot of patients. At this point, you will come into the clinic to meet with your surgeon and discuss your results and recovery. Once they have examined you, they will be able to advise on whether you can start activities such as exercise again or whether you need to wait another couple of weeks. 
 
At this stage you may also be able to stop wearing your surgical garment and using your BBL cushion. This will depend on the extent of your surgery and how well the blood supply to your injected fat has established. It is important to listen to your surgeon’s instructions at this stage. Although it may be frustrating to hear that you need to wear your garment or use your cushion for a little longer, this will be for your safety and to get the most from your results. 
 
Week 7 onwards 
If your surgeon has asked you to continue following certain BBL aftercare advice at your 6 week follow up appointment, they may ask for you to come in again either to meet with them or the nurses to make sure you are continuing to heal well. Otherwise, from this stage you will likely be able to return to normal day to day activities. 
 
Your surgeon will remind you that the new fat in your buttocks is still establishing, and you will need to be a little careful up to 3 months following your surgery. If you have any questions after 6 weeks, you will be able to contact our nurses directly for up to a year following your procedure. Your surgeon may also ask you to book another follow up at 6 months following your surgery, or a year so they are able to monitor your full results. 

How long can you not sit after BBL surgery?

Following your BBL procedure, your surgeon will ask you to avoid sitting or lying directly on your bottom for up to 8 weeks. The exact length of time depends on the extent of your surgery and will be directed by your surgeon. Not putting pressure on your buttocks is important to make sure the blood supply to the newly injected fat establishes fully and to prevent fat loss. A key question to ask at your initial surgical consultation is ‘When can I sit down after BBL’? 
 
To avoid pressure on your buttocks, your surgeon may recommend a BBL pillow or cushion, which is usually doughnut or rugby ball shaped to support your backside and maintain your surgical results. It is important to remember that you may need to carry this cushion around with you – for example if you have a desk job and spend much of your time sitting. Your surgeon will be able to let you know how long after your BBL you can sit without your pillow. 

Words from our clients:


Is it ok to sit on the toilet after BBL?

Of course, your surgeon will understand that there are some elements of life which are naturally unavoidable, such as needing to sit on the toilet. Although you will be asked to avoid putting pressure on your buttocks for long periods of time, they will advise that you can sit on the toilet, but it is best to avoid sitting for longer than 10 minutes. 
 
BBL recovery is often presented as very prescriptive and many patients believe they won’t be able to sit at all throughout their recovery, however this isn’t the case and your surgeon will give you personalised guidance on the best recovery for you. 

How can I maximise my results while recovering?

The best way to maximise and protect your BBL results while recovering is to make sure you follow all of your surgeon’s aftercare advice and instructions. They will explain to you why each point is important and the complications that may arise if you’re not careful to follow the aftercare advice. 
 
Looking after your general health and wellbeing during recovery is very important, and your body uses a lot of energy to heal and recover. Although you won’t be able to exercise, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet with a wide range of nutrients is crucial to allow your body to heal fully. Especially after any procedure that involves Liposuction, your body will retain and then lose a lot of fluid. Therefore, it is very important to stay hydrated and to drink plenty of water to replace this. 
 
You will be asked to wear a compression garment for up to 8 weeks following your surgery. It is vital to wear this as instructed to ensure you achieve the best results and to allow it to aid your recovery. Although this garment is providing compression, avoid wearing any other tight or constrictive clothing such as skinny jeans or leggings. If you are wondering ‘Why can’t I wear leggings after BBL surgery?’ it is because they will compress the wrong areas or cause unwanted friction around your surgical areas. How long you cannot wear jeans or leggings for will depend on the extent of your surgery and the speed of your healing. Your surgeon will advise on when you can start wearing jeans again. 

Lymphatic drainage massages after BBL surgery

Some surgeons recommend lymphatic drainage massage to help remove fluid build-up during the recovery process. In some cases, light lymphatic drainage massage can start within a few days of the surgery, but can also be beneficial at any time, within the first 6 weeks of recovery. 
 
Depending on your exact procedure, and the length of time following your surgery, you can have lymphatic drainage massage every 5-10 days for 4-6 weeks after a BBL procedure. Your surgeon and masseuse will explain how many massages after BBL surgery you will need. 
 
Lymphatic drainage massage helps your body to accelerate the process of removing excess fluid from the body. If is normal for this fluid to build up as part of the healing process and some patients find they are more comfortable if it is encouraged to drain. Some surgeons don’t recommend lymphatic drainage, as your garments will be helping to prevent this build up anyway, and also in some instances, lymph plays an important part of the healing process and removing it from the body too quickly may actually slow healing down. For this reason, some surgeons suggest starting massage later in the healing, from around 4 weeks. 
 
Your surgeon will let you know whether they recommend lymphatic drainage massage following BBL surgery during your consultation. 

What NOT to do after BBL

Your surgeon will cover with you very clearly what you absolutely must avoid (and for how long) after your BBL surgery. These aftercare instructions are vital to ensuring you have a smooth recovery and get the best results possible. 
 
It is integral to your final surgical result, that you do not sleep on your back for up to 8 weeks following your procedure. Excess pressure on your backside may impact your body’s ability to form a new blood supply to the newly injected fat in your buttocks. This may cause fat necrosis, causing the fat to not be grafted successfully, leaving you with less volume than desired, or an uneven shape and size. 
 
Your surgeon will ask you to stop smoking for at least 6 weeks before your procedure, but they will also ask you to maintain this following your surgery as well. Smoking stops oxygen from flowing freely to the tissues in your body. Oxygen plays a key part in your body’s ability to heal properly, so lack of oxygen may cause serious complications during the healing process, including necrosis. 
 
Taking on heavy exertion or exercise too quickly following your surgery can also have a serious impact on your healing. High levels of physical pressure increase your risk of hematoma (a build up of blood under the skin) and seroma (a chronic build up of fluid under the skin – this is different to the normal fluid collection we discussed earlier) which both require surgical intervention to rectify. 
 
It is important to follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions fully to ensure you get the best surgical results, but also to prevent complications which may have a wider impact on your general health. 

 

Returning to work after a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)

Depending on the type of work you do, most patients are able to return to work within 2 weeks of their surgery. If your job involves heavy lifting or physical work, you may need to wait longer, up to 6 weeks, to be able to return to work fully. 
 
If you have a desk job, which involves being sat down for much of the day, it is important to remember you may need to take your BBL cushion with you to be able to sit comfortably and maintain your BBL results. Some patients opt to purchase two BBL cushions so they can leave one in their office, preventing the risk of forgetting to bring it with them, or the inconvenience of carrying it around with them. 
 
Your employer may ask for a medical letter to authorise an extended absence following your surgery. Cadogan Clinic are able to provide this for you, please contact your surgical advisor to request this. 

Our top BBL recovery tips

The best steps you can follow to ensure you have a smooth and successful recovery following your BBL procedure are: 
 
Wear your surgical garment and use your BBL pillow as instructed. 
Although the compression may feel uncomfortable initially, it is important to wear your surgical garment as instructed throughout your recovery period to aid your healing and maintain your surgical results. You may need to wear this day and night for up to 8 weeks following your procedure so you may wish to organise buying a second garment to allow for laundering. 
 
Your BBL pillow will be an important tool in your recovery and your surgeon will explain how long to use it for. This will prevent pressure on your buttocks to make sure you heal fully an have the best surgical result at the end. 
 
Wear comfortable clothes, avoiding any friction. 
Up to 4 weeks following your procedure, it is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing that doesn’t chafe or constrict. This includes wearing an underwired bra which may rub areas which have been treated with Liposuction. It may be tempting to want to flaunt your results in tight clothing, but this may impact your recovery. 
 
Avoid exercising for 4-6 weeks. 
Exercise and exertion may cause unwanted pressure on the newly injected fat which can prevent your body from establishing a healthy blood supply. During your recovery period, rest and not rushing back into activities is key. 
 
Sleep on your front 
Sleeping on your front is also important to stop pressure on your buttocks. Depending on where fat has been injected, your surgeon may say you can sleep on your side or your front and will provide advice on how to support your body with pillows to be comfortable. 

You’re in safe hands with our BBL surgeons

Our specialist consultant surgeons have played a key role in developing BBL surgery to ensure it is safe and high results are achieved. Dr Dan Del Vecchio and Mr Omar Tillo are both leading experts in fat transfer surgeries having performed thousands of procedures. They are also both dedicated to teaching and research, contributing to research papers and assisting in surgeons learning key skills and techniques to continue providing the best BBL surgeries possible. 
 
If you are interested in BBL surgery, contact our dedicated patient advisors who will be able to answer your questions and organise a one to one consultation at our Chelsea based hospital. 


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