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Movement and Exercise after Fat Transfer Butt Injections

Posted in Recovery

woman exercising

Those of us considering buttock augmentation surgery (aka Brazilian Butt Lift, or BBL for short) may hear a lot of confusing advice as to what happens after this plastic surgery. When can you sit? How do you sleep? What about going back to work? First of all, relax – all of these concerns are normal. Believe it or not, recovery from BBL is not as complicated as you might think. And if you’re willing to follow a few rules, you’ll get the biggest and most beautiful results possible. 

To make it simple, think of your recovery from butt augmentation as occurring in two stages: healing and maintenance. Knowing what stage you’re in will make choosing the right movements and exercises much easier.

No need to worry, as we’ll discuss both stages in detail in this post. First, you need to realize that the most critical thing you can do throughout your entire healing process is to be patient. Recovery is a gradual process, and you won’t be going from lying in bed to running laps at the track right away. Things will happen slowly and for a reason – to give you a stunning rear end.

Your best possible BBL outcome starts with your choice of physician. An experienced, licensed plastic surgeon is the first place to start. Media accounts often highlight horror stories of patients-turned-victims of botched procedures performed in hotel rooms and even clinics around the world. Don’t be fooled by low prices – it’s not worth the risk to choose a less qualified surgeon.

It’s from these horror stories that we can sometimes get the impression that recovery from BBL is next to impossible. Don’t be discouraged. With the right physician and the right plan, you will recover steadily and healthily, and you may experience better results than you expected.

First, we’ll talk about fat and why it should become your friend. Then we’ll discuss the right movements and exercises to aid as you heal from surgery.

It’s Starts With Understanding Fat

When it comes to fat, many of us have a few beliefs that aren’t true. The first has to do with burning fat cells. Our bodies don’t do that. Instead, it consumes the fat stored within the cells, causing them to shrink when we lose weight. You may be surprised to discover that the number of fat cells in your body stays relatively consistent, whether you lose five, ten, or twenty pounds, but the sizes of your fat cells fluctuate. If you lose weight, your fat cells get smaller. Gain weight, and they grow bigger.  

Think of all the fat cells in your body like a bouquet of party balloons. A BBL simply moves some of your balloons from one spot to another. Gaining and losing weight is like controlling the amount of air in them. Secondly, many people think of fat as just extra stuffing in our body like cotton in a pillow. In reality, fat cells are living parts of our bodies. Moving them from one location to another can be a bit complicated, as the cells must survive the transfer and establish themselves in their new spot.

It’s All about Fat Cell Survival

Before surgery, your doctor will find the right places on your body from which to harvest your fat. The fat that is removed is then placed into a specialized machine to remove any impurities and make the cells ready to be put back into your body. This is a delicate process that ensures only the healthy cells are injected during the transfer.

Once they’re injected back into your body, the survival of these cells is mostly up to you. Sadly, not all of them will survive, but your decision-making while you heal will make a difference as to how many are able to establish themselves.  And, of course, the more fat cells that survive, the more noticeable the change in your buttocks. 

That’s where movement comes in. How you move during each stage of your recovery will make the difference. During the healing stage of your recovery, you’ll work on limiting movement and protecting the cells. You’ll need to treat your transplanted fat cells like newly-planted seeds, delicately, and with care.

Weeks One to Three: Less Movement Means More Healing

During the first week of your BBL recovery, your goal is to avoid moving or putting pressure on your buttocks. You’ll need to avoid sitting or lying on your back. You’ll take precautions even when using the restroom, sitting on a specially-designed pillow.

Inside your body, the newly transplanted fat cells are trying to establish their blood flow. Just like seedlings, these delicate fat cells need a stable environment in which to grow. To aid in the process, you will wear a special undergarment to support the tissue as you heal. Its purpose is to promote healing by restricting movement. Even though you may or may not like how it looks, don’t forget that it’s temporary and will help you to get fantastic results from your procedure.

Following surgery, all patients have some degree of swelling in their bottom. Over the first week or so, as this swelling subsides, you might notice a decrease in size. This is completely normal, so prepare yourself for changes that occur during this initial healing phase.

Another typical, but challenging, aspect of BBL recovery is that thirty to forty percent of transplanted cells will not survive, even if you do everything exactly as your doctor recommends. Don’t worry – your surgeon will have accounted for this when deciding how much fat to inject. And, you can opt to have more cells transferred in the future. You can also do specific exercises later in your healing to enhance your results.

You should begin doing some light walking after BBL, which will stimulate your body to send additional blood to the healing area. Doing this provides the new cells with more nutrients to aid in their survival.  Start slowly with walks around the house, and gradually progress to down the street and back. It is important, though, that you don’t overdo it and undermine your results. Your surgeon will help you to understand this precise balance of how much to move around throughout your recovery.

Week Four and Beyond: Getting Back to Work, Exercise, and Maintaining Your Look

Somewhere between weeks three and four, you’ll be able to go back to work. You and your doctor will determine the exact day, and this decision is based on the progress of your healing and the requirements of your job. For instance, if you stand at a retail job, you may go back sooner than if you sit at a desk for most of the day. 

If you work in a job that requires sitting, you’ll need to use a unique pillow on your chair. It’s a wedge-shaped cushion that rests under your thighs and is designed, like the compression garment, to minimize the pressure that is placed on your butt. 

Also, around the fourth week and beyond, your exercise can intensify. Start first with weight training that you can do while standing that targets areas other than the buttocks. Take it slow, and follow your doctor’s instructions for working out after BBL.

Over time, cardio can be blended in, but you’ll still be striving to minimize movement in your backside. And, you won’t want to do anything to shrink the size of your fat cells. So, no long runs or strict diets yet, please.

In week six and beyond, you can progress to doing squats, lunges, and other movements that target the butt.  People are sometimes surprised to find out these exercises don’t decrease the size of the buttocks; instead, they add muscle and tone. 

Why is that important? Body fat molds around the muscle tissue it covers. Therefore, an increase in muscle causes an increase in the overall size of the body part. As a result, you can use gluteal exercises to enhance your results and maybe gain back some of the volume lost in fat cells that didn’t survive. 

What’s more, this enhancement causes not only a modest increase in overall size but improves the shape, too. 

Don’t Forget about Liposuction

Up to now, we’ve only focused on the recovery of your butt. We mustn’t forget, however, the area from which we take the fat. For BBL, most patients use fat harvested from either their midsection, back, or thighs.  

Regardless of the area chosen, liposuction usually causes some initial swelling and soreness. Often it subsides within the first week or so, but sometimes it can linger a bit longer. Your doctor can help you manage any discomfort with pain medication.  

It’s important during recovery, however, to not let discomfort from the site of liposuction interfere with your recovering buttocks. In other words, don’t let soreness in your belly or sides convince you that you must lay on your back.  

Lymphatic massage is one way you can alleviate swelling and discomfort from liposuction. As part of the liposuction procedure, your doctor injects fluid into the fat donor site. Sometimes, this fluid stays in the liposuctioned area well after the procedure. During the lymphatic massage, a trained therapist massages this fluid into your lymph nodes, where your body can process it for excretion. 

Preserving Your Investment

You may be wondering, “will I lose my BBL if I workout?” You’re not alone. Patients often wonder how they can continue to enjoy the enhancement that BBL brings for years to come. It comes down to diet and exercise.

Given all of our talk about preserving fat cells, you might think eating a high-fat diet going forward is a good idea.  Most doctors think otherwise. Ideally, before you commit to BBL surgery, you’ve already achieved a reasonable and maintainable weight.

There’s an essential reason for this. If too much fat is harvested, the skin in the liposuctioned area can sag. Patients receiving liposuction should also refrain from smoking, as nicotine restricts blood flow to the skin, making it less able to contract in response to surgery.   

If you’re already reasonably healthy, your BBL will give you the new curvier figure you were seeking. Eating fatty foods will add tissue to your whole body, not just your bottom, and this means you can become unhealthy in other ways.

Conversely, if you embark on a serious weight loss program involving diet, exercise, or both, you will lose size in your butt. Yes, the rest of you shrinks, but so will your bottom. Most patients who maintain a relatively stable weight after BBL are happy with their results for many years to come.

Time to Look at the Big Picture

If all of this seems like a lot to think about, rest assured that you have your doctor to help sort it out. BBL recovery process does take several weeks and is not to be taken lightly, but our patients say that the results are well worth the recovery.  

Most of the negative stories in the media come from patients getting bargain procedures from surgeons who are not properly trained to complete this type of surgery. Luckily that’s not you. You now know to start with an experienced, board-certified surgeon, follow all of your instructions, and keep your expectations realistic.

As one of Houston’s leading plastic surgeons, Dr. Chris Livingston specializes in many plastic surgery procedures of the body, breasts, and face. Start your journey towards the butt of your dreams by contacting Livingston Plastic Surgery‘s office in Houston, TX, at (281)-501-1812 to schedule your consultation today!