The Epidemic Of The Brazilian Butt Lift

Is the infamous BBL deadly? Let’s talk.


Stella’s body isn’t all-natural. She recently got a Brazilian butt lift (BBL).

Getting a BBL was a last resort for YouTuber Stella Rae, who always prioritized healthy eating and regular exercise for achieving a healthy, fit body. After grappling with the decision of whether or not to surgically enhance her curves for years, Stella finally caved in. Understanding that her body wouldn’t get where she wanted it to without the surgery was ultimately what guided her decision.

“I wish people would stop shaming women for, you know, getting things done,” said Stella. She has always believed that people should be free to make whatever decisions will lead to being more comfortable in one’s body, and that includes cosmetic changes. 

Stella has always been thin. She grew up tall and lanky and naturally skinny, and she attributes her inability to put on weight (easily) to genetics. Though she always sought to gain weight and build muscle — having a consistent workout routine for years got her a long way — she never could achieve the body she desired. She never could gain weight in the right places. She wanted a bigger butt and extra curves because she wanted to feel more “feminine,” and that’s where the idea of a BBL came in.

She researched endlessly and, aware of the risks and implications, she arrived at the conclusion that a BBL was worth it. Ultimately, she felt good in her decision, secure in the surgeon she picked out, and excited with the prospect of a new body. 

All this considered, Stella did feel a responsibility to be honest with her following. “I don’t want to fucking pop up on Instagram with a new body and tell people, ‘oh, yeah, my at-home quarantine workouts have really been paying off,’” said Stella, acknowledging the reality of the not-always-transparent world of influencers. 

“I hate when people get something done and claim that it’s all-natural and claim that they got hips built in the gym,” said Stella. “That’s not how it works.”

Stella is one of roughly 24,000 women getting Brazilian butt lifts a year in the US alone. 

And what is a BBL, exactly? According to Healthline, the Brazilian butt lift is a surgical procedure wherein fat is transferred from one or more areas in a person’s body to the hips and buttocks. Being the more natural-looking alternative to butt implants, the procedure is highly coveted by people looking to achieve a more sinuous body shape — by people looking to have the trendies body shape today.

The BBL’s more recent surge in popularity is attributed to Kim Kardashian, who many speculate has gotten this same procedure done. Kardashian is adamant she has not had any cosmetic surgeries done on her body.

And what is all this talk about the infamous BBL being a deadly epidemic? While hyperbolic, this phrase isn’t too far from the truth.

Currently, statistics show that one in 3,000 BBL surgeries result in death, usually from malpractice. The surgery is a risky one, yet its popularity keeps rising (statistics show around 20% increase in surgeries performed per year). 

The reality is that not everyone takes the time to do the research (as Stella did) before undergoing potentially life-threatening procedures. Not everyone has the money for a good, reputable surgeon, and people sometimes rely on cheap, inexperienced, and dangerous practitioners. Not everyone is willing to accept their natural bodies, and instead choose to undergo procedure after procedure, risking their lives each time.

Commentary Youtubers ItzKeisha and Madisyn Brown had something to say about this.

“Cancel that BBL appointment, please,” said Keisha, explaining that she’s saying to her viewers what she would say to a friend. The number of people getting BBLs and sharing their experiences online caught her attention, and she felt the need to make a video raising awareness of the dangers involved. “It’s very rare that you hear somebody actually enjoy their BBL experience. You’ve got a lot of people on the internet who are saying they regret it, they wish that they did more research,” she said.

Madisyn Brown shares similar views on the matter. One of her concerns is that women are getting surgeries out of a desire to fit the current beauty standard, and that this centers on the male gaze. Brown doesn’t believe that drastic cosmetic surgeries, like the BBL, will help anyone in their journey to self-acceptance. “The fact that women are out here getting surgeries that are likely to kill them sounds like the patriarchy at work,” said Brown.

Cosmetic surgery might make people feel better about themselves, but there are always risks involved. Fizzy readers, do your research, know what you’re getting into, and go to a Board Certified plastic surgeon if surgery is really (truly, honestly, deeply) what you want.

Watch the videos mentioned below.