Background: Gluteal fat augmentation has increased worldwide, and so have major complications. Brazilian plastic surgeons have been performing this procedure for more than 30 years, and more often every year. Therefore, the authors performed a study among board-certified plastic surgeons, members of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery, to evaluate their techniques; identify their preferences, complications, and outcomes with this procedure; and make some recommendations.
Methods: An anonymous Web-based survey consisting of 16 questions was sent to 5655 members in July of 2017. A supplementary survey was subsequently sent to obtain more information about major complications.
Results: A total of 853 responses were analyzed. The highest percentage of responses in the different categories were as follows: fat decantation for processing, injection with a 3-mm-diameter cannula, use of superior incisions, subcutaneous fat grafting only, and with a volume of 200 to 399 ml of fat per buttock. The majority of surgeons received training in this procedure during residency. The most common complications were contour irregularities. The estimated mortality rate was one in 20,117 cases, and the rate of nonfatal fat embolism was one in 9530. The risk of death was 16 times greater when fat was injected intramuscularly.
Conclusions: Based on this survey, the authors recommend injecting fat only subcutaneously, by means of superior incisions, using cannulas 3 mm in diameter or more. They find that by following these recommendations, this procedure can be as safe as any other. More research to establish guidelines and increase its safety is necessary.