The Bucks Behind Fake Butts! The Business Of Getting A Big Ol’ Booty… By the Numbers
Booty, booty, booty rockin’ everywhere! And I mean everywhere. In music videos, Black and Latino-targeted magazines, and ratchet reality TV (yeah, I’m talkin’ to you Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love & Hip Hop).
With Joseline Hernandez and Porsha Williams prancing around on our screens, LHHATL and RHOA attracts millions of viewers. VH1 and Bravo are making a coin off corpulent cabooses.
Let’s face it — big booties bring in the big bucks! Not only for coke-bottle shaped entertainers and models, but for the butt enhancement industry worldwide. From 2000 to 2012, women going under the knife for booty augmentation have increased by 176 percent! Remember Kim Kardashian’s infamous butt selfie? Yeah — that same month, butt lifts jumped by 136 percent.
Last year, surgeons around the country performed 10,000 butt augmentations — up from 8,200 in 2012, a 16 percent increase.
Oh yeah, it’s serious business. The butt enhancement market has exploded into a whopping $26 billion industry.
Ladies near and far are dying — literally — to morph their derrieres into a Kardashian-esque rump. From the back-alleys of Caracas to shady motels in Florida, bootleg butt “doctors” are injecting everything from silicone to rubber cement into customers’ butt cheeks. Often, many of ’em die from a case of “toxic tush.”
A butt lift from a certified plastic surgeon will set you back at about $10,000 – $15,000. Going to Dr. Fix-A-Culo in Venezuela, however, will only cost you about $300 — and possibly your life. According to Dr. Matthew Schulman, who spoke with Ebony last month, authentic plastic surgeons only perform fat transfers and silicon implants. Butt injections are illegal. Did you hear that? Booty shots are against the law.
“…[A]nybody who’s doing butt injections are getting it illegally in this country with a non-certified person, not even a doctor, in some hotel room near an airport. We’ve heard about those stories,” Schulman said. “These fillers, you don’t know what you’re getting. It can cause blood clots. Loss of limbs, lost of life.”
Schulman, who practices in New York City, notes that 75 percent of his butt enhancement clients are Black and Hispanic. What about the remaining 25 percent? Jewish women. Generally, Schulman’s patients are younger, ranging between 18 and 35 years old.
So now, let’s get into the four surgical options — both legal and illegal — that women may choose for their butt augmentation.
Like Schulman said, no good doctor will perform a butt injection. But a black marketeer would be delighted to pocket $2,000-$3000 from anyone daft enough to allow ’em to inject Hydrogel — a biomaterial obtained from hardware stores — into their a** cheeks. These back-door practitioners need 200 ml of Hydrogel for the procedure — and just one milliliter costs $300-$500, according to ButtInjections.org. As these injections only last 18 months, is it even worth the hassle?
Also banned by the U.S. are PMMA fillers, or polymethyl-methacrylate — a synthetic fat — if you want to get technical. A few months after injecting this bad boy (80 percent collagen gel and 20 percent PMMA), the collagen gel breaks down and impels your body to create its own collagen to fill out the empty spaces underneath the skin. And you won’t believe this — there are actually PMMA butt injection kits available for delivery. A DIY project on your own booty? Sounds safe! Depending on how much you’d like, prices range from $440-$3,200.
The Brazilian Butt Lift
It’s called a “lift,” but it’s a butt injection, too. Except this one is actually FDA-approved because you’re not injecting harmful, artificial nonsense into your system. Certified plastic surgeons basically transfer fat from other portions of their client’s body and inject them into their keisters. This prodecure typically costs $12,000-$18,000. But just ’cause it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe! Complications, though rare, include hardening of injected fat, fluid collection, and fat dissolution. Yikes!
For this procedure, clients will basically have their gluteal crease sliced open while the doctor shoves in a solid silicon rubber. Dr. Schulman, who prefers fat transfers, doesn’t recommend this butt augmentation procedure. “It can move, it can shift, it can become infected,” he said. On top of that, the complication rate is 10 to 20 percent. Also, your friends will be making the fun of the fact that you can’t sit on your sore butt for three weeks. For the swelling to dissipate, it will take six weeks. For anyone willing to go through this, they’ll have to shell out about $8,000.
I get it — some women want a lil’ somethin’ to twerk with. But what I don’t understand is the willingness to put one’s life on the line to look like Nicki Minaj or J.Lo — the OG booty. One can sculpt one’s own booty with just a few minutes on the elliptical every day — no missing limbs, no infections, no lung embolisms, no broken bank… just a gym membership, better health and a shapely butt!
But hey, America loves big butts — and the numbers don’t lie.
Want to learn more about this cosmetic procedure? Take a look at the trailer for “Bottoms Up” and tell us what you think. The film is now available for purchase on Google Play, iTunes, and VHX.