No other body part has gotten the kind of attention and publicity in recent years like the buttocks have. The rise in popularity of a large, round derriere has caused the number of Brazilian Butt Lift and buttocks augmentation procedures performed to skyrocket. Now, there's a new procedure that promises to shape and lift the backside while also smoothing out the lumps and bumps caused by cellulite, and it shares its name with the world’s most popular brand of body shapers.
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This new procedure, called “Internal Spanx Surgery,” involves sewing strips of a permanent mesh material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) across the patient’s backside to lift, firm and shape their buttocks. PTFE is commonly used in other procedures (like hernia repair surgery) and is sewn into the bone in a criss-cross pattern to act as a girdle, hence the name. While this surgical mesh has been FDA-approved for use in other procedures, it has not been approved for use in this area of the body, which according to New York plastic surgeon Kenneth Francis, MD, creates an added risk. “I would imagine that in addition to the general risks attributable to any surgery that PTFE used in buttock lifting would carry the added risk of the material becoming infected or rejected by the body, either of which could require its removal.”
Although it may sound like a less-invasive way to achieve a round backside, than say a Brazilian Butt Lift—which in addition to body shaping involves liposuction and fat transfer—this new procedure is not without its limitations. “This Spanx procedure seems to provide a means to achieve a less-invasive lift with mesh. It would likely be indicated in a thin patient with some buttock drooping but no excess skin, and no desire for increased fullness,” says El Paso, TX, plastic surgeon Frank Agullo, MD. In other words, you can’t achieve the same volume and fullness that you can with other buttock enhancement procedures.
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Currently, the procedure is only available in Brazil and Portugal and costs about $6,000. Before you go throwing away your Spanx and hopping on a plane, it’s important to note that because it is a new procedure, there are no clinical studies on the safety or effectiveness of this procedure. “The use of this mesh is off-label in the United States,” explains Dr. Agullo. “Because it is a new procedure, long-term data and results are necessary to comment on the safety, but it is always fascinating to see new procedures and techniques.”
Dr. Francis adds, “I find it very interesting that the two plastic surgeon commentaries in this country that I have read have almost extolled the virtues of this, as yet, untested procedure. My recommendation to a patient considering internal Spanx surgery would be to proceed with great caution.”