How to spot and treat a BBL infection: Everything you should know

Invasive surgeries require a cut for the procedure to happen. These cuts are called surgical incisions and they can be tiny or big depending on the type of surgery. Patients need to take care of their surgical areas properly in order to prevent post-surgical complications such as BBL infection.

This complication can be seen as a big deal but actually, it is not. Thanks to the sterile environments in hospitals and patients’ awareness of their health, almost everybody knows what should be done or avoided after surgery. But is there anything specific to do if you are experiencing infection after BBL?

If you are wondering about this question and other related ones such as how can it be prevented or treated, you are in the right place. Because here, we will explain everything you should know about BBL infection. Now, let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Infection and Brazilian Butt Lift: What to know?

Bacterial infection after BBL is quite rare. In fact, the chances of it happening is lesser than 1% (1). The risk of infection being this low is actually not surprising. Because you will be prescribed antibiotics after the surgery and you will use them for a week.

Even if you get infected, your body will declare war against the bacteria and neutralize it on its own. However, this doesn’t mean you should leave it to be. It can be annoying to have a complication that can develop further and extend your recovery period. Don’t ignore it and inform your surgeon about the situation. As long as you follow the instructions and don’t play with the contaminated area, there should be nothing to worry about.

Where do infections happen after BBL?

The first one that comes to mind is surgical incisions. However, incisions are not the only place where BBL infection may take place. During BBL, the cannula is inserted under the skin for fat transfer. If the cannula used during the surgery is not sterile enough, an infection can happen under the skin as well. For example, even though your incisions are on the side of your buttocks, you might experience an infection in the middle of your butt.

Symptoms of a BBL infection

When it comes to signs of a BBL infection, we usually divide them into two groups to understand if the infection has spread extensively or if it recently happened. Remember, depending on the situation, your symptoms can develop from mild to severe.

Here are the common signs of infection after BBL surgery:

  • Increased pain
  • Redness and warmth
  • Bad smell
  • Pus discharge

Uncommon signs:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Extreme pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

Common symptoms can be treated easily with no possible health complications. However, if you experience any of these uncommon signs, you should immediately call your doctor and get help. 

Causes of infections

We just learned the symptoms of BBL infection and it is time to learn the causes of it. First of all, infections happen when harmful bacteria enter the body and try to invade tissues. When this happens, our body sends white blood cells to fight against the invaders. Pus can be seen as the leftovers of the battle. It contains dead tissue, white blood cells, and bacteria. But how do harmful bacteria find their way into our bodies and make our immune systems alert?

Here are the answers to why infections happen after BBL procedure:

  • Unsterile instruments or environment during surgery
  • Poor post-op care after surgery

It is not a surprise that both causes are hygiene related. Every surgery requires both sterile techniques and an environment. Cannulas can be either for single use or reusable. Reusable cannulas should be cleaned properly because they might contain fat debris even after sterilization (2). There shouldn’t be a such concern if your surgeon uses a brand-new cannula for each surgery.

When it comes to your surgery wounds, soaking them in water can cause an infection. That is because bacteria multiply quicker in moist environments. Also, inappropriate cleaning after using the bathroom or not washing your hands before taking care of your incisions can cause an infection as well.

Can wound infections become dangerous?

Yes, if the infection is left untreated, it can develop further. Infections can spread easily because harmful bacteria look for tissues to invade. This way, they can spread into deeper tissues such as muscles. The next step of this spread is bacteria entering the bloodstream, which is the start of sepsis (3). However, the chances of this situation happening are extremely low. If immediate action is not taken in time, it can put your body into an emergency state and surgical action can be necessary.

How to treat a BBL infection properly?

When it comes to treating an ongoing infection, everyone knows a thing or two. Applying herbal remedies or medical creams may be effective but is it the right thing to do? Of course not.Then, how to treat a BBL infection in the right way?

Inform your doctor about the situation and ask what can be done beforehand. When you get to the hospital, your infected areas will be examined and some lab tests may be required to see its extent. You will be prescribed antibiotics to use for a week. If it turns out that your infection is resistant to antibiotics, your surgeon may prescribe different meds or make a combo of drugs.

Besides, your body will leave pus in the affected area which can form a painful and hard-to-touch abscess. Your surgeon may suggest drainage if it has developed or spread extensively. Abscess drainage is a small operation performed under local anesthesia. Drainage of the pus will not only relieve the pain and pressure you are experiencing but also promote healing by removing debris.  

Signs of a worsening infection

Let’s say that you have decided not to visit your doctor for the infection and applied creams or took antibiotics on your own. There are two possible results of this thoughtless action: Your infection will be gone or worsened. The second situation is most likely to happen. Without proper guidance, you can take the wrong antibiotics or overuse them, making your body’s work more challenging in fighting. So, let’s see what are the signs that your system is having a hard time preventing the infection from developing:

  • Pain is increased from mild to moderate or severe
  • Increased inflammation may feel warmer
  • Increase in pus discharge
  • Experiencing new uncommon symptoms

All of these signs are basically your body calling for assistance. Whether you took any medication on your own or not, you should go to the nearest hospital as soon as any of these signs occur.

How to prevent post-BBL infections?

Learning how to prevent infection after BBL is one of the most important steps during recovery that everyone should be aware of. Preventing a BBL infection starts with finding a clinic that performs its operations in a sterile environment. You can check the photos of the clinic to measure their quality and read the reviews of former patients. During the consultation, you can also discuss your concerns about the hygiene of reusable cannulas with your BBL doctor.

After the surgery, don’t miss taking your prescribed medications and take care of your incisions properly. Avoid soaking them in water until they are sealed completely. Keep your hands and your surgical sites clean to prevent bacteria from entering your body. Also, always wear compression garments. They act as a layer between your incision sites and the outside to avoid direct contact with bacteria. Plus, they also improve blood circulation to help your body fight against infection.

  • (1) Lu, J., Jiang, X., Huang, H. et al. Infectious shock after liposuction. BMC Infect Dis 22, 617 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-022-07574-1
  • (2) Weber PJ, Wulc AE, Jaworsky C, Dzubow LM. Warning: traditional liposuction cannulas may be dangerous to your patient’s health. J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1988 Oct;14(10):1136-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1988.tb03470.x. PMID: 3170930.
  • (3) Minasyan H. Sepsis: mechanisms of bacterial injury to the patient. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2019 Feb 14;27(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s13049-019-0596-4. PMID: 30764843; PMCID: PMC6376788.

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