Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


Surgeon’s perspective: What it’s like to get a BBL in South Africa

The Citizen spoke to board certified cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Deon Weyers about mommy makeovers, BBLs and summer bodies.

A Fourways-based cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Deon Weyers has been in private practice since 2012, however, he has professionally been a practising surgeon for far longer. That means Dr Weyers has had ample time to see the shift in beauty standards based on what clients come to his office looking to do.

According to Dr Weyers, the top spot (in terms of popularity) once occupied by breast augmentations is now filled by “mommy makeovers,” liposuction, liposculpting and BBLs. 

In addition to changing beauty standards, the doctor owes this shift in interest around cosmetic surgery to the rise in popularity of shows like Dr. 90210 and Botched as well as the popular aesthetics that dominate Instagram and other social media feeds around the world.

Lastly, the openness of certain celebrities about what procedures they have done has given the public some sense of comfortability around exploring cosmetic surgery. 

Please note: The following article contains graphic images that may not be for sensitive and underage viewers.

“Recently, and strangely, with Covid and with the pandemic… I don’t know what to ascribe that to but if you look at the literature that’s available and studies show that people in this time where there’s uncertainty, people are feeling low and not good about themselves.”

He throws back to the old adage of “if you look good, you feel good.”

Additionally, because people could no longer travel, those who had some disposable income but were not looking to spend on luxury items decided to reinvest in themselves and their appearance by getting various procedures done. 

“Also, with virtual meetings… There’s this new concept called the Zoom face where people could see themselves and they see other people on the conferences and they want to have that refreshed or enhanced.”

Leading with the explanation of the different aspects of plastic surgery – reconstructive, cosmetic and aesthetic treatments – Dr Weyers has observed, through his practice, that there has been a boom in interest in fillers and botox. 

“From a reconstructive surgery point of view, prior to the pandemic, it was your skin cancers and the reconstruction thereof and a lot of trauma referred from other specialities…” 

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“From a cosmetic surgery point of view, a lot of breast enhancement surgeries and body contouring. That means liposuction, tummy tuck and the likes of those… Liposuction has increased dramatically in terms of consultation and procedures being done as well as mommy makeovers.”

The term “mommy makeovers” refers to a series of procedures done to mitigate the impacts pregnancy and ageing may have on the female body, namely a change in areas such as the breasts, stomach, thighs and buttocks.

Some celebrities are even rumoured to order these procedures just minutes after giving birth to “get it all out of the way.”

When asked about this, Dr Weyers admitted that some patients do ask for this, however, he advises against it. This is because the body changes so much in the first six months to a year after giving birth and those changes may negatively impact the outcome/look of whatever procedure a patient gets done.

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“When you look at the numbers there, there has pretty much been an increase in the trend, even prior to the pandemic and it has sustained throughout. Brazillian butt lift basically refers to enhancement of the buttocks by reducing the fatty excess or tissues or unwanted fat above and around the buttocks… So let’s say the love handles, the back, the tummy area and maybe around the inner thighs and then using that fat by transferring it and injecting it into the buttocks to improve of enhance them.”

The doctor says this allows a patient to achieve that coveted hourglass shape and create more projection of the buttocks.

One of the most essential components of a BBL is that a patient either has to have enough fat present on their body prior to the procedure or they have to be able to pick up the fat needed through a very controlled diet developed by a nutritionist.

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By his estimation, between a third and a quarter of the patients who come to see him looking to get a BBL often don’t have the fat reserves needed to sanction the procedure.

In this case, patients are offered the option of receiving “butt implants” or injectables such as filler to create the desired fullness.

“Fat has a variable take. It’s typically 30 – 50% of the fat that you inject on average will actually last and take. So that means that 50% or more, more than half of what you inject, will actually decrease.”

As such, some people find themselves having to return to their surgeons for follow-up procedures (something that is commonly referred to as “maintenance” in aesthetic circles.)

Dr Weyers also adds that he has observed that once people open themselves up to the idea of getting work done, they become more open to getting additional or future procedures.

What does a BBL cost in South Africa?

“Consultations depend on who you’re consulting and where. It can start at probably about R600 and then some surgeons will be in excess of R2,000,” begins the surgeon.

“If you’re looking at a reconstruction consultation, usually, that’s typically about a 30-minute consultation. If it’s a cosmetic consultation, it’s an hour minimum and the further consultation and there, you would usually charge minimally for that.”

When it comes to the procedures, the cost is affected by where the procedure is done. Not all of them require the surgeon to book a theatre and the consultation rooms often come equipped with “theatre-like” facilities that allow for sedation.

“In theatre, it’s a per-minute billing and if you look at theatres, you’re looking in excess of R200 per minute.”

A short procedure can last as little as 45 minutes (R9,000) and on the longer end, you can expect a surgeon to work for about six hours, maybe more. That’s roughly R72,000.

He roughly estimated the cost of localised liposuction around the tummy area at around R20,000 (which could cost more given the differing needs of patients and unforeseen circumstances.)

“It can the go up to multiple areas which could cost just short of R100,000,” when treating multiple areas. This also involves a hospital stay as such a procedure would need to be done in theatre, under sedation and a patient would need to be monitored after the procedure.

Breast augmentation (with implants) can start at about R45,000 in some hospitals and can go up to between R80,000 and R100,00 depending on the surgeon. For a breast lift and tummy tuck, you can expect to budget between R60,000 and R100,000.

When combining these procedures, you can expect to pay hundreds of thousands of Rand, which most patients often do and such procedures aren’t covered by medical aid.

Looking for a first-hand account of what it’s like to get a BBL in South Africa? Click through to part 1 of this article to find out. 

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