In an era where social media platforms like TikTok wield immense influence over beauty trends and cosmetic procedures, Sergio Alvarez, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Mia Aesthetics, shares his insights on the growing fascination with the “chin BBL” and its connection to the digital age. Don’t miss out.
PSP: With the rise of “chin BBL” and its widespread discussion on platforms like TikTok, do you believe that social media has a significant influence on the trends and demands in plastic surgery?
Sergio Alvarez, MD: Social media is pivotal for all trends, and it’s no different in plastic surgery. Before the days of social media, tabloids would expose celebrities’ plastic surgery secrets, which then influenced popular trends over time. In aesthetic plastic surgery, anyone can become a celebrity now, and social media can make anyone go viral in minutes. There’s no question that TikTok has gotten incredibly popular in recent years and is at the forefront of setting trends, including the chin BBL.
PSP: There has been a shift in interest from augmentation via fat transfer to liposuction and the removal of fat. What do you believe is the main driving factor behind this shift?
Alvarez: What most people don’t realize about the traditional Brazilian butt lift, or BBL, is that 90% of the result comes from liposuction. In almost all women undergoing a BBL, the butt looks bigger once the lipo is done. That’s because we core out the critical parts of the lower back and flanks to really accentuate patients’ natural butts. When we transfer fat, it helps us put the cherry on top by critically filling and sculpting the perfect booty. So, I would argue that there isn’t so much of a shift, but a realization that with liposuction alone, we can get 90% of the result.
PSP: The term “chin BBL” seems to be a misnomer since BBL involves fat transfers and chin lipo is about removal. How do you feel about the use of this term and its potential to mislead individuals who might not be familiar with the procedures?
Alvarez: It’s definitely misleading, but that’s typical in almost all the terms that catch on. A traditional BBL has nothing to do with Brazil. The real, traditional BBL from Brazil is related to cutting and lifting the skin, not fat grafting. I think it’s a surgeon’s role to help educate each patient on the true nature of the procedure, as well as the risks and benefits. That’s why it’s critical to find plastic surgeons who are experienced and properly trained.
PSP: As more people openly discuss and share their liposuction experiences online, do you find that patients are coming into your practice better informed about the procedure, its risks, and its outcomes?
Alvarez: There has never been a better time to be in this field. The era of keeping plastic surgery locked away in a back closet is far gone; people are now sharing their journeys and giving others a front-row view of going under the knife. I think it’s amazing to have patients come in with direct knowledge and direct access to others who have undergone the procedure because it’s so much easier to address their questions.
Obviously, there will always be some misinformation, but there is a lot more value out there when you see people who are undergoing the procedure in real time. At the end of the day, it’s always our No.1 priority to fully inform our patients about the risks, benefits, and alternatives. Having abundant resources makes this process easier for everyone
PSP: You’ve been vocal about the growing desire for an “athletic-looking” face. Can you elaborate on what characteristics define this look and how it differs from previous beauty trends?
Alvarez: The athletic look is a lean, chiseled look that really starts at the jawline. When someone looks lean, they have a clear delineation between the face and neck. This is evident in the models you see in magazines and on runways. Additionally, you want to have a tight, lean neck without fullness noted in the submental area. Lastly, in the face, a “sucked-in” appearance along the cheeks using what’s called a buccal fat pad removal procedure will transform any face into an athletic look.
PSP: As a professional, what advice would you give to younger individuals considering “chin BBL” or any form of liposuction based on trending beauty standards?
Alvarez: I always tell my patients to listen to their bodies. Patients should consider the risks, benefits, and their own anatomy before following a social media trend, even if it seems cool. And plastic surgeons should look at patients as a whole—whether they’re performing a face or body procedure—and understand their patients’ goals, ethnicities, definitions of beauty, and stages of life. Because we need to operate with the long term in mind—not just the short term.