Any woman who has worn Spanx knows that putting them on and taking them off is a pain – now some plastic surgeons are offering an “internal Spanx” procedure that promises to permanently lift and shape the butt while also decreasing the appearance of cellulite.
“The surgery entails sewing strips of polytetrafluoroethylene, a permanent mesh that has been used in hernia surgery, into the buttocks,” Dr. Sheila Nazarian explains to PEOPLE.
Developed by Brazilian plastic surgeon Dr. Ricardo Ribeiro, the procedure requires a smaller incision than buttock implants, and does not require excess fat like liposuction does.
“This new technique addresses the concerns of women who do not have extra fat or who do not want any incision,” Dr. Robert Rey tells PEOPLE. “The polytetrafluoroethylene is crisscrossed and attached at the bony part of the buttocks, and works almost like an internal support girdle – much like shapewear except it’s internal.”
This is the first time polytetrafluoroethylene has been used in the buttocks.
“We are not sure if this mesh is safe in the buttocks, as this would be an off-label use and would be up to the surgeon’s judgement to use it in this anatomic area,” says Nazarian. “But even in the abdomen when used to repair hernias, it is not uncommon for it to become infected and thus needing removal.”
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But Rey says the risks involved in the “internal Spanx” procedure are on par with the risks of any other surgery.
“This is a safe procedure, but there is a small risk of infection or bleeding, but overall these risks are rare,” he says.
Currently, the procedure – which costs about $6,000 – is only available in Brazil and Portugal.
“The strips would have to be FDA approved for this use here, and that process can take some time, but I do imagine that it will happen relatively soon,” says Rey.
“Personally, I would hesitate to use a permanent mesh in the buttocks due to the risk of infection,” says Nazarian. “I would want to wait years to see long-term outcomes and complications before performing it on my patients.”