Mendieta uses liposuction to remove fat from undesirable areas like the waist and belly, then he injects the patient's own fat into the buttocks. (Image provided by NBC News)
MIAMI, Fla. (NBC) -- On busy South Dixie Highway near Coconut Grove, Florida it's hard to miss the signs for the Miami Thong Lift.
Jenny Fitz came from Bolivia to have it done last year.
"I love it. Tremendous change.Yeah because I had that square look," Fitz said.
She joked that she used to look like SpongeBob Squarepants.
Plastic surgeon Constantino Mendieta says he invented the Miami Thong Lift around ten years ago.
"It's just now entering into vogue. As a matter of fact, I'm going to Paris to lecture this week. I've been invited to Turkey, and we're going to Belgium," said Mendieta.
He credits Jennifer Lopez for making curves popular and more recently Kim Kardashian.
Mendieta says his practice is now almost 85 percent gluteal contouring.
It's not simply making the buttocks bigger, it is more about creating an hourglass look.
Mendieta uses liposuction to remove fat from undesirable areas like the waist and belly, then he injects the patient's own fat into the buttocks.
In some cases, he also removes fat from certain spots.
Not all this injected fat will stay put.
The body absorbs about 20 percent of it, and sometimes his patients do end up back in the operating room.
"The touch-up rate is around 5 to 10 percent for asymmetry or perhaps too much absorption. The majority of the interest is more in just going bigger," said Mendieta.
Men are also getting the Miami Thong Lift.
Recovery from the procedure can be challenging.
To protect the newly injected fat cells, patients cannot sleep on their backs or put pressure on their buttocks for two months.
That means they have to lean forward while sitting with pillows for support.
As with any surgery, there is a small risk of infection.
The most serious but rare complication is fat moving to the lungs if it's injected into the wrong place.
That's why it's important to find an experienced and certified plastic surgeon when considering cosmetic surgery.