According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), cosmetic lift procedures have been on the rise over the past decade, particularly buttock lifts like the popular Brazilian butt lift. Regardless of popularity, patients must understand that any surgical procedure has risks and ask “what are the dangers of Brazilian butt lift surgery” before going under the knife.
In this article, our medical malpractice attorneys discuss the rise in popularity of the Brazilian butt lift, as well as discussing some of the risks and serious complications that may arise. If you have questions or concerns about a recent cosmetic procedure, contact Brown, Christie & Green today.
Brazilian Butt Lift Surgery on the Rise
The number of cosmetic, or plastic, surgeries performed in the United States have been consistently on the rise. In 2015, the ASPS reported 15.9 million surgical procedures, an increase over recent years. Among the procedures with the highest increase is the Brazilian butt lift. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of buttock lift procedures increased by 252 percent. In 2015 alone that accounts for 4,767 such procedures.
What is a Brazilian Butt Lift?
A Brazilian butt lift is a surgical augmentation procedure that takes place in several steps. First, a surgeon uses a metal rod, a cannula, to suction fat from a particular area of the body, most commonly the abdomen and hips. The metal rod is plunged in and out of the body via small surgical incisions.
The next step in a Brazilian butt lift is treatment and grafting of the fat. Once treated, small surgical incisions are made in the buttocks, and the fat is grafted into the buttock area adding volume and shape. The grafting process is similar to the fat extraction process in that a metal rod device is plunged in and out of the area in order to distribute the fat.
What are the Risks of Brazilian Butt Lift Surgery?
Any surgical procedure has some risks. According to the ASPS, the risks associated with fat transfer buttock augmentation include:
- Stretch marks
- Blood clots
- Excessive blood loss
- Cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Fat embolism (fat is injected into the bloodstream and travels to the lungs)
- Complications associated with liposuction or anesthesia
- Necrosis of fat or surrounding tissue
How Common are Complications During Buttock Lift Surgery?
Perhaps the most serious, and apparently one of the most common, risks of buttock lift surgery is fat embolism. A recent report in the Miami Herald discussed how at least six patients in Miami-Dade County alone have died since 2013 due to fat embolisms after a Brazilian butt lift. According to the news article, the patients died after fat clots entered the blood stream and traveled to the arteries in the lungs and heart.
One of these cases was in December 2017 when a 40-year-old woman sought a Brazilian butt lift at a Miami clinic. She died during the procedure. Medical examiners investigating her death described how death was caused after a vein deep in the patient’s buttocks was injured causing the fat being injected for the buttock lift to enter the bloodstream. The medical examiner also found fat clots spread throughout the patient’s organs, heart, and lungs.
The Miami Herald identified the surgeon, who is not board certified in any specialty and does not carry medical malpractice insurance. The Miami-Dad medical examiner’s office and a variety of plastic surgeons and healthcare professionals are collaborating to determine the root cause for the rise in injuries and deaths from a traditionally routine procedure. They are evaluating training, surgical techniques, safety procedures, etc.
The ASPS and the collaborative team – calling themselves the Multi-Society Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force – are urging patients desiring a Brazilian butt lift to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Yes, there are still risks to the procedure, but board certification may help ensure adequate training and techniques that can reduce risks and ensure healthy outcomes.
Reducing Risk when Seeking Cosmetic Surgery
One of the best ways to minimize risks when seeking any kind of surgical procedure is to be your own best advocate. Research the procedure you are selecting and understand the risks. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced performing the type of surgery you want. At your consultation, ensure that you and your surgeon collaborate and do the following:
- Discuss why you want the surgery done
- Discuss your anticipated or desired outcome
- Review any medications you are taking, or alcohol or tobacco used
- Evaluate your current health, including any pre-existing conditions, surgeries, or risk factors
- Take photographs of your body at various angles
- Collaborate and decide on the best course of treatment based on all options
- Discuss any risks, likely outcomes, and concerns that either of you may have
You should always feel comfortable asking your surgeon questions about your procedure. Never sign consent forms without thoroughly reviewing the contents and addressing any concerns.
What to Do when Complications Arise
If you have experienced complications during a surgical procedure, you may be unsure of what to do next. You can get answers to many of your questions and concerns by contacting a medical malpractice attorney. Consulting with a skilled medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your legal rights, and whether your situation constitutes medical malpractice or negligence.
Malpractice, negligence, or an honest mistake – you deserve to know what your rights and options are to ensure that you maintain physical and financial stability as you recover. The team at Brown, Christie & Green can help you do just that. Contact our office by filling out our online form and we will schedule your free consultation.