Deaths After Brazilian Butt Lifts
Recent news articles have highlighted deaths after Brazilian Butt Lift surgery. You can check out my other post on butt lift surgery for more details. But to quickly explain, in a Brazilian Butt lift liposuction removes fat from the waist and abdomen and injects it into the buttocks for a rounder, fuller appearance.
Many of the articles I read correctly point out that the surgeons involved were not actually board-certified in Plastic surgery. It’s perfectly legal to open a surgery center and set yourself up as a cosmetic surgeon, even if your training is actually Emergency Medicine. So it’s critical that you understand your surgeon’s credentials, and what they mean. But there is another aspect to Brazilian Butt Lift surgery and it’s safety that I want to talk about today.
The Brazilian Butt Lift actually has the highest mortality of any cosmetic operation.
The risk of death after Brazilian Butt Lift is 1/3000. For comparison, when I researched the risk
of death after breast augmentation, I was unable to find an actual number. Deaths after Brazilian Butt Lift are usually caused by a fat embolus: one of the large veins in the buttocks is damaged as the fat is injected. The fat then travels to the blood vessels in the lungs, and lodges there. This causes damage to the lungs from the decreased blood flow. So even if you survive, there is a risks you’ll be permanently hooked to an oxygen tank. The risk of becoming a “pulmonary cripple” is about 1/1000.
A task force is studying the safety.
Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and other societies have joined to created a task force to study the safety of Brazilian Butt Lift surgery. Members of these societies have actually participated in autopsies of deceased patients. And in every case they found:
- Fat in the gluteal muscles (the muscles of the buttocks).
- Fat beneath the gluteal muscles.
- Damage to the superior or inferior gluteal vein.
- Massive fat emboli in the heart and/or lungs.
Limiting the fat injections to the tissue above the muscles is safe, and prevents the risk of a fat embolus. But in virtually every case the operating surgeon was certain that fat was not inject into or below the muscles.
Is the Brazilian Butt Lift even safe?
I know many surgeons who continue to Brazilian Butt Lifts. I also know many who have stopped. Brazilian Butt Lifts are particularly popular in my area of the country (the Midwest), it’s not an issue I’ve really had to deal with. But if you are thinking about having a Brazilian Butt Lift, here are some things to consider:
- Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If the website just says “board certified” they could be certified in another specialty that has nothing to do with Plastic surgery.
- Ask your surgeon about the risk of pulmonary embolism and death.
- Ask yourself what your results will be like long term. What if you gain 50 pounds? You’ll gain more weight in your buttocks proportionally
- When looking at before and after photos, ask to see photos at least 6 months out. Only 60-80% of the fat takes, so early photos are misleading.
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Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain their self-confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. You can read more about her at www.greerplastics.com.