Experts are warning plastic surgery patients once again to beware of foreign plastic surgery trips after a 29-year-old woman from Leeds, England, died while undergoing a Brazilian Butt-Lift procedure in Turkey recently.
The procedure removes fat from areas around the body such as the stomach and thighs, and then transfers that fat into the buttocks. Complications often arise with the procedure because it is easy to accidentally strike an artery when injecting the fat back into the buttocks.
"When that happens, you can get what is known as a fat embolism," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon from Henderson, Nevada. "It basically is a blob of fat that runs through your veins until it reaches the heart, and then it blocks the blood flow to the heart."
Investigators suspect that the patient who died in Turkey died of a fat embolism, though her exact cause of death is not yet clear. Researchers say that fat embolisms have become so common with the Brazilian Butt-Lift procedure that approximately one in 3,000 patients dies from the procedure each year. It has even been dubbed the "most deadly" cosmetic procedure on Earth due to the high rate of accidents.
Doctors say the best way to reduce your risk of complications with the procedure is to be sure to use a practitioner you know you can trust, such as someone with verifiable board certification.
"Yes, it can be more affordable to seek surgery overseas or abroad, but you don't know what you're signing up for when you use a foreign doctor," says Mitchell. "It's never worth risking your life to save a few dollars."