The organization warns that “risky” Brazilian butt lifts, sometimes called BBLs, have the highest death rate of all cosmetic surgery procedures — estimated to be as high as 1 in 3,000 operations — and often result in costly emergency complications. This year, two women in the UK have died from the procedure, according to the BBC.
“This risk has galvanised the BAAPS to distribute a recommendation to all members, suggesting they refrain from performing BBLs, at least until more data is available,” the association said in a statement Thursday.
The surgery involves taking fat from another part of the body and injecting it into the buttocks for a better shape, but doing so brings a risk of injecting fat into large veins, after which it can travel to the heart or brain, causing illness or death, according to the plastic surgeon group.
“The problem is that at certain volumes of fat injections, the fat can enter the vessels around the buttock area, which forms a fat embolism,” said Dr. Mary O’Brien, consultant plastic surgeon and a member of the association’s leadership council.
In a global 2017 survey on mortality among Brazilian butt lift patients, 692 surgeons reported 32 deaths due to fat embolisms after these procedures.
The most sought-after destination, with a quarter of patients traveling there for low-cost procedures, was Turkey, followed by Belgium, France, Cyprus, Tunisia and Colombia, according to the association. It stated that many British patients who traveled to other countries for treatments would have been ruled out for surgeries at home due to their medical history factors, such as smoking or weight.
Outgoing association President Dr. Simon Withey said in a statement that “vulnerable” patients are targeted online and through social media to travel abroad for less-expensive cosmetic surgery. Away from home, medical histories and psychological health might not be considered, he said. The group noted that it unveiled a psychological screening tool at its annual meeting this week.
“People are experiencing a rude awakening when they arrive back on British shores, many disappointed, and some desperately ill,” Withey said.