Surgeons told to stop performing Brazilian butt lifts

Brazilian butt lifts should not be carried out in the UK, leading plastic surgeons have said, after reports of a second British death from the procedure.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) has advised its members to stop performing the cosmetic operation until more information about its safety is available.

The surgery, which involves fat being taken from a part of the body and injected into the buttocks, has been made popular by celebrities promoting a curvier figure, the organisation said.

However there is a risk that fat injected into large veins can travel to the heart or brain, leading to severe illness of death.

The surgery has the highest death rate of all cosmetic surgery procedures, Baaps said, at an estimated one-in-3,000 operations internationally.

Mother-of-three Leah Cambridge, 29, from Leeds, is said to have died in August after undergoing the procedure in Turkey.

Her family told The Sun at the time that she suffered three heart attacks during the operation.

A second British woman, in her late 20s, also died this year, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme reported on Thursday.

It is not clear where the second woman underwent the operation but the programme said an inquest would take place within the next year.

Baaps, which represents the majority of NHS-trained consultant plastic surgeons in private practice, said it decided to warn its members not to perform the procedure before learning of the latest death.

Outgoing president Simon Withey said the news “reinforces the importance” of their recommendation.

“It’s quite difficult, while the rest of the world is carrying on accepting that this procedure takes places, to take a stand against it,” he told a press conference.

“You are potentially driving people from here to less safe environments elsewhere.

“So I think it is important that the message is reinforced: there is nowhere internationally where this is particularly perceived as a safe operation.”

The number of Brazilian butt lifts carried out in the UK is not known, but is thought to be relatively low.

Paul Harris, president-elect of Baaps, said: “It’s probably in the hundreds, maybe not multiple, multiple hundreds, but it’s not thousands, I wouldn’t have thought.”

Mary O’Brien, an NHS consultant plastic surgeon at the Royal Derby Hospital, said: “The problem is this is high-volume fat.

“And if that fat ends up in a large vessel or a vein that you are going to have in the buttock area, it can get carried to the heart and to the lungs, and that’s what causes the fatality.”

Complications arising from the surgery can also include severe bacterial infections, scarring, tissue dying, wound ruptures and abscesses.

Baaps estimates that people who travel abroad for surgery and return to the UK with complications are costing the health service thousands of pounds.

“One of the real problems that we face is people are drawn in to jumping on a plane for sun, sea, sand and surgery, and if it all goes well they come back on the plane,” Ms O’Brien said.

“But then where’s their surgeon if things go wrong back home?

“And if they have a complication out there, they can’t get back to this country.”

Ms O’Brien, a Baaps council member, urged anyone considering the procedure to consider the possible risk to their health and the long-term effects of the surgery.

“We’ve seen this with breast implants – the fashions change – and what governs those fashions? It’s social media, it is a celebrity culture.

“You just have to be so careful that you tailor your surgery to that individual patient, and it’s not just a quick-fix.

“It takes a lot of time discussion to get it right.”

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