In general, when it comes to aesthetic treatments, most procedures are safe but not all that glimmers is gold. A striking example of this is the recent outcry against non-surgical Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBLs) and breast augmentations. Save Face, a government-approved register has sounded the alarm on these procedures. Let’s delve into why they’re advocating for an urgent ban, as highlighted by their alarming findings.
A Crisis in the Making
A worrying study from Save Face revealed that a whopping 99% of medical professionals steer clear of non-surgical BBL and breast augmentation procedures, deeming them far too risky. Despite this, these procedures are being offered by individuals with no healthcare experience, including laypeople, hairdressers, and beauticians.
They often use large quantities of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, injecting them directly into buttocks, hips, and breasts. Advertised as risk-free and cheaper alternatives to surgery on social media, these treatments are anything but safe.
The Dire Consequences
The aftermath of these procedures can be harrowing. Save Face has been inundated with over 200 reports of severe, life-threatening complications following these treatments. These complications often lead to permanent disfigurement, excruciating pain, and in many cases, hospitalization and corrective surgeries. The practitioners offering these services are typically non-medical, prioritizing profits over patient safety and leaving the National Health Service (NHS) to deal with the fallout.
Recent cases of Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedures going wrong have highlighted the significant risks associated with this type of cosmetic surgery. Here are a few notable incidents:
- Tandra Bowser-Williams’ Case: A New York City corrections captain, Tandra Bowser-Williams, tragically died following a botched BBL procedure in the Dominican Republic. Performed by Dr. Hector Cabral, who was not credentialed and previously indicted for operating without a license in New York, Bowser-Williams suffered a massive stroke just days after the surgery.
- Tanesha Walker’s Case in Florida: In another distressing case, Tanesha Walker, a 47-year-old Indiana woman, died after undergoing a BBL surgery in Florida. The surgery, which led to her death, was performed by Dr. Oliver Simmons. The Florida Board of Medicine imposed a penalty on Dr. Simmons, which included a $10,000 fine and a requirement to deliver a one-hour lecture on surgery safety
- West Virginia Woman’s Case: A new mother from West Virginia underwent a BBL procedure at Encore Plastic Surgery in Miami. Unfortunately, the surgery resulted in a fatal fat embolism when a vein was struck during fat transfer, causing the fat to travel to her lungs and stopping her breathing
- Multiple Cases in Florida: The Florida Department of Health has filed lawsuits against multiple doctors involved in botched BBL surgeries, with allegations ranging from failure to perform proper pre-surgery examinations to puncturing internal organs during the procedure.
The BBL procedure has the highest rate of patient deaths among all cosmetic surgeries, primarily due to pulmonary fat embolisms (PFEs). A survey suggested the risk of death due to a PFE during a BBL is about one in 3,448, significantly higher than the average risk of death from cosmetic procedures in general.
The Professional Stance
The statistic that 99% of over 2000 surveyed healthcare professionals, including plastic surgeons, doctors, and nurses, avoid offering non-surgical Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBLs) and breast augmentation treatments, speaks volumes about the perceived risks associated with these procedures. These professionals, with their extensive experience and qualifications in aesthetic medicine, are likely well-informed about the potential complications and dangers.
Their collective decision to refrain from these treatments underscores the significant health risks they pose. These risks might include complications from the materials used, the possibility of infection, and other adverse reactions that can lead to serious health issues. This consensus among seasoned professionals serves as a strong warning against these non-surgical cosmetic enhancements.
A Troubling Trend
The increasing demand for non-surgical cosmetic treatments like Brazilian Butt Lifts and breast augmentations is fueling a worrying trend. Not only are these procedures becoming more popular, but they are also attracting a growing number of unqualified practitioners. These lay injectors, often lacking proper healthcare training, offer treatments at an average cost of over £2,000. However, this figure belies the true cost, particularly when complications arise.
The National Health Service (NHS) is frequently left to handle these complications, with a staggering 96% of patients experiencing issues being treated by NHS services, often after their original practitioners have failed to provide adequate post-treatment care or support. This situation places a significant burden on the NHS, both in terms of resources and finances, while also highlighting the risks patients face when choosing non-surgical cosmetic enhancements from unqualified sources.
It’s a disaster waiting to happenAshton Collins (Save Face Director)
A Call for Action
The case of Louise Moller, a 27-year-old woman who underwent a non-surgical Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), is a stark example of the dangers associated with these procedures when performed by non-healthcare practitioners. Moller saw the procedure advertised on social media and travelled from Bolton to Essex to receive the treatment. Without prior consultation, 500mls of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers were injected into her buttocks. She experienced severe pain during the procedure and was simply given additional pain relief and a basic aftercare leaflet before being sent home.
In the days following the treatment, Moller’s condition deteriorated significantly. The left side of her buttocks became extremely swollen and red, and she was in so much pain that she could hardly walk. Despite reaching out to the practitioner, she was dismissed and advised to take antibiotics that were not appropriately prescribed. Her condition worsened, leading to her hospitalization by ambulance. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with sepsis and required urgent surgical intervention to remove infected and dead tissue. The medical professionals informed her that without surgery, she would have been dead within an hour.
Over two months later, the impact on Moller’s life has been devastating. She is left scarred, in significant pain, and requires regular wound dressing changes by district nurses.
This case, among many others, highlights the severe risks and potential life-threatening complications of non-surgical BBL procedures, particularly when carried out by individuals without medical training. It underscores the importance of stringent regulations and the need for potential patients to be fully informed about the risks and qualifications of practitioners before undergoing such procedures.
Save Face is urging the government to take immediate action to ban these dangerous procedures. The tragic case of Louise Moller as well as many others mentioned above, exemplifies the urgent need for regulation. After being treated by a non-healthcare practitioner with no prior consultation, Louise’s life was left in shambles, scarred and in constant pain.
The Bottom Line
Ashton Collins, Director of Save Face, emphasizes the critical nature of this issue: it’s a disaster waiting to happen. The campaign aims to prevent fatalities and severe complications caused by these treatments. This situation calls for a reevaluation of beauty standards and practices, underscoring the importance of safety and professionalism in aesthetic enhancements.