The Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is a cosmetic procedure which augments the shape of the bottom using fat transferred from areas such as the hips, abdomen or thighs using liposuction which is then injected into the bottom. The procedure is thought to have been invented by a leading Brazilian plastic surgeon – Ivo Pitanguy. Brazil has one of the highest rates of cosmetic procedures in the world, often undergone by young, economically deprived women as a means to use ‘beauty’ to escape poverty. Globally, trends in cosmetic enhancements continue to increase; likely due to the growing ease of health tourism (people travelling to another country for medical procedures and the effects of social media.
In the last twelve months, two British women have died due to complications resulting from Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery. Leah Cambridge, aged 29 travelled to Turkey to undergo the £3,000 procedure after becoming self-conscious of her mid-rift following her three pregnancies – a post-mortem revealed that she died from a fat embolism (a fatty clot which can block the blood vessels which supply the heart or the lung) which led to a subsequent heart attack. A second death occurred a few months later but the results of this investigation are still not publically available.
In October 2018, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) advised their members to stop carrying out the procedure in the UK, until further data was collected on the procedure. BAAPS state that a BBL is at present one of the riskiest cosmetic procedures with one in 3,000 procedures leading to death. One of the key issues is inexperienced surgeons transferring too much fat or surgeons injecting the transferred fat too deeply.