We had a feeling they were coming, and sure enough. The recent rash of news about the dangers of Brazilian butt lifts have given birth to another round of online articles about the dangers of plastic surgery in general.
We recently read a piece on the Insider Health website discussing the four most dangerous procedures, quoting two New York plastic surgeons. Here are some of our thoughts.
There is reason for patients considering a Brazilian butt lift (BBL), or fat grafting to the buttocks, to research the procedure. Both the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) have been concerned enough about elevated risks to pull together task forces to study the surgery.
An article last year in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, a publication of the ASAPS, outlined some findings of its task force. The researchers went to great lengths to compile outcome data from a variety of sources. They concluded the mortality rate for fat injections to the buttocks to be between 1:2350 and 1:6241 cases—up to 20 times higher than for other cosmetic procedures.
Fat injections to the butt are obviously more risky than they may sound. If performed incorrectly, fat can enter the bloodstream and lodge in the lungs or brain. The ASAPS task force found that “a spectrum of physicians and even nonphysician providers” decide to “add this procedure to their practice, perhaps with little to no formal training in proper techniques.”
A report on CNN about the dangers of butt augmentation was even more blunt: “Most of these deaths appear to have been caused by inappropriately qualified practitioners working in non-approved facilities, including homes and garages. “
We do offer fat injections to the buttocks for patients seeking moderate enhancement and a shapelier backside. We discourage those who are interested in huge behinds, but not because in our hands such a procedure would be dangerous. We have the anatomical knowledge and experience to perform fat transfer very safely, but we believe strongly that in years to come women who have opted for extreme enhancement will regret it as sagging takes hold. In this as in all cosmetic surgeries, we protect the patient’s safety and best interests.
One of the New York plastic surgeons quoted on Insider Health maintained that tummy tucks pose the possibility of complications due to the recovery process. Because mobility is limited at first, there can be additional risks of blood clots, especially for patients such as those who are older or overweight.
We acknowledge that abdominoplasty involves a longer recovery process than many other cosmetic surgeries, but we would not characterize it as “dangerous.” We choose tummy tuck patients carefully, with their safety foremost in mind. We ensure that they have the time and support they need for a smooth recovery, and we provide safeguards such as compression stockings, detailed instructions and close follow-up.
High volume liposuction is the third risky plastic surgery cited by the New York plastic surgeons. Removing large amounts of fat at one time can cause dehydration or even send the body into shock, one of them noted. Furthermore, since liposuction is often combined with other procedures, patients can spend too much time under anesthesia, which can be problematic.
Liposuction is one of our leading specialties. We learned alongside one of the pioneers of the procedure decades ago and have designed our own instruments for use in various areas of the body. We have performed liposuction thousands of times for both men and women, including revisions of other surgeons’ work, and we design each procedure to maximize patient satisfaction and minimize time on the operating table.
The fourth most dangerous cosmetic procedure referred to in the Insider Health pieces is liquid silicone injections to the face. Of course injecting liquid silicone anywhere in the body is risky! No cosmetic surgeon with even a reasonable amount of integrity would offer this option.
This brings us to two takeaways we hope patients glean from articles like these on the “dangers” of plastic surgery:
1) Patients should always choose a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery as their aesthetic expert. In addition, he or she should have a great deal of experience in the procedure of interest, a clean record with their state’s medical board and an otherwise spotless reputation, plus trained staff, an accredited surgical facility and so on.
Flying to another country for cosmetic surgery or choosing a cut-rate provider with less than stellar credentials increases risks no matter what the procedure may be.
2) When performed by a board certified plastic surgeon in a fully accredited facility, cosmetic surgery is generally not dangerous. The ASAPS study we referred to above cites an overall mortality rate of 1:55,000 procedures.
If you’re considering cosmetic surgery and you’re seeking a plastic surgeon in the New York area who values your safety as the highest priority, give us a call at 212-570-6080. We would love to work with you.