Brazilian butt lifts surge, despite risks

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The perfect body, according to Diana Dayyani’s estimate, belongs to a cartoon character. Not just any animated character, not Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble, but a bunny. Jessica Rabbit.

“I love this hourglass look,” said Dayyani, 23, of Houston. “The small waist, the beautiful and beautiful hips.”

Dayyani was so in love with Rabbit’s physique that in April she decided to acquire it for herself. She enlisted the sculptural assistance of Dr. Patrick Hsu, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston. He suggested breast reduction ($ 7,400) and buttock enhancement, or Brazilian butt lift (BBL), for $ 9,190, in addition to anesthesia and facility fees.

In the latter procedure, which typically costs around $ 15,000 and is not covered by insurance, the fat would be liposuctioned from her flanks, stomach and lower back and injected into her butt. “It’s like transferring money from your checking account to a savings account,” she said.

Diana Dayyani in Houston (Cindy Elizabeth / The New York Times)

And with that, Dayyani has become just another of the thousands of women around the world who have one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries (some men do too, but not many). In 2020 alone, there were 40,320 buttock augmentations, which include both implants and fat grafts, reports the Aesthetic Society. According to Google keyword data, “BBL” was searched approximately 200,000 times per month between January and May 2021.

It is also one of the deadliest. A July 2017 report from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation in Aesthetic Surgery Journal noted that one to two in 6,000 BBLs resulted in death, the highest death rate for any cosmetic surgery. In 2018, the British Association for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery advised surgeons across the UK to stop performing it, although they cannot ban it outright.

It didn’t matter: the women traveled to Turkey or South America for the surgery, where it was significantly cheaper. At least two British deaths have been found in a clinic in Izmir, Turkey.

The deadliest plastic surgery

The reason why the procedure is so dangerous is quite simple. The buttocks have a multitude of blood vessels, some as big as straws. These flow into the inferior vena cava, which is a direct line to the heart. With a facelift, fat is injected into the buttocks with a cannula or a long metal tube.

But it can be difficult for doctors to know exactly where they are injecting; they sometimes mistakenly injected fat into the gluteal muscle, or just below. The fat can then travel directly to the heart and lungs, obstructing blood flow and causing immediate death.

In 2018, concerned about the death rate, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, among others, formed the Working Group for Safety in Plastic Surgery. gluteal fat transplant, to develop safety guidelines. around the procedure.

Among their recommendations: that doctors stop injecting into the muscle and use larger instruments. “These cannulas bend, and if they bend when you put them in the buttock, you have no idea where the end of the cannula is,” said Dr. Luis Rios, board certified plastic surgeon. in McAllen, Texas, and past president of the Foundation for Cosmetic Surgery Education and Research, the research, education, and philanthropy arm of the Aesthetic Society. A 2020 follow-up study found that 94% of doctors are aware of the recommendations.

“When done right, when done carefully, it’s safe,” said Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Santa Monica, Calif., Who was involved in writing the guidelines, but no. ‘do not perform the operation. “We know exactly the mechanism that can lead to death, and we know how to avoid it. The surgeon simply needs to maintain intense focus and concentration.

Yet people are still dying, especially in “chop shops”: low-cost, high-volume centers typically found in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Miami – with doctors who may not be certified by the doctor. board of directors or even surgeons. In the past eight years, one of those doctors, Ismael Labrador, has killed eight patients in the clinics he ran, four from botched BBLs, USA Today and Naples Daily News reported. The names of the clinics have been changed twice as of 2016, making it nearly impossible for new clients to search for it. (Labrador did not return the calls.)

Neither Brazilian nor lift

It is not known exactly how the Brazilian Butt Lift got its name, because technically nothing is lifted. A Brazilian plastic surgeon named Ivo Pitanguy is credited with pioneering the procedure in the 1960s. It slowly migrated north, gaining popularity in the United States around 2010 thanks to Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian West and Nicki Minaj, each worshiped for their hindquarters. (The women deny having received any surgery. Kardashian West had an x-ray during an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Doctors could not find any implants, although the fat graft was not discussed.)

But a January 2020 editorial in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery argued that the procedure was actually named in 1996, when the Learning Channel featured a segment with Dr. Leonard Grossman, a board-certified plastic surgeon who has liposuction of the body. fat of a Brazilian woman and injected into her buttocks. The segment was called “Building the Brazilian Butt” and a nickname was born. (The authors proposed that the procedure be called “Safe Subcutaneous Buttock Augmentation” instead.)

brazilian butt lift Dayyani was so in love with Jessica Rabbit’s physique that in April she decided to acquire it for herself. (Cindy Elizabeth / The New York Times)

Since then, the amounts of fat injected have only increased. “I don’t know when we got bigger, it’s better, but we put in bigger and bigger volumes when we realized we could,” said surgeon Dr Oni Garcia. certified plastic surgeon in Miami.

No one knows for sure what the long term repercussions are. But Dr. Arthur W. Perry, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York and New Jersey and assistant associate professor of surgery at Columbia, is so worried he refuses to perform the procedure.

“What happens to fat when you put a lot of dead fat in your butt?” ” he said. “Because that’s what it is: dead fat. We haven’t even started to see the cosmetic disasters of people walking around with moonscape buttocks, one cheek bigger than the other.

“As far as I’m concerned, at the moment this is not a procedure that is performed routinely and consistently in a safe manner,” he said.

A satisfactory result

Dayyani was not afraid to die. She trusted Hsu, who said she performed around 2,000 procedures in seven years and has a one-and-a-half-year waiting list. In addition, she had no underlying health problems.

She took a more philosophical approach: “It was like every time you get on a plane you get a little nervous and there is a little risk, but you do it anyway,” she explained. .

The operation lasted about three hours, after which she felt as if she had been churned in a Nutribullet. His butt looked like an inflated beach ball, which freaked him out. But Hsu assured him that it would shrink over time; only about 70% of the fat remains in the body.

She also had to receive lymphatic massages for a week after the procedure to drain excess fluid from the body. It hurt. (A viral video on TikTok showed a woman screaming in pain as she received a massage after BBL.) She was unable to sit or lie on her back for the first few weeks. To sleep, Dayyani made a hole in a lawn chair that her bottom could fit into, while keeping her breasts lifted.

She said it was worth it. She went from a G cup to a double D, and her stomach is flat. “I literally have abs now,” she said.

As for his posterior? It’s rabbit. “The operation improved my hourglass figure,” she said. “I can’t wear some of my old clothes because my booty doesn’t fit through my pants. I have never felt better.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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