Plastic Surgery & Butt Lifts: From Dangerous To Deadly

On the 14th of July this year, bank manager Lilian Calixto (45) was injected with an overly large dose of acrylic glass during a plastic surgery procedure known as the Brazilian Butt Lift.

Approximately twelve hours after the procedure, she was dead. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.plastic | Longevity LIVE

About a month later, her celebrity plastic surgeon, Denis Furtado – better known as Dr Bumbum by his 650 000 Instagram followers – was charged with murder. Immediately after the death of his patient, he was on the run, with the Brazilian police on his tail. He was arrested four days later.

According to the New York Times, prosecutors said that neither Furtado nor his mother (who is also charged with assisting her son during the procedure) had a licence to practice medicine in Rio de Janeiro. Others involved in the deadly procedure – and who also had no medical training – was Furtado’s girlfriend and an assistant. Both are also facing charges.

As per the prosecutors, the buttock lift procedure administered to Calixto was carried “under the false promise of immediate beauty, selfishly motivated by greed and an easy profit.” Moreover, it took place in Furtado’s penthouse apartment, which was used as a makeshift clinic and was prepared for the surgery “in a very provisional and precarious way”.

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Following these events, Mr Furtado has been defending himself on various media platforms- making repeated appearances on Brazilian television and posting on his Instagram account. In one video, he referred to Calixto’s death as a “fatal accident”, and maintains he hasn’t committed any crimes, saying that he is licensed to practice in the states of Goiás and Brasilia. According to the charge sheet, during the procedure he used 300ml of PMMA (which is a synthetic resin also known as acrylic glass) “when it is recommended that it is only used in very small doses and in a restricted way.”

How is this happening?

The public prosecutor’s office in Rio de Janeiro said the doctor “had attracted women with the false promise of quick and immediate beauty”. Brazil and the US have some of the highest numbers of cosmetic surgery procedures taking place annually – and thousands of the “surgeons” who perform them are not qualified. The New York Times reports that in Brazil – as is also the case elsewhere – beauty is generally considered a requirement if you want to acquire a partner, career or social status. This causes scores of women to opt for the more affordable procedures, even if they come with higher health risks.

And it doesn’t stop here

While this case involved acrylic glass for the procedure, in recent years, another form of plastic surgery designed to enhance the shape of the body – known as fat grafting – has been making headlines, especially when applied to achieve a more ample behind. Fat grafting does not make use of a foreign substance, but instead – not unlike Robin Hood – these procedures removes body fat from specific areas in the body, to relocate it to more desirable locations, such as the butt or breasts. Unfortunately, this is regarded as one of the most dangerous forms of cosmetic surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) this procedure has a mortality rate of 1 in 3000 patients – more than in any other form of plastic surgery. Moreover, News.Com reports that there has been a 26 percent jump in these gluteal fat grafting from 2016 to 2017.

Why is it so dangerous?

Pulmonary fat embolism is the biggest issue here. This happens when the surgeon injects fat into the deep muscle, and if from here it enters the bloodstream, the patient runs a risk of damage to the lungs and changes in alertness and consciousness.

This issue has become so concerning that a multi-societal and multinational task force has been established in order to investigate the risk and details surrounding gluteal fat grafting, as well as to conduct studies in order to develop more specific safety guidelines. Recently, this Task Force for Safety in Gluteal Fat Grafting has issued an advisory to surgeons, in which they urge surgeons to have discussions with their patients about the risks and recommendations involved in these procedures.

Dr Des Fernandes, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, explains that when it comes to fat grafting or body reconstructing, it is crucial to have such procedures done by specialists only.

Want to find out more?

While breast implants are generally regarded as a safe form of plastic surgery, scores of women are now opting to have theirs removed. Their reason?  All of them are complaining of a recognisable pattern of health problems, including mental confusion, joint pain, hair loss, dry eyes, chronic fatigue, and persistent flu-like symptoms. We spoke to one of the world’s foremost experts on breast implants as failed medical devices, Dr Pierre Blais, about the current misconceptions about breast augmentation and other implant-based cosmetic surgery procedures.