Woman dies after Brazilian butt lift surgery in Miami

Brazilian butt lifts are considered one of the most dangerous cosmetic procedures 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Friday 18 September 2020 15:49 BST
Woman dies from Brazilian butt lift in Miami
Woman dies from Brazilian butt lift in Miami

A 46-year-old woman has died while undergoing a Brazilian butt lift after the injections caused a fat embolism.

Gia Romualdo-Rodriguez, from New York, reportedly travelled to Miami, Florida, this week to have the surgery at Xiluet Plastic Surgery, which specialises in Brazilian butt lifts, tummy tucks and breast enhancements.

While undergoing the surgery, Romualdo-Rodriguez’s oxygen levels and heart rate dropped, prompting her surgeon Dr Stephanie Stover to call 911, the Miami Herald reports.

Romualdo-Rodriguez was taken to Kendall Regional Hospital on 15 September, but was unable to be saved, according to the outlet.

On Thursday, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office ruled Romualdo-Rodriguez’s death accidental, and said that she had died of a fat embolism, which is when a piece of intravascular fat lodges within a blood vessel and causes a blockage of blood flow.

According to the Miami Herald, the Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the embolism occured when the fat was injected into Romualdo-Rodriguez’s buttocks.

Romualdo-Rodriguez, who was transitioning into a woman, was also undergoing a breast enhancement surgery, according to police.

Brazilian butt lifts (BBL), which see excess fat removed from the hips, abdomen, lower back, or thighs with liposuction and then injected into the buttocks, have risen in popularity in recent years.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2017, approximately 20,300 buttock augmentation procedures using fat grafting were performed, with the number growing steadily since.

However, the procedure is also considered one of the most dangerous cosmetic surgeries, with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) citing it as having the highest rate of death for any aesthetic procedure, with as many as one in 3,000 patients dying as a result of the surgery.

In the UK, surgeons were told in 2018 not to perform the surgery any longer after a second British woman died from complications.

In Florida, after more than 10 deaths were linked to the procedure in recent years, a new law was passed in 2019 that allows the Florida Board of Medicine to immediately revoke a doctor’s license in the case of injury or death, according to NBC 6.

The law also requires all surgery centres to be owned by doctors and requires a clean record for five years before a doctor can open a surgery center.

The new restrictions attempt to increase the safety of the surgery as well, with surgeons prohibited from injecting fat into or below a patient's gluteal muscles due to the risk of piercing the gluteal vein, which can cause fat clots to travel to lungs and the heart and cause them to fail.

The Independent has contacted Xiluet for comment.

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