Fun fact, one of the most popular, sought-after procedures in the world right now is the Brazillian Butt Lift. Scrolling through Instagram, celebrities – especially Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, K. Michelle, and Amber Rose to name a select few – have been known to have gotten the procedure done. In the procedure, excess fat is removed in areas such as the abdomen, thighs, love handle/sides, and your back via liposuction. The surgery uses a combination of fat grafting (the surgical process by which fat is transferred from one area of the body to another area) and liposuction to 100% redefine or reshape one’s buttocks and figure. Once injected into the buttocks, the grafts make them shapelier, fuller and more aesthetically pleasing by modern standards. In the droves of Instagram Models, you can spot more than a handful of them sporting the same hourglass body type brought (and bought) to them by the surgical hands and in depth know-how of BBL doctors. In fact, Draya Michelle who is a business woman and an actress (Will To Love, The Perfect Match), an Instagram Model, a Reality TV star (former Basketball Wives LA, Will To Love) and who dated Chris Brown reportedly spent $250,000, which is 5 times more than your typical BBL, just to ensure that her going under the knife was done right.
Think about it, over the last few years, looking at Hip Hop and Rap music videos, more often than not for the women in the video, one can’t help but see the same body types floating around. The slim waist, hella hips and a bigger than most ass? You know the type. With attention gathered and approval ratings steadily going up per “perfect body” post, there’s a growing desire to look like them. You see, the general female population has found themselves shouldering the desire to be a part of the hourglass band. With a considerable amount of this demand coming from the lower earning wing of the population, many seek out doctors willing to go much lower on the standard price, and so starts our journey on the downsides of not getting BBLs by a real doctor.
Let’s face it though, come high come low, if you’re tuned into what celebrities are getting up to, you’d see evidence of someone getting something surgically done. The fact of the matter is, you could wrap all the gyming you’d ever need to achieve your ideal butt in a couple of hours without breaking a sweat. Just that though alone is enough to make anyone want to go under the knife, despite what getting to that point might look like. For some, getting there includes getting the procedure done by persons who are doctors, yes, but it’s not their specialty, or by fake doctors who are persons that aren’t licensed doctors at all, but due to their knowledge, “can perform” the procedure. For example, someone who didn’t complete the doctor path (a dropout) or who couldn’t graduate or simply put, someone without a medical license. For such folks, the chances are their prices would be attention-grabbing. For others, seeking out a BBL at a lower price despite the reality of not being able to afford an actual surgeon or even vetting said surgeon, their desire outweighs their financial incompetence. Therefore they skirt around the price and disregard the red flags of the situation and end up with a botched surgery.
You’d think that with the Brazilian Butt Lift having the highest mortality rate of any cosmetic procedure, botched surgeries wouldn’t exist and if they do, it would be a low number, but it turns out that they’re still pretty rampant in the BBL camp. Though don’t get me wrong, please don’t. As much as cosmetic surgeries are raging successes, there are attached to it complications and risks that go along with anything surgical, so one would be a fool to think BBLs are the exception. Today, with cosmetic surgery more popular than ever (in 2018 in the USA it was reported that almost 18 million people had some form of a cosmetic procedure done), you now have a high chance of hearing about someone going under the knife. The thing is this, we’re always looking to look better than we do, we’re forever chasing confidence in our bodies so it is especially true that demand to enhance the way we look is at an all-time high. Now, who doesn’t like looking good? I mean, this is well and all, but the issue lies in the fact that by skirting around the price and doctor standard, what they’re left with post-surgery can be fatal.
According to Travel Noire, earlier this year “A New York City corrections Captain has died following a botched Brazilian butt lift (BBL) procedure in the Dominican Republic. 49-year-old Tandra Bowser-Williams, who worked at Rikers Island, reportedly suffered a massive stroke just days after her procedure in Santo Domingo from a fake doctor. Dr. Hector Cabral performed the fat transfer surgery on May 13, but he’s not credentialed.” Similarly, this year as well, Shacare Terry and her friend Carlesha Williams flew to the Dominican Republic to get a BBL and a tummy tuck. According to Yahoo, “Williams experienced the expected pain afterward, but Terry fared worse. She couldn’t move or breathe on her own and died a week after the procedures were finished.” Their procedures were conducted by Dr. Jose Desena and his team, also in Santo Domingo. In December of 2020, Instagram model Joselyn Cano known as the “Mexican Kim Kardashian” traveled from California to Colombia for a BBL. With her surgery being botched, she on December 7th died at the age of 30.
Now, even though the pandemic came and put many industries on their knees, with work from home being enforced now more than ever people were taking the opportunity to get nipped and tucked. The world of plastic surgery saw a spike in new clientele. At the lure of attractive prices, women were taking flights to places like Mexico, Columbia, Dominican Republic and even Brazil. Though, it isn’t just BBLs that are being done by unlicensed doctors. People seek out Breast Augmentation Surgery, Lip Lifts, Face Lift Surgery and Neck Lifts to name a few. A Dallas woman, Laura Avila, 36, who traveled to Rhino Clinic in Juarez, Mexico for the purpose of getting a nose job done died due to suffering brain damage, a result of the anaesthesia used in the procedure. Then there was Keauna Weaver who told her mom she was off to Florida but actually flew to Tijuana, Mexico to get a liposuction and tummy tuck procedure done with her friend, Kanisha Davis. Under the knife they went, the surgery being conducted by Dr. Jesús Manuel Báez López of the Art Siluette Aesthetic Surgery. Unfortunately, Keauna died while on the operating table and later that day, two other women including Kanisha, who he operated on, left the clinic in critical condition. Davis was left hospitalized for two weeks and the other, Esmerelda Iniguez was put on dialysis for kidney failure. Esmeralda said, “He tightened my abdominal muscles too much, squishing all my organs together and cutting off blood supply to my kidneys, causing something called Abdominal Compartment Syndrome. I was so septic by the time I reached the ER in Chula Vista on February 3rd, I was literally hours from death. My kidneys were shutting down.” It turns out that Dr. Lopez is not listed as a plastic surgeon with the Asociación Mexicana de Cirugía Plástica, Estética y Reconstructiva, A.C. If one isn’t in the directory it nods to said individual not having the required training to be a plastic surgeon. He does however have a degree in “aesthetic surgery” which, when inquired about, turns out to be “not really even surgery.” said Dr. Gilberto Montfort, a longtime plastic surgeon in Baja California and member of the Asociación Mexicana de Cirugía Plástica, Estética y Reconstructiva, A.C., the professional surgeon’s association. He further said, “It’s like Botox. They advertise it as aesthetic surgery. But it’s not actually surgery”. The women joined a group Botched by Báez where they found about 600 members.
Last year, 2021, Norman Rowe, an American Board of Plastic Surgery certified plastic surgeon, said since the year 2015, the amount of BBLs performed globally has increased by 77.6%.He told Insider that these botched surgeries are committed by the hands of the unqualified and all ten fingers are mistake prone. To the women seeking cheaper surgeries he pleads, “Don’t skimp when it comes to your health,” Rowe said. “You skimp on your vacation, you skimp on your car, don’t skimp on your health.” Family attorney for Laura Avila, Mr. Larry Friedman also urged, They [women/men] should do their homework and investigate the experience, training and track record of anyone BEFORE they sign up. Always LOOK before you leap!” Pointing to the fact that the rigorous testing done in the U.S isn’t always met when traveling abroad. “Many countries don’t have the rigorous pre-testing requirements we have here in the United States before a major surgery,” says Karyngton E., a nurse practitioner, to Travel Noire. According to her, “when it comes to cosmetic surgery, some pre-existing conditions or results from blood tests could mean that some people are ineligible for specific procedures in the U.S., so they head overseas where testing is not done or required.”
So with the lure of cheaper prices, a fraction of what they’d get in their home country, Medical Tourism’s dark side is seen. Especially with its demand which it mirrors its price point off of, for those not financially snug, alternatives to ensure they look good or as their hearts desire are explored. According to nurse practitioner Karyngton E., “Don’t just go for a lower price because that could cost you your life,” he says. “Check to ensure the doctor has the proper credentials, and keep in mind that your post-care is just as important as your procedure.” Among the surgeries with the highest risk, quoted are BBLs alongside a Body Lift. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons they – BBLs – have the highest death rate of all aesthetic procedures. The Body Lift is considered a high-risk surgery as well because it is several procedures to be done inclusive of the BBL. The procedure in its entirety includes the lifting of the buttocks, thighs, genitals, and belly. With these facts presented all pointing to the possibility of fatality, in your opinion, would the lack of money steer you into the hands of the unlicensed simply because the desire to have a BBL is quite overwhelming and their price, pleasing?
Let’s talk about it in the comments.