The Dangers of “Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)” Surgery
Cosmetic surgery is on the rise, and Florida may be ground zero for the most dangerous procedure of all: the “Brazilian Butt Lift” (BBL). While cosmetic surgery may not come to mind when you think of medical malpractice, it should. BBL surgery in particular is one of the fastest-growing cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States and is reported to have the highest death rate of all cosmetic surgeries. 3% of BBL surgeons say they have experienced a patient death following this procedure. As the popularity of BBL surgery has grown, so too has the number of complications, injuries and deaths linked to this procedure.
As a result, the Florida Board of Medicine enacted an emergency safety Order in 2022 aimed at limiting these dangerous (and lucrative) surgeries and making them safer. Along with other rules, the Board’s emergency Order states:
Standard of Care for Gluteal Fat Grafting. When performing gluteal fat grafting procedures, the surgeon must comply with the following standards:
- Fat may only be injected into the subcutaneous space and must never cross the fascia overlying the gluteal muscle. Intramuscular or submuscular fat injections are prohibited.
- The surgeon performing the procedure must use ultrasound guidance when placing and navigating the canula and injecting fat into the subcutaneous space to ensure that the fat is placed above the fascia overlying the gluteal muscle. The surgeon must also maintain the ultrasound video recordings in the patient’s medical record including the time and the date stamp of the ultrasound video recording.
- A surgeon must not perform more than three (3) gluteal fat grafting procedures in one calendar day.
See Fla. Admin. Code r. 64B8-9.009 (Standard of Care for Office Surgery)
The new rule prohibits surgeons from injecting fat intramuscularly or submuscularly because doing so can lead to a number of complications, injuries, and even death. Below are some examples of the type of injuries that can be caused by malpractice during BBL surgery.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a type of chronic pain caused by trauma or other injury to a part of the body. While the exact etiology of the disease is not well understood, it is commonly accepted that CRPS can be caused by trauma during surgery and lead to chronic pain, inflammation, and nerve damage.
Symptoms may include:
- Unusual sensitivity to touch or cold temperatures
- Motor disability
- Nerve pain
- Changes in skin color and texture
- Changes in hair and nail growth
At present, treatment for CRPS is varied, limited, and expensive.
Nerves can be damaged during a BBL surgery through direct trauma (cutting or stretching) and compression. That is, nerves and other structures can be compressed and damaged if surgeons improperly inject fact intramuscularly. Depending on the severity of the injury and when it is diagnosed, nerve injuries can be permanent and have far-reaching effects on your body.
There have been multiple reported cases of death following BBL surgery both in Florida and nationwide.
At Viñas & DeLuca, PLLC, we have seen an uptick in inquiries concerning medical malpractice related to BBL procedures and other cosmetic surgeries. If you or a loved one was injured by malpractice during a cosmetic surgery, contact our law firm for a free and confidential case evaluation. You can reach us 24/7/365 by phone at (305) 372-3650, chatting with us outline, or completing our free case evaluation form.