As BBLs grow more popular, deaths rise in South Florida
Brazilian butt lifts are ballooning in popularity across the country, but the death toll from botched procedures is growing as well.
Why it matters: BBLs, which involve injecting fat into the buttocks to achieve an hour-glass figure, is the most-searched cosmetic surgery procedure on Google in Florida. The procedure gets more than 20,000 searches a day, the Sun Sentinel reports.
- South Florida has the most BBL deaths in the country, according to a 2022 study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
How it works: One of the most deadly complications from a BBL is a pulmonary fat embolism, where the fat grafts a surgeon injects into the gluteal muscle enter the bloodstream.
By the numbers: There were 25 BBL-related fat embolism deaths in South Florida between 2010 and 2022, per the study.
- About 92% of the procedures were performed at high-volume, budget clinics that are often seen in local strip malls.
State of play: The Florida Board of Medicine issued an emergency order in 2019 requiring surgeons to only inject fat grafts under the skin instead of in the muscle.
What they're saying: Central Florida resident Nikki Ruston, who was hospitalized after her BBL in Miami last July, told KFF Health News that she found her surgeon on Instagram by looking for cost-effective options.
- "If I could go back in time, I wouldn't have had it done," she said.
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