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This Is the #1 Most Deadly Cosmetic Surgery, Says New Report

Why the "Brazilian Butt Lift" is surging in popularity thanks to social media.

It may come as something of a surprise to learn that the field of plastic surgery actually experienced something of a boom during the events of the last year and a half. "Within a few months [of lockdown during 2020], restrictions on surgeries lifted, practices opened up once again and more people than ever before were interested in plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures," explains Lee Daniel, M.D., for

According to Daniel, interest in plastic surgery rose largely because one of the biggest barriers to plastic surgery—the fear of a prolonged recovery—evaporated during stay-at-home orders.

"Anyone who had previously been interested in surgery but worried about the recovery period suddenly had a golden opportunity," he says. "While they would still need time off from work, they would require fewer sick days since they could work from bed as they recovered. Plus, that comfy work-from-home wardrobe translates nicely to a post-surgery recovery one."

Now, according to an all-new report by The New York Times, we're learning that there's one particular surgery that's on an explosive rise. What's more, the procedure "has the highest mortality rate of any cosmetic surgery" on the planet. Read on for what it is, and what you need to know about it.

Brazilian Butt Lifts

In the Hospital Operating Room Diverse Team of Professional Surgeons and Nurses Suture Wound after Successful Surgery.

The Brazilian Butt Lift (or BBL) is a procedure in which fat is transferred from other parts of your body to your rear in order to create a fuller, curvier, and more hour-glass shape—the type popularized by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez. Experts say that the procedure got its name from a famed Brazilian plastic surgeon named Ivo Pitanguy, who pioneered the procedure back in the 1960s.

Here's What Happens

Close-up Shot in the Operating Room of Surgical Table with Instruments, Assistant Takes Instruments for Surgeons During Operation. Surgery in Progress. Professional Medical Doctors Performing Surgery.

Under anesthesia, "your surgeon uses liposuction to remove fat from other areas of your body, such as your hips, stomach, and thighs," according to Healthline. "Liposuction itself involves making incisions in the skin, and then using a tube to remove fat from the body… Your surgeon finishes by injecting the processed fat into specific areas of the buttocks to create a more rounded, full look."

According to the new report in the NY Times, the procedure usually costs around $15,000.

It's Wildly Popular

Shot of a multiracial surgeon team consists of trained surgeons, trauma specialists and plastic surgeons, consulting during difficult operation proceed, standing before unconscious patient in O.R.

According to a survey conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, BLL procedures have increased by 77.6% since 2015. In April, Vox reported that BLL "is now the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the world."

"In 2020 alone, there were 40,320 buttock augmentations, which include both implants and fat grafting, reports the Aesthetic Society," says the Times. "According to Google keyword data, 'BBL' was searched roughly 200,0000 times per month between January and May 2021."

According to Nylon, the procedure is so popular—and so widely talked about—that there's now a popular TikTok meme devoted to making fun of people who get a Brazilian Butt Lift. It's called "The BBL Effect." (Yes, to be clear, BBLs are so popular that people are now making fun of those who get the procedure.)

The "BBL Effect character is a bad b*$% incarnate: a haughty attitude, immaculate hair and makeup, and always exuding a sense of fabulous unattainability," says Nylon.

That Being Said, It Also Comes with Grave Risks

Team surgeon at work in operating room

Research compiled by the Aesthetic Surgery and Research Foundation found that "one to two out of 6,000 BBLs resulted in death," cites the Times. "In 2018, The British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery advised surgeons in the United Kingdom to stop performing it altogether, although they couldn't ban it outright."

According to medical professionals, the procedure is incredibly dangerous because of the gentle makeup of the human buttocks. When BBL is performed, the fat that is being relocated to the rear may unintentionally find its way directly to the heart and lungs.

"The risk involved in performing a BBL is not only about the quantity of fat, but how it is inserted," explains a report in The Guardian. "During the operation, the danger occurs at a very precise moment: the insertion of the cannula [the instrument that moves the fat] into the buttock. As it goes under the skin, the cannula has to remain above the gluteal muscle. If it goes below, and fat enters the bloodstream, fat droplets can then coalesce, travel through the blood and cause a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs."

According to the Times, the procedure can be entirely safe, and experts note that the dying appears to occur in "chop shops" that perform the procedure for free, usually in Las Vegas, LA, and Miami.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about William
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