The Florida Board of Medicine has approved an order limiting the number of Brazilian butt lift (BBL) surgeries that surgeons in the state can perform daily.
By order, surgeons operating in the state of Florida may no longer do more than 3 BBLs in any one day.
The board’s official order isn’t yet available on its website, but was announced at a meeting in Orlando, FL, in early June.
The board’s order appears to adopt a recommendation from two board-certified plastic surgeons who safely perform the surgery:
“The maximum number of BBLs that should be safely performed should be limited to 3 (three) a day. This limitation potentially decreases operator fatigue and distraction, resulting [in] less likelihood of surgical misadventure.”Practice Advisory on Gluteal Fat Grafting; Daniel Del Vecchio, MD, Jeffrey Kenkel, MD, April 2022
An investigation into the number of patients dying during and shortly after the popular but dangerous surgery by NBC 6 South Florida helped prompt studies that in turn promoted the recent order.
The order also requires that surgeons performing the Brazilian butt lift use ultrasound while doing so, in order to provide surgeons a better view of what part of the buttocks they are actually injecting the fat into.
Of all U.S. states, Florida has the highest fatality rate for BBL surgery. NBC 6 South Florida found that 19 women have died after BBL surgery in the area within the last five years. Eight of these women died last year in 2021, after a fat embolism.
The two most common causes of death during a Brazilian butt lift are:
- Punctured organs: Inexperienced surgeons doing liposuction may unknowingly puncture a patient’s organs while doing the liposuction portion of the BBL procedure. The fat required for a BBL often comes from the abdomen, leading to punctures in the vital organs in this area. (This was the cause of death for a mother who died in Spain earlier this year after spending a month in the hospital with injuries that looked “like she’d been in a knife fight” after the surgery.)
- Fat embolism: The second part of a BBL surgery consists of injecting the harvested fat into the buttocks. When done wrong, the harvested fat can be incorrectly injected into the muscles of the buttocks, where it then enters the bloodstream and creates a pulmonary embolism, with fat reaching the heart or lungs.
Investigators and medical personnel believe that surgeon fatigue may have been a contributing factor in the death of a 33-year-old Brazilian butt lift patient who died in summer of 2021.
The surgeon involved in her death had started operating that day at 6:32 am, before beginning the now-deceased patient’s BBL surgery more than 12 hours later at 8:31 pm.
That patient was also the surgeon’s seventh patient for the day.
The order limiting BBL surgeries to no more than three per surgeon per day aims to prevent such surgeon fatigue.
The state is a popular destination for plastic surgery “tourists” from within the United States, many of whom want cheaper prices but wish to avoid leaving the States entirely, to a country like Mexico, Brazil, or Turkey.
“[It] should be a national standard established by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery,” he says.