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Botched Brazilian bum lifts inspired by 'curvy' celebrities such as Kim Kardashian are costing the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds to put right, as it emerged a second woman had died from the procedure.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) has advised its members to stop performing the cosmetic operation until more information about its safety is known.
Leah Cambridge, a 29-year-old mother of three from Leeds, died in August after undergoing the procedure in Turkey, and it has now been reported that a second British woman in her late 20s has also lost her life during an operation.
The surgery, which involves fat being taken from a part of the body and injected into the buttocks, has been made popular by celebrities promoting a curvier figure, the organisation said.
But a study at St Barts in London showed that the number of patients needing treatment following poor operations had risen six-fold since 2013, and had cost the hospital £63,000 over the past five years.
Complications from buttock enhancement include severe bacterial infections such as MRSA, tissue death, scarring, wound ruptures and abscesses.
Although figures are not available because so many operations are carried out privately, experts estimate that hundreds of British women are having bum lifts each year, often at clinics abroad in Turkey, Poland and the US.
Junior doctor Mohammed Farid, who conducted the study said: “As a trainee, it’s been staggering to see the lengths – and the damage – these patients will go through in the quest for cheaper options. Especially for the kind of surgery which requires such specialist training.
“I remember in one procedure, we found a piece of Latex which had been left inside the patient’s buttock.
“This was one of the most shocking moments in my career, and the one that inspired me to conduct the study.”
The surgery also carries a risk that fat injected into large veins can travel to the heart or brain, leading to severe illness of death and has the highest death rate of all cosmetic surgery procedures, at an estimated one-in-3,000 operations internationally.
In 2014, 24-year-old British woman Joy Williams died following buttock augmentation surgery in Thailand after her wounds became infected. Three years before, 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi, from Hackney, east London, died from the procedure in an American hotel.
Mary O'Brien, an NHS consultant plastic surgeon at the Royal Derby Hospital, said:
"The problem is this is high-volume fat.
"And if that fat ends up in a large vessel or a vein that you are going to have in the buttock area, it can get carried to the heart and to the lungs, and that's what causes the fatality.
"One of the real problems that we face is people are drawn in to jumping on a plane for sun, sea, sand and surgery, and if it all goes well they come back on the plane.
"But then where's their surgeon if things go wrong back home? And if they have a complication out there, they can't get back to this country."
Ms O'Brien, a Baaps council member, urged anyone considering the procedure to consider the possible risk to their health and the long-term effects of the surgery.
"We've seen this with breast implants - the fashions change - and what governs those fashions? It's social media, it is a celebrity culture,” she added.
"You just have to be so careful that you tailor your surgery to that individual patient, and it's not just a quick-fix. It takes a lot of time discussion to get it right."