Chinese woman dies after botched fat grafting cosmetic surgery procedure left her brain dead

Qin Chen
·2-min read

A 34-year-old woman has died following a cosmetic surgery procedure three days ago in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan.

Local authorities have arrested the surgical operator, surnamed Wang, and recommended she be charged for practising without a medical license, said local law enforcement in a statement.

The woman surnamed Li, went to Wang’s clinic on Saturday to undergo a procedure known as fat grafting where fat from her thighs would be injected into her forehead and into lines around her eyes to achieve a more youthful appearance.

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According to a friend who accompanied Li, during the procedure Li’s face turned white, her mouth went numb, and her limbs started twitching. She felt more pain as the procedure went on, the friend alleged.

Actress Gao Liu posted candid pictures of her post-surgery face on Weibo which showed a part of her nose blackened with dead flesh after horror plastic surgery. Photo:Weibo
Actress Gao Liu posted candid pictures of her post-surgery face on Weibo which showed a part of her nose blackened with dead flesh after horror plastic surgery. Photo:Weibo

When Li lost consciousness an ambulance was called. Li suffered cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and was declared brain dead in the hospital where staff attempted to keep her alive for three days before she died.

Local police visited the Hainan clinic to investigate and found the clinic has neither a business license or registration as a medical institution. The operator, Wang, also had no official certification to work as a physician.

The police found the clinic advertised various surgeries including cell collagen booster injections, hyaluronic acid injections, and various other anti-ageing treatments.

Li’s tragic case has put the spotlight once again on a cosmetic beauty industry struggling to clamp down on unqualified practitioners.

As China’s economy has become increasingly driven by consumption and service industries, people’s desire to look presentable has driven a boom for the cosmetic medicine industry.

Why plastic surgery is on the rise during pandemic

In February, the Chinese public reacted with shock and anger when Gao Lu, a Chinese actress, shared a failed plastic surgery that left her nose blackened with dead flesh on social media.

Lu said she would need follow-up operations to fix the “nightmare”, despite already having been in the hospital for two months and spent US$61,800.

More than ten million people visited cosmetic medicine clinics in 2019, a 34 per cent growth from the previous year, according to CCID Consulting. But at the same time, failed surgeries resulted in more than 20,000 cases of disfigurement, and in the most severe cases death.

According to a 2021 report released by the Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics, the industry could grow to 300 billion yuan (US$45.7 billion) within two years.

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