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Safety Comparison of Abdominoplasty and Brazilian Butt Lift: What the Literature Tells Us.

BACKGROUND: Although abdominoplasty is a mainstay of the plastic surgeon, the safety of the Brazilian butt lift (BBL) has been questioned, effectively being prohibited in some countries. The central rationale for the safety concern over the BBL stems from a publication stating a mortality rate of one in 3000. The question remains: What is the real safety of these procedures?

METHODS: Focusing on mortality, literature searches were performed for BBL and for abdominoplasty. The 2017 Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation survey data and publication were examined and analyzed. Additional data from the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities were obtained independently.

RESULTS: Abdominoplasty and BBL appear to have similar safety based on mortality; however, the nature of their mortalities is different. Although most abdominoplasty deaths are secondary to deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolism-inherent circulatory thrombotic abnormality-BBL mortality is associated with iatrogenic pulmonary fat embolism. BBL mortality rates from more recent surveys on BBL safety demonstrate a mortality of one in 15,000.

CONCLUSIONS: Although deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolism will always remain an abdominoplasty risk, intraoperative BBL pulmonary fat embolism has the potential to be reduced dramatically with a better understanding of dynamic anatomy, surgical instrumentation, and technique. The authors are now presented with a better lens with which to view a more accurate safety profile of BBL surgery, including its place among other commonly performed aesthetic procedures.

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