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Brazilian Butt Lift-Associated Mortality: The South Florida Experience.

Aesthetic Surgery Journal 2023 Februrary 4
BACKGROUND: Brazilian butt lift (BBL) surgery has been the fastest growing aesthetic surgical procedure over the past decade. By 2017, the risk of death from pulmonary fat (PFE) was identified, earning the BBL the highest mortality rate of any aesthetic surgical procedure. South Florida carries the highest BBL mortality by far in the nation.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to explore the factors involved in making South Florida an outlier in terms of BBL mortality.

METHODS: The anatomic findings of the gluteal dissections from 11 post-BBL surgery autopsies (22 hemibuttocks) were assessed for commonalities. The public records of patients who died from BBL-related fat emboli were examined to determine commonalities.

RESULTS: All BBL PFE cases had fat grafts injected into the gluteal musculature in multiple different levels. Another commonality involved the location where the surgery took place, with the great majority of patients (92%) undergoing surgery at high-volume, budget clinics located in South Florida. Short surgical times of approximately 90 minutes appeared to be the norm for these cases.

CONCLUSIONS: South Florida has experienced 25 BBL-related fat emboli deaths between 2010 and 2022; however, 14 of these occurred after publication of the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation's 2018 guidelines and the 2019 Florida Board of Medicine's BBL "subcutaneous-only" rule. The working environment at the clinics, and the short surgical times for these cases, may be the most important contributors to the BBL mortality in South Florida.

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