Florida Department of Health has taken action against a South Florida cosmetic surgery center where a mother of two died while undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), reports show.
Jaynisha “Jayla” Williams, 26, died last October after being admitted to the Best U Now cosmetic surgery center in Plantation, Florida, for a breast augmentation and BBL.
Her mother said she started to sense something was array when she noticed that all of the other patients were discharged, and Williams was still in the operating room. Then she heard a siren, NBC 6 South Florida reports.
“I was asking every hour, ‘How’s my daughter doing? How are things going?’ and they kept telling me, ‘she’s OK, everything is fine,’” Latoshia Leggett said.
The first BBLs were performed over 60 years ago by a surgeon named Dr. Ivo Pitanguy, Vox reports. However, it has only been recently that the surgery has caught on like wildfire. Since 2015, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports the amount of BBLs globally has gone up 77.6 percent. It has become the fast-growing cosmetic procedure in the world, particularly among millennials, according to CNBC.
Medical professionals are looking at body augmenting procedures with new lenses, admitting the procedures are dangerous with many life-ending risks, even when done by licensed professionals.
Doctors are now saying BBLs are a deadly epidemic plaguing American women. Over the past 30 years, in the Black community, the trend to surgically enhance one’s derriere is fueled by ideas of the perfect Coca-Cola figure and social media’s celebration of the shape.
Still, medical experts say that BBLs are the riskiest cosmetic procedure a person can have, but a recent report by The Aesthetic Society shows there was a 35 percent increase in 2021. However, some Black women say they feel pressure to go under the knife to adjust their butt-to-waist ratio.
Williams traveled more than three hours from Hillsborough County to the Best U Now cosmetic surgery center in Plantation for her surgery scheduled for her Oct. 20, 2021, surgery. Her mother flew in from California to be by her side through the process. Broward Medical Examiner’s Office reported that “the procedure was completed but she never awoke from the anesthesia.”
Leggett said the doctor and nurses finally spoke to her as Williams was being transported to a nearby hospital.
“They politely grabbed me and said, ‘your daughter is dead,”’ she said.
The medical examiner’s report lists Williams’ cause of death as undetermined. However, the Florida Health Department has now filed administrative complaints against Best U Now, its parent company, and Dr. John Edward Nees, the lead physician. The state agency claims they allowed a doctor who was not a qualified anesthesia provider to sedate the patient.
Williams’ anesthesia was administered by Dr. Millicent Muir, an OB-GYN who is restricted from practicing that specialty for an unrelated complaint, according to NBC 6. She was listed as one of the center’s “recovery” personnel on state records but was employed to administer anesthesia for patients, the health agency’s complaint reportedly says. Muir later told reporters she took some courses in anesthesiology without providing specifics.
BBL surgery is not always the procedure people think it is, said Dr. Terry Dubrow, the cohost of the docu-reality series “Botched.”
Women have to undergo multiple surgeries in a short time to achieve a certain look, Dubrow told Essence magazine.
“Fat is transferred to the buttocks. You do liposuction on one part of the body, you take the fat cells out of it and you clean it, then you inject it directly into the buttock tissue,” the renowned plastic surgeon said.
Many American women go overseas to countries without regulations, certification or licensed medical professionals, or sanitary operation rooms.
“Each year, millions of US residents participate in medical tourism. Medical tourists from the United States commonly travel to Mexico and Canada, as well as countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean” because their requirements are different from this nation, which is more regulated, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Thousands of women and men even fly to the Middle East and Asia, countries like Turkey or Thailand, to get these oftentimes caricatures of a perfect body.
The doctors also use “counterfeit medicines and lower quality medical devices may be used.”
“The problem is not only that these doctors are inadequately trained, but that operating as rogue actors there is no way to either collect their data or send them a warning about the dangers of a procedure,” Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, another board-certified plastic surgeon, said.
Teitelbaum worked to draft American BBL guidelines in 2018, but still, these perimeters are disregarded.
An August report in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal shows that South Florida is the epicenter for BBLs deaths in the country, with 25 BBL-related deaths between 2010 and 2022 alone. About 92 percent of the BBL deaths occurred at “high-volume, budget clinics,” the report shows.
BBLs, even when executed properly by qualified professionals, can take months for an individual to recover and will require someone to avoid sleeping on their back and sitting on their butts for sometimes a quarter of a year.
One risk is fat embolization, a circumstance where fat from the injection trickles into the bloodstream. This becomes dangerous because the blood can carry it from the lungs or heart, causing severe damage.
The butt is also a vital heart artery that can be damaged during the operation. If injected into the wrong area of the butt, the fat can also enter that artery, clog it up and impede the blood flow to the heart and possibly cause death, the Insider reports.
Some women might also get a seroma from the procedure, where fluid builds up underneath the site of a surgical incision and becomes infected.
Issues may also arise years after the implants are inserted, especially if they are synthetic and made with silicone. Mir warns that these kinds of surgical enhancement may erupt decades after an individual receives them.
Dr. Tansar Mir, a New York-based plastic surgeon, said the internet is playing a huge role in promoting the surgery.
“It’s an epidemic that’s actually getting worse as social media is becoming more popular,” Mir stated.
“Once the introduction of smartphones and social media came around, you get people literally in the recovery room filming themselves and posting it,” Dr. Alan Matarasso, the president of the Rhinoplasty Society and former president of the New York Regional Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, said to CNBC.
Top celebrities have also spoken out about the dangers and hope to change the obsession with going under the knife.
Singer K. Michelle went public with her removal surgery in 2017 on “The Real” talk show.
“I’ve always been curvy, it wasn’t enough. I thought I wanted to take it to the extreme,” she said.
Then, after the surgery, she started having complications, thinking it might have been an autoimmune disease like lupus.
“We discovered that my butt is so big and my legs are not holding it. People don’t talk about that,” the singer, whose real name is Kimberly Michelle Pate, said.
“Imagine if you don’t have the money to get it out. You got these butt shots and you’re in pain, but you don’t have any money to get it out of you,” she said.
Rapper Cardi B recently opened up about her removal process, going on the very platforms many young Black and brown girls search to find their doctors. The Grammy Award winner, whose real name is Belcalis Almánzar Cephus, went to her Instagram Live to reveal that she has removed 95 percent of her implants.
The Bronx musician, who uses her sexuality and her body in a lot of her marketing for her albums, said, “When it comes to BBLs if y’all want advice from me before you get your BBL done you have to make sure your blood levels are alright. If a doctor says your blood levels are too low or you have diabetes or whatever, don’t do it.”
She also said while she is not against plastic surgery, but the BBLs she warned against.
Still, doctors who advocate plastic surgery say don’t just look at celebrities and your social group for inspiration. Do it because you want to.
“These body contouring are often reflective of what’s popular in culture, and they’re not something that’s achievable on your own,” Matarasso said. “Yes, a big butt is fashionable. But you should be doing it not because your friend did it. You should be doing it for self-improvement.”