Health, Wellness: NYC Top Doc Warns Brazilian Butt Lifts Can Be Deadly

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Plastic surgery is on the rise and a lifted derriere can contribute to a perfect beach body but isn't worth dying for, and while serious complications are rare, they can happen, and the consequences can be deadly.

If you're considering a cosmetic procedure before your first summer getaway in a post-pandemic world, it's natural to feel excited about it. But due diligence is still your best defense against potential post-op problems, cautions top New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Westreich.


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"My best advice to people is to go back to the mindset before the Zoom boom," he said in a recent interview, explaining that virtual consults have streamlined the process and tightened the timeline between concept and completion. "Make sure the process doesn't outpace your comfort level," he added. "Don't rush into something just because it's easy or convenient."

Brazilian Butt Lifts are among the most requested procedures in the world, but they come at a cost. A report by Aesthetic Surgery Journal noted a mortality rate of 1 in 3,448 in 2017. In 2019, that rate had dropped to 1 in 14,952 thanks to new recommendations.


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Other popular procedures include breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery and facelifts. Less invasive procedures like Botox injections are skyrocketing.

If you're considering any cosmetic procedure, these safety tips from Dr. Westreich can improve your chances of a better outcome:

Tip 1: Make sure any doctor you schedule through a virtual visit allows you to cancel AFTER an in-person meeting for surgery. There is no substitute for face to face. 

Tip 2: Your health doesn't belong in the bargain bin.

Tip 3: Medical tourism can be dangerous. Laws may differ; regulations may differ; problems with after care may arise.


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Tip 4: Understand informed consent. Ask for examples of not only the good outcomes but also the potential bad ones. Ask for data specific to the procedure and the doctor performing it (complication rates, death rates).

Tip 5: Surgery belongs in accredited operating rooms. Ask to see accreditation certificate (AAA, AAAA, JCAHO).

Tip 6: Make sure the board certification of a doctor makes sense for the procedure they are performing.

Tip 7: If significant issues arise after a procedure (surgery or office injection), seek a second opinion on management.


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More on Dr. Richard Westreich

Dr. Richard Westreich graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior, Neuroscience concentration in 1995 from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his medical school training at the New York University School of Medicine in 1999 with an M.D. and Honors in Cell Biology Research. Dr. Westreich then did his post-graduate training in Facial Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology at the prestigious Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

He has been selected multiple times by Castle Connolly and New York magazine as one of the top doctors in facial plastic surgery. He is an assistant professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and is on staff at Lenox Hill and Mount Sinai Hospitals. He is a faculty member and teacher at a fellowship in Facial Plastic Surgery at Mount Sinai. His private practice is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he specializes in rhinoplasty, septoplasty, secondary and reconstructive rhinoplasty, facelifts, eyelid surgery and nonsurgical procedures.

He can be seen regularly on several national news programs, including ABC, CBS, FOX and Newsmax.

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