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Tragic implications of Brazilian Bum Lift and Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

Tragic News

This week saw the sad story about Leah Cambridge, a Mum of three who had decided to go abroad to Turkey to have a cosmetic surgery operation called the Brazilian Bum Lift (sometimes known as Brazilian Butt Lift or BBL).

Her BBL surgery did not go to plan and Leah was only 29 when she died. Her partner of 10 years told her not to go and “how beautiful she was”. She leaves a devastated family behind.

High Risk Surgery

Due to complications during her surgery, she died whilst on the operating table despite having three heart attacks and numerous attempts to save her life. Mr Gerard Lambe has been quoted this week in the national newspapers to explain what the surgery actually involves and also the risk to the patient.

Brazilian Bum Lifts are “the highest risk operation” by far according to BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery) with a chance of 1:3000 of death following surgery.

This high-risk operation is exacerbated when patients elect to have more extreme fat transfers from their waist and thighs to their buttock area.  For large amounts of fat transfer, the fat transfers are inserted into deeper areas within the bottom so that the fat can be retained there.  However, the veins in the buttock area can sometimes be injected with the fat in error which would mean that fat is transferred via the blood which could result in a blockage in the veins leading to a possible heart attack.  Other patients have been reported to have contracted Sepsis where your body swells to copy with any infection.  Leah had three heart attacks before she was pronounced dead.  A full investigation is to follow.

Our thoughts are with the family of lovely Leah and we are doing our best to raise awareness of the dangers of this particular type of surgery.

Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

This story has highlighted the fact that some high profile Instagram Models and Influencers have promoted the practice of travelling to Turkey to have cosmetic surgery operations.  These surgeries can be a lot cheaper abroad.  However, it should be noted that you should not take your health for granted and saving a few thousand pounds to have an operation is a high-risk option.

The risk is increased because patients typically travel alone to a foreign country, see a Surgeon briefly to explain their surgery goals, stay in a foreign hospital and hotel afterward where they cannot speak the native language.  If they were to become ill, then the risk of communicating this correctly to staff at the hospital would be vastly decreased due to the language barrier.

We always say that patients should have a good aftercare plan in place after any type of surgery which involves having close friends or family around to be both emotionally and physically supportive during the recuperation process.

To further warn patients of this tragic story, Mr Lambe appeared today on ITV’s This Morning with Eamon and Ruth and Jane Park (Britain’s youngest ever lottery winner at the age of 22) who herself had gone to Turkey to have her Brazilian Bum Lift operation and had become very ill and swollen after the operation.  She had contracted Sepsis.  She was so frightened at the time when she was swelling up and couldn’t bear to look at the photographs of that horrible time even now months afterward.


We cannot stress enough that you should:-

  1. Thoroughly research the cosmetic surgery operation you are thinking about
  2. Thoroughly research the Hospital you are visiting (especially their aftercare procedures)
  3. Thoroughly research the Cosmetic Surgeon who is potentially operating on you.  Ask for reviews from past patients and how long the Surgeon has been practising for.  Are they a member of BAAPS? (The British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery). This ensures that they have been thoroughly trained in plastic surgery
  4. Have at least 2 consultations where there is no pressure to book in immediately and where you have a chance to meet your Surgeon eye to eye and ask them any questions

a  about the surgery in general
b  any specific concerns you have which are unique to you

They should reassure you emotionally as well as give you peace of mind that you are putting yourself in the hands of a skilled surgeon with your best interests at heart.

5. Take along photos of the look you are trying to achieve and also ask to see any photos of results from previous patients.

6. Talk to family and friends about the cosmetic surgery you are thinking of.  They have your best interests at heart and will give
you their honest opinion.

7. Only book in when you confident that the surgery is worth the risk to you.

8. If you have any second thoughts, what is the cancellation procedure (and charges)?

9. Arrange full aftercare for yourself and any children you may have for the full recovery period so that you do not stretch yourself
too much and can relax in bed in order to give yourself the best chance of recovery.

10. Use your intuition. If you have any doubts, do not go ahead, no matter how late in the day it is.

Doctors have warned of the dangers of travelling abroad for cosmetic procedures following the death.

Top Consultant Surgeon Gerard Lambe, a spokesperson for the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons, BAAPS, said: ‘Travelling abroad for surgery is something that BAAPS strongly disagrees with

‘You cannot be certain about the surgeons or hospital you are being treated in.

‘Crucially, you cannot be cared for to a high standard once you leave the country when you are at your most vulnerable.

‘Your health is priceless so do not for the sake of a discounted price on a procedure fee, compromise your safety.

‘We cannot stress highly enough how vital it is to only undergo surgery in a fully registered hospital with full Intensive care support.

‘A good surgeon will be able to step into emergency mode immediately and lives can be saved.

British Consultant Plastic Surgeon Gerard Lambe, Spokesman for the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), warned that butt lifts are the most dangerous cosmetic surgery and travelling abroad increases that risk.

He said: “It has the highest death rate of all procedures due to the risk of injecting fat into large veins in the buttocks that can travel to the heart or brain and cause severe illness and death.”

Plastic surgeon warns over ‘Brazilian Bum Lift’ ops, saying complications ‘like having stroke

A top UK Consultant Surgeon has warned about the dangers of potentially risky “bum lift” surgery following the death of a 29 year old mother who travelled to Turkey for an operation.

Leah Cambridge died after travelling overseas for the surgery, made famous by multiple reality TV stars.

Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Breast Surgeon, Gerard Lambe said those undergoing surgery can have complications similar to suffering a stroke.

Read more about Brazilian Bum Lift surgery

Birmingham Mail
Daily Mail
Daily Mirror
Evening Standard
Leeds Live
Sky News
The Sun
Yorkshire Post

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