I’ve been spending a lot of time at my hospital working during my summer. Pretty much every day of my month’s annual leave I was working as a healthcare assistant within the surgical wards of my trust. Here, I saw an increase in patients coming for treatment following surgery carried out abroad, mainly in Turkey, unfortunately.
The procedure du jour? The Brazillian Butt Lift. It sounds exactly as it is, essentially fat is transferred from one area of the body to the buttocks so people can get that Photoshopped Kim Kardashian look. And due to surgery being more costly in the UK, many are travelling to foreign climes to get their fix. Unfortunately, this comes with serious risks, and I’ve seen first-hand just how devastating this new, poorly-researched procedure is. Necrosis and infection, as well as death of the patient (currently it stands at a 1:3000 chance), are all things I’ve witnessed in the past three months. And the pain patients endure alone should be enough to question how this procedure is regulated.
In fact, figures showing the cost to the NHS released at the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) Annual Scientific Meeting, has been enough for them to release guidance for all surgeons suggesting they refuse to carry out this specific surgery until further research has been completed as to its safety and efficacy.
Many patients travelling overseas seem to be targeted by aggressive web and social media campaigns, which use emotional sway to pressure a patient into booking their procedure. Some patients I encountered said they went abroad as they were refused surgery in private clinics here as they were smokers, or because their BMI made the risk of complications increase dramatically. In some cases, the BAAPS reported patients who would be refused surgery due to psychological issues such as body dysmorphia are being accepted for treatment. This isn’t only dangerous for the patient, but irresponsible to say the least.
While their choice to seek surgery is none of my concern, figures released today show that one instance of complications, such as necrotising fasciitis which is a flesh-eating infection, can cost the NHS anywhere between £24,000-60,000 per patient.
If you’ve been envying the bubble butt Instagram ‘models’ are touting, do your research. Apps are readily available to make bums and boobs look bigger while reducing waist and leg sizes. Tricks of the camera, subtle poses and flattering angles give off an impression of perfection that’s rarely there all the time. And forget blatantly Photoshopped images of reality stars – there’s nothing real about them.
I hope this trend of surgery ends soon, but I know by my next shift I’ll see more women dealing with the harsh effects of damaging surgery. Do your research, and remember that online, everything is smoke and mirrors. Because trust me, that surgery isn’t pleasant when the doctor’s ordered you not to sit on your bum for three months.