A woman died in Florida after undergoing a Brazilian butt lift procedure. What happened and how the life of the mother-of-two fell to a tragic ending represent the rising death cases associated with cosmetic surgeries.
Heather Meadows, 29, traveled from West Virginia to Hialeah, particularly at Encore Plastic Surgery Clinic, to have a cosmetic surgery that involves extracting fat from the torso and injecting it into the buttocks.
Meadows died on May 12 after being rushed from the clinic to Larkin Community Hospital's Palm Springs campus emergency department.
Medical Results: Fat Embolism Syndrome
Medical investigators reported that complications due to fat transfer may have contributed to the death of Meadows.
The specific complication in focus is fat embolism syndrome, wherein fat particles enter the bloodstream and clog the pathway of blood flow.
Fat embolism syndrome may also occur following a bone fracture or bone surgery, after which the bone marrow is at risk of breaking, thus making it possible for the components to enter the bloodstream.
Fat embolism syndrome is rare, but there have been cases of women in Florida who have died because of the same surgical procedure Meadows had.
Brazilian butt lift started to rise in popularity in 2013, when the rate of people undergoing the procedure increased by 16 percent. During that year, the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) reported that such surgical cases performed reached almost 10,000.
It was also in 2013 when another case of a woman who suffered from fat embolism syndrome was documented after she had Brazilian butt lift in an Encore-affiliated clinic.
The Florida Department of Health is now in the process of investigating the case, reports the Hialeah Police Department. However, health department spokesperson Mara Gambineri cannot release official statements yet as they do not disclose information until after 10 days of potential cause-finding efforts.
"The department is vigilant in its efforts to ensure the public is protected from unsafe or unscrupulous health care practice," she says.