SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) — It’s the cosmetic surgery that not only comes with a hefty price tag but a high mortality rate.

The risk so high, a task force was formed and a global warning was issued. 

The origin of how the Brazilian Butt Lift got its name is not known, but surgeons say perhaps, it’s because Brazilian women are known for their voluptuous backside.

Whatever the case, it’s the elective procedure, that has risen in popularity and so has the death rate. 

It’s the backside some people desire. Celebrities creating the high demand. For some, lifting your rear-end can be the beginning of your nightmare.

“It has affected my life to the point I want to commit suicide,” said one patient from Florida. 
A patient from Florida, who we will not identify, was at rock bottom, after trying to improve her bum.

“What kills me the most is I risked my life, I can’t believe I actually risked my life,” she said. 

Dr. Renato Saltz, “We have learned the increased mortality risk and complications of fat injections to the buttocks,” said Dr. Renato Saltz, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Utah and the President of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 

Dr. Saltz helped form the global task force that brought the urgent warning about the downside to the butt lift surgery. The high mortality rate is roughly one in 3,000.

“Which makes fat injections to the buttocks the highest mortality in any aesthetic procedure,” said Dr. Saltz. 

Dr. Saltz says when fat is injected in large volumes, in large areas, and too deep it can travel to the lungs and heart, causing immediate death.

He says fat should never be placed in the muscle which is easy to do.  
ABC4 News talked with one patient, we’ll call Jane, who did her homework. She interviewed three doctors before deciding on Dr. Saltz, who will be performing a mommy makeover with a butt lift at Park City Hospital.

 “We’re doing liposuction to her back and using some of that fat and injecting a small amount of fat to her buttocks to accentuate her contouring,” said Dr. Saltz. 

“You have to be as a patient, think about what you are doing, make good choices, because this isn’t a game,” said Jane. 

In between surgeries, Dr. Saltz is busy educating other plastic surgeons. He traveled to Porte Legre, Brazil, last month. ABC4 talked with him via Skype. He says he feels it’s his responsibility to spread the message and help develop guidelines for safe practices.

“Fat injections in the buttocks if not done properly can kill. In fact, it has killed many patients all over the world, not just the U.S.,” said Dr. Saltz. 

Dr. Saltz says you must go to a board certified plastic surgeon.

Chaitanya, a patient from Rock Springs, Wyoming, got a fat transfer procedure and says she did her homework before deciding on her doctor.

“I feel people are either not doing their research, going to places less expensive. People who take that route, I feel, they’re paying a price,” said Chaitanya.
Paying the price is what this Florida woman went through when she agreed to improve her derriere at a cheaper price.

“I knew better, it’s just that she sounded so convincing,” said the Florida patient.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there’s been an uptick in butt lifts. Dr. Saltz says Utah ranks top 5 in plastic surgery overall.

‘We’re coming down to some very important guidelines to educate colleagues worldwide to prevent these horrible tragedies. If we can save one life, it’s already a great, great thing,” said Dr. Saltz. 

Dr. Saltz says some plastic surgeons didn’t know what was causing the high death rate. The team had to do research and studies on cadavers and simulate surgeries to understand how the fat migrated through the blood vessels.