I-Team: Popular plastic surgery comes with serious risks

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Brazilian butt lift is gaining popularity. It is also the most dangerous kind of cosmetic surgery.

The I-Team takes a closer look at why doctors warn against the procedure and how two Las Vegas valley families are affected.

Doctor John Brosious is a plastic surgeon.

“Sometimes they call the office specifically requesting, ‘Do you do the Nikki Minaj butt?’ or ‘Do you do JLO booty?'” Doctor Brosious said.

As an assistant professor with UNLV School of Medicine, he mainly works at University Medical Center helping trauma, burn, and cancer patients. But he also performs cosmetic surgery and occasionally does the Brazilian butt lift.

“I have a very realistic talk with my patients and the risks of fatal complications are often discussed in the procedures that have a higher chance of that,” he said.

In July of 2018, a task force of medical societies issued an urgent warning about Brazilian butt lifts. The risk of death is at least one in 3,000 making it the most dangerous type of cosmetic surgery. But it’s still popular.

“It is one of the fastest growing procedures in cosmetic surgery so we do see more and more requests for this procedure every day despite that the risks are becoming more and more obvious and more common,” Brosious said.

He explains how the procedure is done.

“We do liposuction to anywhere we can find fat on the body and then we separate out the fat and reinject the fat into the buttock,” Brosious said. “Because it’s a fat graft meaning that it becomes revascularized, your body grows into it.”

But he calls it a relatively blind procedure, meaning no large incision is made. The doctor can’t see where he or she is injecting the fat.

“We are injecting large volumes of fat potentially near large blood vessels with the possibility of that fat traveling through the blood stream to the heart and lungs and killing the patient,” Brosious said.

That’s how Paige Hazelton died. According to the Clark County Coroner, the injected fat travelled to her lungs.

“We didn’t know it was this dangerous,” said Heather Hazelton, Paige’s sister.

“You know we’re here because we want to get that word out,” said Deborah Mann, Paige’s aunt. “That’s why we are here today. You know, Paige died one year ago today.”

The 30-year-old woman went in for the surgery in March of 2018, just months before the international warning. Paige’s aunt and sister sat down with the I-team on the one year anniversary of her death to share a message through their pain.

“Definitely do not risk your life doing this,” Hazelton said. “It’s not worth it to ever risk your life for this surgery.”

Paige leaves behind two little boys.

“We don’t want another young family, young children to be without a mother,” Mann said. “You know anything we can do, we hope save somebody else’s life in Paige’s name. We want that very much.”

Paige Hazelton’s family is suing the Las Vegas physician who performed the surgery. And it turns out, this isn’t the first lawsuit like this that physician has faced.

Tonight at 11 p.m., The I-Team continues this exclusive coverage.

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