The Price of Beauty Can be Sickening

Cosmetic procedures are now as common as going to the cleaners. The pressure to maintain an impeccable appearance has progressed from a subtle nag in the mind to a hefty dent in wallets. Millions of individuals elect to have some type of enhancement performed. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has gathered that 17 million procedures were performed in the United States in 2017 and that minimally invasive procedures are up 200% since 2000. While most just have to deal with the temporary after effects, others have devastating and even deadly prices to pay.


Physical alteration that involves aesthesia is considered major surgery and carries serious risks. Very Well Health  outlines the most significant risks as being: scarring, nerve damage, infection, hematoma, blood clots, poor reactions to anesthesia and death.

The general consensus among medical providers is that plastic surgery is safe, but two procedures in particular are raising awareness for their potential dangers. Breast Augmentation became more popular as the procedure became affordable and seemingly easy to get. Recent claims of sickness among patients have called for the FDA to reevaluate regulations regarding implants. An article by The Inquirer , explains that  studies have linked saline and silicone implants to lymphoma, a type of immune system cancer and “breast implant illness”, that includes auto immune disorders and symptoms such as fatigue, pain and thinking problems.

The Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is another procedure that is sounding the alarm. The news covered incidents of eight patients who underwent surgery at clinics in Miami and died because of complications. USA Today published an opinion piece by a plastic surgeon siting why he doesn’t perform the surgery.

From 2011 to 2016, there were 25 BBL deaths among members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In 2017, a plastic surgery task force astonishingly reported that 3 percent of plastic surgeons who performed the procedure had a patient die. From 2013 to 2018, just one Florida clinic had at least eight patients die.

Last August, a task force found that BBLs had a death rate of up to 1 in 3,000, the highest from any aesthetic procedure.

Minimally invasive facial procedures are also becoming widely popular as companies funnel products to the market to promise a quick fix. Botox, soft tissue fillers and chemical peels are the most popular procedures offered by dermatologists. General risks include: acne-like eruptions, bruising, asymmetry, rash,  blindness and necrosis.  Dermal fillers have quickly become a source of contention, mainly because of unethical use and unregulated substances being injected into the face and other parts of the body by non-professionals.

The show Botched on E! features a collection of patients who received less than ideal surgeries and are in search of correction. It is an interesting look at risks when going under the knife.

The desire to improve one’s body is normal. Cosmetic enhancement is a high stakes reality that should be evaluated for the risks that it has. In the case of breast implants, the long term effects of the objects placed into the body hadn’t been studied. The safety of the products themselves is just as important as the provider. Trying to save money on expensive items is normally ideal, but this isn’t the space to cut corners. Many BBL patient died by going to unlicensed and inexperienced doctors. Researching to vet the credentials of the individual who is performing major surgery or cosmetic enhancements on your body is paramount.