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In the Quest for Perfection, Death, and Despair

From 2009-2022 93 Americans have died because of getting cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic, according to a report from the CDC.

More than half the deaths occurred after 2018, revealing the increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery overseas. Fatal cases included liposuction and 92% of cases involved gluteal fat transfer, where fat is harvested from the patient and then injected into the buttocks, commonly known as a Brazilian butt lift.

All the patients but one who died were women around the age of 40. Most of the deaths were caused by embolisms, which are obstructions of an artery by air bubbles or blood clots. In most of the cases, multiple procedures were being done during the same surgery, congruous with the CDC-identified risk factors for cosmetic surgery.

“The findings in this report highlight the importance of considering patient and operative risk factors when determining whether to proceed with elective cosmetic surgery,” the CDC researchers wrote.

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The analysis of the report stated that a “high proportion of patients who died had risk factors for embolism, including obesity and having multiple procedures performed during the same operation.”

Due to the popularity of cosmetic surgery related deaths, the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic contacted the CDC, which investigated with the Dominican Ministry of Health.

Americans have been traveling overseas for medical procedures, known as medical tourism, due to the lower costs and wait time compared to the U.S.

Travel is not limited in the Dominican Republic, though it is a popular destination due to existing tourism, also because some Dominican doctors advertise their services in the U.S.

Complications and infections emerging from plastic surgery also occur overseas, with reports of botched surgeries that have caused irreversible damage and death.

A report published by the CDC found that 15 cases in nine states developed an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection after getting a cosmetic procedure in the same medical center in Florida.

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