Plastic Surgery: Safer at Home

Plastic surgery as we know it has been with us for well over a century and every year it becomes safer while results improve. Even so, not all plastic surgery providers are the same and too many people are not taking enough care to ensure that their providers can provide both safety and good outcomes. Leading Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Payam Jarrah-Nejad, M.D., F.I.C.S., F.A.C.S., better known simply as Dr. J, has been advising the public for years about the dangers of seeking out cut-rate providers in other countries, where regulations may be lax or all but nonexistent. A recent case from across the Atlantic illustrates his point.

As reported in The Guardian, the United Kingdom has issued a special advisory after investigations into the tragic 2019 death of Melissa Kerr, who passed away from an embolism following a buttock augmentation procedure in Turkey. The English judiciary pointed out that the Istanbul-based physician who performed the procedure had insisted on payment in advance and failed to provide Ms. Kerr with sufficient information to understand her procedure.

It’s worse than that. A crucial detail was left out of the reporting of the incident. In the English judiciary’s “prevention of future deaths” report, UK jurists noted the following:

“Certain techniques used during the Brazilian Buttock Lift procedure increased the risk of fat embolus occurring, namely the choice of access incision for the augmentation cannula and the decision to inject fat into the superficial muscle.”

Specifically, the doctor had injected fatty tissue obtained from the patient into her gluteal muscles – either unaware or ignoring the now well-established fact that the chances of a deadly embolism greatly increase when fat is injected into gluteal muscle as part of a buttock augmentation instead of beneath the muscle tissue. This decision was most likely responsible for the death of Ms. Kerr.

Plastic Surgery Practices Worldwide

By the time of Ms. Kerr’s tragically botched Brazilian butt lift, the problem associated with injecting fat into gluteal muscle was already widely known and reputable surgeons in the US and UK had renounced the practice. It’s possible the Turkish physician was both unethical and ignorant; he may not have even known about the advisories against injecting fat into muscle. By contrast, board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States must be periodically tested to verify that their knowledge and skills are up to date.

Not all medical tourism is bad. Very affluent people may often fly to a destination to work with a particular plastic surgeon whom they have thoroughly investigated, which means greater expense largely due to travel expenses and accommodations. The problem comes when patients engage in medical tourism to save money; the truth is that trying to fix a botched procedure will be exponentially more expensive than simply going with the best plastic surgeon you can find the first time around.

One factor to keep in mind in any foreign land is that not every country has the same kind of strict regulations that are in force in the US and most Western European nations. Even South Korea, famed for its skilled and very busy plastic surgeons, has a major issue with so-called “ghost plastic surgeons.” These are doctors who perform procedures instead of the physician patients think they’re working with. There have been numerous genuine horror stories associated with the dangerous practice. While ghost surgery is illegal in South Korea, critics allege that poor enforcement is to blame. A new law is set to mandate cameras in operating rooms.

Stable Democracies Foster Safety

South Korea may well solve its problem. It has been a functioning democracy since 1987 and has become increasingly stable. Countries that may have somewhat repressive and unstable systems are typically more dangerous for patients.

Mexico is a popular medical tourism destination for Californians. It’s one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful countries with a rich cultural heritage and delicious food. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it a safe place to turn to for medical care; it’s actually not the safest country even if you’re only going to visit. Mexico has mostly been controlled by one political party and has often been labeled a kleptocracy, where corruption is woven into the fabric of daily life. Many regions of Mexico have rated US State Department travel advisories warning Americans of high rates of crime and kidnapping.

Other countries to be especially wary of include Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Turkey among others. In all the countries we’ve mentioned, corrupt practices in many fields may be allowed to continue indefinitely because journalists and whistleblowers who try to expose corruption in any field may be threatened with physical harm or even death. There is a very clear and distinct relationship between stable democracies that allow freedom of the press and public safety. Many of us complain about the US news media, but investigations of unscrupulous physicians appear regularly in our press. As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Safe Plastic Surgery in the USA

Once you’ve decided against medical tourism to save money, you still have to be careful in your choice of a doctor to perform your buttock augmentation or any other plastic surgery. The first thing you should know is that it is crucial to select a plastic surgeon. This may sound self-evident, but most people conflate cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons – they are not the same.

To become a plastic surgeon, a physician must obtain an additional two years of rigorous training after obtaining their initial medical degree. Once that is completed, the next step for the new plastic surgeon is board certification. This is a rigorous process that ensures the doctor is fully up-to-speed on the art and science of plastic surgery.

By contrast, any MD is allowed to hang out a shingle as a cosmetic surgeon and many may only take one or two additional classes to prepare. Dr. J always tells patients that they should only consider board-certified plastic surgeons. Moreover, he adds, patients should never shop on price for plastic surgery. Even if you survive a botched procedure mostly unharmed, the cost of fixing the issues will be vastly more expensive than if you had simply obtained the work of a superb plastic surgeon the first time.

Once a patient has established that a doctor has the necessary credentials, it’s time to make sure the board-certified plastic surgeon is a good fit for you when it comes to achieving the best outcome. This will typically involve looking at the doctor’s before-and-after pictures for the procedure(s) to give you an idea of what might be possible in your case. It’s also good to see how the doctor is rated by former patients on social media. If you can speak with former patients in person or on the phone, so much the better.

Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills with Dr. J

If you are looking for a plastic surgeon in the Greater Los Angeles area, this website might be an excellent place to start. Dr. J has developed a reputation as among the best of the best since he first opened his practices during the 2000s. He is double board-certified both as a plastic surgeon and a general surgeon and is widely considered one of the best plastic surgeons working in the extremely competitive climate of Beverly Hills, which plays host to many of the nation’s finest providers. He is noted both for his commitment to a patient’s well-being and his esthetic abilities.

If a butt lift is on your mind in particular then you should know that Dr. J’s refinement of the procedure, Natural Butt Lift®, has set a new standard for both safety and outstanding outcomes. He has always avoided any potentially problematic techniques and always seeks a natural look. Regarding the NBL®, Dr. J prides himself on outcomes that, as he likes to say, “look natural, feel natural, and move natural.”

He has also earned raves from delighted former patients for everything from facelifts to breast augmentation and mommy makeovers. Dr. J has earned consistent five-star ratings on social media sites like Yelp and RealSelf. If you take a look at Dr. J’s NBL® gallery, you can see examples of the outcomes that have given Dr. J a worldwide following.

To find out more about how you can Live the Dream® with Dr. J and his team of plastic surgery professionals, please call (310) 993-3800 or make an appointment online.

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