Chattanooga surgeons join reality star 'Dr. Miami' in efforts to make new trending surgical procedure more safe
Some surgeons in Chattanooga are trying to change the stigma around procedures like the newly trending "Brazilian Butt Lift".
They're working alongside world-renowned surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer, better known as 'Dr. Miami', to do it.
"This is a procedure that can be so benign or can be so fatal, unfortunately, for some people if they're not trained and doing it properly," Dr. Chad Deal told Channel 3.
About one in 3500 people die each year as a result of the procedure.
"Year over year it's the fastest growing procedure probably in the history of plastic surgery," Dr. Salzhauer said.
The Brazilian Butt Lift has been heavily popularized by celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
"It's basically transferring fat from certain areas of the body to the other," Deal explained.
Salzhauer, a surgeon turned reality tv star, is one of the leading doctors performing the procedure routinely on patients--big names and small.
"There really has not been enough of a push for education and scientific research to develop and know about the safest ways to do it," he said.
He recently started the "World Association of Gluteal Surgeons" also known as WAGS.
It's an organization with hundreds of members, according to Salzhauer, including Chattanooga surgeon Dr. Chad Deal.
"The group is focused on not just the efficacy, providing consistently good results, but most importantly the safety of the procedure," Deal said.
Both doctors say just like any other surgery, there is always a chance for complications. But unsafe practices increase those chances drastically.
"When you inject deep into the muscle, yeah, you'll sometimes get a better result because you'll get more of the fat to live, but at the same time, there are very dangerous veins that you can inject into," Deal explained.
The end result of injecting fat into a dangerous vein is a condition called a fat embolism, which according to Salzhauer, leads to death about 98 % of the time.
Both he and Deal say they hope by spreading awareness and education to other surgeons through WAGS, they can begin to turn those statistics around.
"What we need to do is make sure that if people are going to have these operations, make sure the surgeons know what they're doing and make sure the patients know what questions to ask so they can have a happy and safe result."
Deal told Channel 3 the procedure is highly specialized, which is why most medical students don't learn how to do it in school or during their rotations.