Death: The Real BBL Effect

By Alex Gryciuk

Commonly known as a BBL, a Brazilian Butt Lift creates butt augmentation by taking fat from unwanted areas of the body with liposuction and transferring it to another area. Often, fat is transferred to the buttocks with the intent to smooth, lift or increase size in that area. The once uncommon surgery slowly becomes a routine  procedure with the aid of Tik Tok. Fueled by sassy, comedic POV’s and real patients, #BBL takes Tik Tok by storm with 2.5 billion views. On the comical  side of Tik Tok, accounts create videos mocking the superficial, attention seeking behavior of those who receive a #BBL. Pouting lips and drawing attention to their butt, Tik Tokers captivate audiences with laughter. On the opposite spectrum, real recipients document their surgical procedure, recovery, and results; very seriously showing audiences what it’s like to get a #BBL. Contradicting comedic and educational videos inevitably create the same outcome: higher rates of dangerous Brazilian Butt Lift procedures performed.

 Increased popularity leads to surges in butt augmentation surgeries performed. From 2015 to 2019, when the #BBL trend first started gaining traction, surgeries performed increased by 90.3%. A direct result of a popular trend on Tik Tok, more and more people go under the knife, thus increasingly endangering lives. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, “despite the growing popularity, … significantly higher mortality rates appear to be associated with gluteal fat grafting than with any other aesthetic surgical procedure.”. In fact, #BBLs result in an estimated high of 1 in 3,000 deaths from complications, a rate 10 times higher than any cosmetic surgery. With any fat transfer, possible side effects could result in a death of fat tissue, fat embolisms (blood vessel blockage from fat), scars, excessive bleeding, just to name a few. However, pulmonary embolisms (blood vessel blockages in the lungs) set the #BBL apart from all other fat grafts. Inside the buttocks, a main artery could be injected with fat, causing a fatal blockage in the lungs. Mortality rates from the #BBL provide staggering evidence to Tik Tok viewers that the serious #BBL surgery causes tragic outcomes. 

Rather than shocking statistics, the steep prices prevent most  from getting a #BBL surgery. However, patients who want the surgery without the large medical bills resort to risky surgery abroad. In the United States and most other European countries, patients expect a bill of at least $9,600 for a #BBL. As a way around medical costs, patients turn to  “medical tourism”,flying to other countries for procedures. According to a blog, a cheaper #BBL from experienced surgeons can be found in Turkey. Compared to $9,600 in the US or European countries, “a Brazilian lift typically costs roughly $3000 in Turkey.” As a result of thousands in savings, many flock to foreign countries for a #BBL. Though sometimes in foreign countries medical professionals provide adequate care to patients, in most cases, foreign surgeries result in terrible consequences. Plastic Surgeon Jeffrey Kenkel M.D. explains that he cared for “patients who had complications from plastic surgery abroad or received inadequate post surgical care.” Further elaborating, the board certified surgeon states that most patients did not receive adequate check ups or follow-up instructions after surgery abroad. Infections from “vastly different standards in other countries for training and accreditation” result in possible open incisions and serious infections. Furthermore, treatment from complications upon return could result in massive bills “because [the surgery] was an elective cosmetic procedure that you paid for out of pocket.” As more popularity attributes to #BBL’s, more and more viewers will choose cheaper, riskier surgery paths that lead to more serious and possibly life treating effects.

In all, one of the most dangerous Tik Tok trends, #BBL, creates an admiration for a dangerous procedure. With the highest mortality rate for cosmetic surgeries in the UK, US, and European countries, Brazilian Butt Lifts provide a scary outlet to achieving an almost impossible hourglass figure. Furthermore, steep prices lead many to foreign countries, thus creating an even higher mortality rate from this cosmetic surgery. Truthfully, #BBL from Tik Tok shifts the idea that Brazilian Butt Lifts are dangerous and fatal to a culture where the surgery is admired by most. Tik Tok’s real #BBL effect from the trend leads clueless viewers to tragically lose their life to a non-essential procedure to make their butt bigger.