Brazilian butt-lift surgery death of British woman, 31, prompts meeting between UK government officials and counterparts in Turkey over the dangers of cosmetic tourism
British government officials are to meet their counterparts in Turkey to discuss the dangers of cosmetic tourism after a young British woman died following a £3,200 ‘Brazilian butt lift’ at a private hospital there.
Melissa Kerr, 31, was admitted to Istanbul’s Medicana Kadikoy Hospital in 2019 and died after the procedure in which fat was harvested and injected into her buttocks.
The procedure has a mortality rate that is “at least ten times higher than many other cosmetic procedures.”
Norfolk senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said Ms Kerr, of Denton, Norfolk, was given only “limited information about the risks and mortality” associated with the operation.
The coroner wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care with her concerns following an inquest heard in September this year.
Melissa Kerr, 31, from Norfolk, was on holiday in Istanbul when she underwent the procedure
Mrs Kerr paid £3,200 for the procedure (pictured is Mrs Kerr and her partner Skye Birch)
She wrote: ‘I am concerned that patients traveling to Turkey for this procedure are not made aware of the risks and high mortality rate associated with this operation.’
Ms Lake also raised concerns that there were ‘no or limited controls in relation to such operations’.
Her concerns were addressed to then Health Secretary Steve Barclay, and a response has since been received from Maria Caulfield, Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy.
In her response this month, Ms Caulfield said: ‘My officials will soon visit Turkey to meet their colleagues.
‘The intention is to discuss the regulatory framework and protection measures for British nationals, and identify concrete areas where the British and Turkish authorities need to work together to reduce risks to patients in the future.’
She continued: ‘It is especially important that those considering undergoing the ‘Brazilian Butt Lift’ (BBL) procedure are made fully aware of the risks and have time to fully consider their decision prior to surgery.
‘As you note in the report, the risks associated with this procedure are high.
‘The risk of death with BBL surgery is at least ten times higher than many other cosmetic procedures, and it has the highest mortality rate of all cosmetic procedures.
‘As you note, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has advised its members not to perform Brazilian butt lift surgery until more is known about safer techniques for the procedure.
‘The Government is considering how we can most effectively communicate with those considering medical treatment abroad, to ensure people are better informed about the risks ahead of surgery and to understand the need to ensure appropriate aftercare, including considering when it may be safe to travel home. ‘
Ms Caulfield said she hoped her response would be “helpful in making clear how seriously the UK Government takes the issues raised in your report”.
Ms Kerr’s medical cause of death was pulmonary thromboembolism and fat embolism, due to elective cosmetic surgery
Ms Kerr, who had undergone breast enlargement surgery ten years earlier without complications, died at Medicana Kadikoy Hospital on the day of the buttock lift.
The procedure involves harvesting fat from elsewhere on the body and injecting it into the buttocks – on November 19, 2019.
In a series of WhatsApp messages between Ms Kerr and a hospital worker before the Briton traveled to Turkey, Ms Kerr arranged a cash payment of £3,200.
She asked for photos of previous patients four times, but there is no evidence these were provided.
Ms Kerr said in her messages that she was feeling ‘a bit nervous’.
In a narrative conclusion, Ms Lake said Ms Kerr died following cosmetic surgery.
She died after the injected fat entered a vein before moving and blocking her pulmonary artery, with her cause of death recorded as pulmonary thromboembolism and fat embolism, with elective cosmetic surgery secondary.