Dr. Michael Salzhauer, aka Dr. Miami, is one of the most sought-after plastic surgeons in the nation who has amassed more than 1 million followers on social media since he started showing tidbits of live surgical procedures on Snapchat.
As a nationally known expert specializing in the Brazilian butt lift, not only does Salzhauer pride himself on his zero-fatality rate, but he also felt it necessary to help establish the World Association of Gluteal Surgeons (WAGS, for short) to educate other doctors about the safest ways to perform the procedure, which is among the most popular and the most dangerous cosmetic surgeries.
Rolling out recently spoke to Dr. Miami his work inside and outside the operating room.
How did the Brazilian butt lift become the most dangerous elective plastic surgery?
It’s a little bit controversial, but about two years ago, a survey was sent out all over the world asking surgeons how many deaths they had. Only 14 percent of the surgeons responded back. Of the 14 percent, they showed based on that estimate it could have been as high as 1 in 3,500 on the high end based on the survey.
So when that was published in the Plastic Surgery Journal publication, that sent out alarm bells to the rest of the cosmetic surgeons. So the cosmetic community started studying, and [if there were] any deaths from BBL, they ended up doing an autopsy on it. Based on the numbers, it would make it the most dangerous elective cosmetic procedure on the planet … outside of geriatric surgery.
Every cosmetic surgery has risks. Tummy tuck, 1 in 15,000 to 20,000; liposuction, 1 in 30,000; facelift, 1 in 25,000; so to say 1 in 3,500 would make it the most dangerous.
According to the autopsies performed, what went wrong that resulted in patients’ deaths?
Turns out that if you inject the fat too deep, i.e. not under the skin but rather into the muscle, it can potentially send the fat into the veins. Surgeons, please do not inject directly into the muscle regardless [of] how you were taught. There are very big veins underneath the muscle in the butt. The fat can travel from those veins all the way to the heart and lungs. That was the tragedy that caused the deaths of those 13 to 14 women [in the survey???]. Bottom line: the fat got injected into the wrong place.
Why the decision to start the World Association of Gluteal Surgeons?
Two purposes: 1) to educate surgeons and make as big as a change as possible and get the message to them [to] not use a technique that’s dangerous; [and] 2) the cannulas, which is the tubes we used to inject the fat, if it’s sharp, it can easily go to an artery or vein and inject fat where it should not be. The tip needs to be blunt, not sharp. At the same time, be an educated patient, ask questions, pressure the surgeon to find out if safe techniques are taking place.
Follow @therealdrmiami on Instagram.