Plastic Surgeons Reveal Why Some People "Almost Die" During Plastic Surgery

What went wrong with Cardi B's leaky butt injections and Heidi Pratt's near-death experience?

In recent months, a handful of celebs have dished on plastic surgery procedures that nearly killed them, and people are justifiably shook.

For example, Cardi B told GQ about an illegal $800 butt enhancement she had done in a Queens basement that she described as “the craziest pain ever” and caused her to leak fluid from the injection site for nearly a week. And reality star Heidi Pratt — who famously underwent 10 procedures in a single day — revealed that she “died for a minute” following the surgery marathon. “Spencer thought he lost me,” she told E! News in an April 2018 interview in which she shared her regrets. “My security guards called Spencer and told him, 'Heidi's heart stopped. She's not going to make it.'”

We reached out to a handful of plastic surgeons to have them dish on the primary causes of botched procedures, and to have them share advice that’ll ensure you don’t end up in a precarious, potentially life-threatening situation.

Only Use Board-Certified Professionals

“Where we typically see the highest risks in cosmetic procedures is when patients go to unqualified doctors,” said board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Barrett, who owns Beverly Hills’ Barrett Plastic Surgery. “While there are risks in everything plastic surgeons do on a daily basis, board-certified plastic surgeons are held to the highest standards of training and education that unaccredited plastic surgeons are not.”

Not only are you dramatically less likely to experience a botched surgery or, heaven forbid, death, in the first place, board-certified facilities are better equipped at handling complications if they do arise. They are trained and tested over a multitude of potential issues, including excessive bleeding, fat embolization, blood flow issues, and respiratory problems. They are also required to perform their surgeries in a fully certified and accredited outpatient facility or in a hospital, so you know you’ll be in a clean environment.

Keep in mind that there are two primary components to plastic surgery: the anesthesia, and the surgery itself. With that said, it’s important to seek a facility that only uses board-certified anesthesiologists, as well.

“Anesthesia or sedation should [also] be administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist, and your heart and lungs should be continuously monitored,” noted Dr. Matthew Schulman, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in NYC. “It is rare, but possible, for someone to have an allergic reaction to anesthesia.”

By working with a board-certified, fully-qualified anesthesiologist and surgeon, you are in much better hands from start to finish.

Go to a Facility That Specializes in What You Want

If you want car advice, you don’t go to a computer salesperson. If you want an exquisite cake, you don’t go to a mixologist. The same premise is true when choosing a plastic surgeon.  

“You want to make sure that your surgeon is well experienced in the specific procedures that you are seeking,” noted Dr. Schulman. “This will help to minimize the chance of a complication.”

Dr. Barrett agreed, adding, “It is very important that your doctor specializes in the procedure you're looking to have done. If you're looking to have a breast augmentation done, find the surgeon that specializes in breast augmentations and does these procedures often.”

Listen if the Surgeon Tells You No

Dr. Schulman said that any respectable plastic surgeon says "no" to potential patients several times a day. If you hear those words, there’s a very well-thought out reason why, so listen.

“I routinely turn away about 25% of the patients who come to see me for a consultation because they have medical issues that would place them at unnecessary risk during an elective cosmetic procedure,” noted Dr. Schulman.

Double board-certified celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr. Wright A. Jones, agreed.

He said, “There is an extremely intricate mental algorithm that we go through to determine risks of surgery in those with medical problems or advanced age. I turn away patients every day due to safety concerns or inappropriate expectations. We try to screen to patients out before coming to the office to prevent them from wasting their time.”

Being turned away is understandably frustrating, and it can be tempting to circumvent a “no” by going to a non-certified surgeon. However, doing so is extremely risky for the reasons outlined above.

“I did see one patient who desired a plastic surgery procedure. I was concerned about some medical issues that she had and declined to operate on her. She returned multiple times to the office requesting to have surgery, and each time I explained the potential risks, and continued to say no,” Dr. Schulman recalled. “She subsequently found another surgeon willing to operate on her. They either failed to obtain the appropriate pre-operative medical test and were unaware of her medical issues, or perhaps they were aware but went ahead with the surgery anyway. As I feared, she suffered serious complications after the surgery and required multiple reconstructive procedures and several months in the hospital.”

Follow Post-Surgery Protocol and Stay Alert

Even in the case of well-practiced medicine, there are always potential risks. Every body is unique and when you introduce chemicals, molecules and unstable compounds, complications can be unpredictable, noted Dr. Barrett.

“We always educate our patients on what reactions and symptoms are and aren't normal following their procedure and urge them to contact us immediately should they experience any out-of-the ordinary complications,” he said.

It’s also important to schedule and attend your follow-up so your doctor can see how you’re healing and ensure you have the best outcome.

Bottom Line

It’s incredibly important to choose a board-certified surgeon and anesthesiologist who specializes in your procedure, to be transparent with your medical history and concerns, and to ask any and all questions you might have before hitting the surgery table. Listen to your doctor, and whatever you do, do not get butt injections — or even a drop of Botox — from someone who operates out of a shady Queens basement.  


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