Over 93 Americans have died after cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic

Ninety-three U.S. citizens have died as a result of cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic from 2009 to 2022, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over half of the deaths occurred after 2018, reflecting the increasing popularity of overseas cosmetic surgery. The fatal cases examined involved liposuction and 92% involved gluteal fat transfer, “in which fat is harvested from the patient and then injected into the buttocks to augment the body silhouette.” This procedure is also commonly known as a Brazilian butt lift.

All but one of the Americans who died were women, and their median age was 40.

Most of the deaths investigated were caused by embolisms, or blockages in the bloodstream, either from blood clots or fat buildup. In most of the fatal cases, multiple procedures were done during the same surgery, consistent with the CDC-identified risk factors for cosmetic surgery.

“The findings in this report highlight the importance of considering patient and operative risk factors when determining whether to proceed with elective cosmetic surgery,” the CDC researchers wrote.

The analysis stated that a “high proportion of patients who died had risk factors for embolism, including obesity and having multiple procedures performed during the same operation.”

According to the report, due to the increasing prevalence of cosmetic surgery-related deaths, the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic reached out to the CDC, which then conducted an investigation in collaboration with the Dominican Ministry of Health.