Why Doing Your Research When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon Can Be a Matter of Life and Death

Advancements in cosmetic surgery make it safer and more effective all the time—but that doesn’t mean having plastic surgery is ever risk-free. Any time you’re going under the knife, there’s at least a minuscule chance that something could go wrong, also-known-as botched plastic surgery. And, if you want that chance to remain minuscule, it’s important to do your homework to learn how to avoid botched plastic surgery and find out as much as you can about the procedure and about the surgeon performing it.

Botched Plastic Surgery: The Brazilian Butt Lift

Case in point: The so-called “Brazilian butt lift” or “BBL.” This plastic surgery procedure has become increasingly popular in recent years, as celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian have made larger backsides more appealing. Yet according to the research, this is actually the most dangerous of all cosmetic procedures, with a mortality rate of about one in 3,000.

Now, that may sound alarming. A one in 3,000 chance of dying is obviously not ideal, yet it’s important to put it in perspective. For almost any other plastic surgery procedure, the risk of death is about one in a million. That’s the first and most critical reason to do your research before choosing a cosmetic procedure: you want to make sure the method you choose isn’t an especially risky one.

A second thing to note is that what makes the Brazilian butt lift so dangerous isn’t really the surgery itself; rather, it’s the way the surgery is done. Any procedure can be dangerous when it’s done improperly. The butt lift procedure is done in an area where many major arteries are located; it’s also close to the spine. Thus, even a small error can have massive consequences. Yet, what researchers have found is that the Brazilian butt lift is being done by a lot of untrained plastic surgeons who simply aren’t qualified to do the procedure. So, when choosing the right procedure, you also want to choose the right surgeon—someone you can trust to put your safety above all else.

Note that the so-called Brazilian butt lift is really just fat grafting—meaning fat is taken from somewhere it’s not wanted and put somewhere it is. Fat grafting is something we do routinely at Charlotte Plastic Surgery, but it’s something we do correctly, with appropriate concern for overall anatomy.

Dr. Theodore Nyame also weighs in on the importance of plastic surgery safety and proper technique when performing the BBL procedure during his interview with WFAE 90.7. Read the full story, here


How To Avoid Botched Plastic Surgery: Be Wary of Unqualified Surgeons

Sadly, not all plastic surgeons set such a high standard for themselves. In fact, some really shouldn’t be doing plastic surgery at all resulting in botched plastic surgery. Take the case of Dr. Paul Drago, a licensed ear, nose, and throat specialist who began offering his patients plastic surgery.

The problem here is obvious: Dr. Drago simply doesn’t have the right experience or credentials to be performing plastic surgeries, and sadly, he made a lot of permanent surgical errors. Faced with 10 medical malpractice suits, he ultimately had his medical license revoked in the State of North Carolina.

His case highlights some of the potential risks of plastic surgery—beyond the obvious, exceedingly rare instances of mortality. Dr. Drago’s patients endured scaring, infections, nerve damage, deformities, and permanent disabilities. Those who sued him for malpractice cited both serious injury and emotional damage.

Dr. Drago’s case is sadly not unique. We could also mention Dr. Briggs Cook, the owner of Huntersville’s Pure MedSpa. Dr. Cook was reprimanded by the North Carolina Medical Board for his handling of a patient death; it was revealed that he improperly administered anesthesia and that many of his patients have received subpar care over the years.

Watch the below video to hear Dr. Nyame’s expert opinion on the importance of verifying your plastic surgeon’s credentials and how to narrow down your options when doing your research.


In the case of Dr. Briggs Cook, it is an instance of corner-cutting. In fact, here at Charlotte Plastic Surgery, our physicians have trained anesthetists administer these powerful narcotics, ensuring that everything is done rightly and safely. It’s our belief that trying to multitask on handling the anesthesia while also performing the surgery is immensely irresponsible.

The bottom line? It’s important to find surgeons who have the proper expertise and the appropriate training to perform cosmetic procedures, always putting the patient’s well-being first. As we saw with the Brazilian butt lifts, it’s usually not the procedures themselves that are innately dangerous; problems arise when these procedures are performed inappropriately.

How To Research Plastic Surgeons

But what about you? Maybe you’ve been excited about having a cosmetic procedure done, but want to be sure the provider you choose is well-qualified and you need more guidance on how to research plastic surgeons.

The first thing we would stress is that you should always have a consultation with your surgeon. During this one-on-one time, you can not only talk about your expectations for the surgery but also review any possible health concerns. Hopefully, your surgeon will ask you some questions about your medical history, ensuring you’re a good candidate for a safe procedure. And it’s also a good opportunity for you to ask some questions of your own.

As for what you might ask, we’d always recommend addressing these topics:

  • How many times has your surgeon performed the procedure in question? Remember that you always want someone with a good track record.
  • How many complications have they had? How many times have things gone wrong? Be wary of surgeons who are evasive when you ask this question.
  • Is your surgeon Board Certified? Remember, as in our Dr. Drago example, you don’t want cosmetic procedures performed by someone who isn’t licensed to do so. Specifically, you want someone who’s approved specifically by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Other certifications from other so-called boards may be bogus.
  • Finally, if it’s a procedure that will require you to receive anesthesia, ask who will be administering it—your surgeon, or a trained anesthetist.


It’s important to ask these questions—and by no means is it a formality. You could be saving your own life simply by doing a little due diligence!

Here at Charlotte Plastic Surgery, we are always happy to go over questions like these. Our top priority is maintaining patient safety—period—and we take our consultations very seriously in this regard. To schedule a discussion with one of our providers, reach out to Charlotte Plastic Surgery today.