Sad tales of deaths over butt lifts
By Babatunde Ayedoju
Beauty, they say, is in the eyes of the beholder. However, it seems that the equation is gradually changing, because beauty is no longer in the eyes of the beholder alone. Individuals now define beauty for themselves.
This can be seen in the way a lot of people go under the knife to enhance their body shapes, giving rise to terminologies such as liposuction, tummy tuck, Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), cosmetic surgery and a host of other forms of body enhancement surgeries. Some do surgery supposedly to remove excess fat from their bodies (liposuction). Both men and women are in this category. Others do surgery to increase the size of certain parts of their bodies such as breasts, hips and buttocks. This is common mostly among women.
It must be noted that body enhancement procedure is not a recent phenomenon at all. According to the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, the rise of cosmetic surgery and body beautification can be traceable to the 6th century BC. There is a legend of Sushruta who is regarded as the father of plastic and cataract surgery. His legacies are plastic and cataract surgery.
Also in India, reconstructive surgeries were carried out as far back as 800 BC. Sir Harold Gillies is described as the father of modern plastic surgery who helped soldiers solve the issue of facial injuries during the first World War.
In Nigeria, cosmetic surgery began when American-Nigerian philanthropist and entrepreneur, Modupe Ozolua, in 2001 founded Body Enhancements Ltd, a cosmetic surgery company, one of the first of its kind in West Africa.
Since 2015, the number of butt lifts performed globally has grown by 77.6 percent, according to a recent survey by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
On the financial side, a website, Plasticsurgery.org says the average cost of lower body lift surgery is $7,924, (approximately N3.5 million using the official rate), according to 2020 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
While one may not be able to fault anybody for attempting to look good, the source of concern about body enhancement surgeries is the sad tales of death that arise from the procedure. Middle of last year, a lady who was identified as Crystabel reportedly died after undergoing cosmetic surgery at a health facility in Lagos. The alarm was raised on Twitter by her friend named Posha.
Posha claimed that her friend began to bleed after the surgery, but the doctor simply said that the bleeding would stop. Unfortunately, Crystabel died and the hospital still did not contact any of her family members, until some friends went there and were told that she had died.
Posha, who tweeted using her handle, @poshcupcake_1, wrote, “Now, I’m not against anybody that wants to enhance their body, but I’m against doctors that claim they have experience abroad, come down to Nigeria to kill young people.
“After the surgery, she complained of bleeding and the doctors claimed (it) is normal, it will stop. Now, this is the problem, how are you a professional plastic surgeon with experience abroad and someone you finished operating on complained about bleeding and you said (it) is normal, it will stop? Neglecting her, no care whatsoever!”
Similarly, in October last year, a Nigerian business woman simply identified as Amelia Pounds reportedly died while undergoing a body enhancement surgery in New Delhi, India. According to media reports, Amelia passed away as a result of complications during liposuction surgery that she did. An unidentified doctor in a trending video on social media was heard apologizing to her after her demise.
A lot of people criticised the deceased on social media with some saying that she used her money to buy death.
Likewise, in 2019, friends and family members of a business woman called Eno protested that the hospital in Abuja where she died during a body enhancement procedure used her picture for advertisement.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital where Eno died, she had lost too much blood during the surgery and had to be taken to an intensive care unit where she died three days after the surgery.
Still fresh in the memory of many Nigerians is the story of a prominent political figure who died in 2005 and the cause of her death was linked to complications from a cosmetic surgery she did outside the country.
According to Dr Mrs. Kemi Adebola, a sociologist from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), body enhancement surgery can be attributed to several factors, one of which is body shaming. She explained body shaming as a situation whereby people believe the opinion of others which makes them think that they do not look good.
She explained further that a lot of women feel ashame when others tell them that they are too fat or have big tummies. Consequently, they seek solutions which may be body enhancement surgery.
Adebola pointed out that cosmetic surgery becomes a preferred option for such women mostly when they believe that they can afford it. She said, “Some people think that since they have the money, they do not need to go through rigorous exercises. So they opt for body enhancement procedures.”
The seasoned sociologist also attributed the trend to low self-esteem, whereby “you don’t like yourself the way you are or accept the way God created you.”
She equally noted that a lot of women allowed themselves to be influenced and misled by the significant others, such as family members who complain about their looks. She said, “I saw a video of a woman whose husband insisted must do surgery because her breasts were sagging. The husband insisted even when the doctor advised against the surgery, saying that the heart of the woman would not be able to cope with a surgery.”
Dr Adebola suggested that people, especially women, should improve on their self-esteem, such that they would not be carried away by the opinion of others who say that they do not look good enough. She added that there is a need to develop confidence to avoid being moved by trends “as if you don’t have your own life.”
Another university don, Dr Daniel Ikuomola from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko said that body enhancement surgery is just like every other surgery that people do voluntarily and sometimes fall into the hands of quacks.
While saying that cosmetic surgery has been a common practice for long, especially among women, Dr Ikuomola attributed it to the desire to look like celebrities.
“It will be difficult to discourage people from doing it. Moreso, the percentage of people who have died of it, especially in this part of the world, is low because majority cannot even afford it, unlike in other parts of the world where it is a bit affordable,” he added.
He, however, added that people should be very careful and take into consideration the repercussions of such procedures.