Facial fillers are among the most sought-after procedures, and have recently become an in-demand procedure given the state of the economy. Cosmetic surgeons typically turn to hyaluronic acid fillers to plump up fine lines and wrinkles, and create a more youthful appearance, but some prefer to use collagen.
Injecting a patient’s own fat into other parts of the body is less common, but is still a practice undertaken by cosmetic surgeons around the globe. However, this procedure poses several risks and may even lead to death.
Rachel Soanes of Norwich, England died recently after having fat injected into her face to correct the effects of lupus. The fat from the injection migrated to her lungs, and she fell ill shortly after her procedure. She complained of dizziness and nausea, and reportedly could not breathe properly.
Miss Soanes had received the same procedure twice before with no complications and side effects, and her death came as a complete shock to the doctors that treated her, and her family.
In this case, the fat injections were not for cosmetic purposes, but primarily for replacing the fat she had lost as the result of her disease. The fat was extracted from her buttocks and injected into several facial compartments so that her face would appear more balanced. Unfortunately, this procedure had a tragic ending.
The coroner’s report indicates that Miss Soanes died of ‘fat tissue embolism’, a condition where the fat injected into a vein travels to the lungs and then causes an artery blockage. Respiratory failure is what caused her death, and there was nothing that could be done to get the fat out of her lungs after she began feeling the effects of a lack of oxygen.
This has been the first ever documented case of death after a fat injection.