London - A British mother who was self-conscious about her figure after having three children died during cosmetic surgery on her bottom in Turkey.
Leah Cambridge, 29, had paid £5 000 (about R94 000) at a clinic popular with reality TV stars for a so-called ‘Brazilian bum lift’ to provide an improved ‘hourglass figure’.
She suffered unexpected complications on the operating table and had three heart attacks, her fiance said on Wednesday.
Scott Franks, 31, said he was a ‘broken man’ after losing his beautician partner of ten years, and warned others to beware of the treatment’s risks.
He was joined by consultant surgeon Gerard Lambe, of the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons, who warned against travelling outside the UK or US for cosmetic procedures ‘as you cannot be certain about the surgeons or hospital you are being treated in’.
Miss Cambridge’s operation was carried out at the Elite Aftercare private hospital in Izmir, western Turkey, which boasts of counting Lauren Goodger and Amber Turner of ITV2 reality show The Only Way Is Essex among its clients.
The procedure involves transferring excess fat from the patient’s stomach to her bottom to augment its shape.
Mr Lambe said it has the highest death rate of all fat-injecting operations due to the number of large veins in the bottom.
"The death in Turkey of Leah Cambridge after a BBL, or 'Brazilian bum lift', has highlighted the risks of both this dangerous procedure and of travelling abroad to have cosmetic surgery," he said.
"Your health is priceless so do not, for the sake of a discounted price on a procedure fee, compromise your safety."
Miss Cambridge and Mr Franks had lived together in Leeds with their three sons, who are aged two, four and 12. Mr Franks, a scaffolding manager, said: "Leah was paranoid she had excess weight from having three kids around her stomach.
"I told her she was beautiful how she was but she really wanted it for her own confidence. I didn’t think this would ever happen or could happen to her." He travelled to Turkey earlier this week after being told of his fiancee’s death.
The family have spoken to the surgeon who carried out the operation and understand problems resulted from fat deposits entering her blood while she was under general anaesthetic.
Mr Franks said: "She was brought back to stable but had a further three heart attacks and there was nothing they could do after." He said their boys did not yet know what had happened, and believed their mother was ‘working’.
He wrote on Facebook: "Leah wanted to get married... but instead I’m going to have to plan a funeral." A full inquest is now likely to be held into Miss Cambridge’s death in the UK but British medical authorities have no power to take action against doctors abroad.
The clinic, where Celebrity Big Brother contestant Chloe Khan is said to have had its popular buttock surgery, claims it offers a ‘natural’ way to produce a ‘desirable hourglass-like shape’ without the need for implants.
It warns on its website ‘there are risks in all procedures’ but that serious complications were ‘uncommon’.
Elite Aftercare did not respond to a request for comment.