Brazil cosmetic surgery risks

A UK medical tourist has died following botched buttock augmentation surgery in Brazil, highlighting the ongoing risks of unlicensed clinics to the sector.

Ronilza Johnson, a UK resident, passed away in a hospital in the Brazilian municipality of Anapolis on May 1, after undergoing buttock augmentation surgery at an unregistered clinic. She was hospitalised on March 31 after suffering complications following the surgery a week before.

Brazilian police are considering charging the surgeon Lucas Santana and medical student Thierry Cardoso for bodily injury, unauthorised practice of medicine and fraudulent misrepresentation. According to investigators, the biomedical scientist introduced himself to the customer as a doctor and told her that he would carry out the operation with the assistance of a medical student.

Johnson lived in England and was visiting her father in Brazil. She reportedly decided to undergo the procedure at the recommendation of friends in the country.

The surgeon injected her buttocks with polymethyl methacrylate. Although not prohibited, the Brazilian Society of Dermatology does not recommend its use for this procedure.

After falling ill and being taken to hospital Johnson reported the suspects to the police via telephone. She paid BRL9,000 (US$1,705) for the buttock augmentation and nose bioplasty, which the police say were all carried out illegally.

Products were also seized from the unlicensed clinic, which the health authorities closed down.