Florida Tackles Troubled BBL History With New Plastic Surgery Laws

Florida Tackles Troubled BBL History With New Plastic Surgery Laws featured image
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In a move to help maintain patient safety in the land of Brazilian Butt Lifts, Florida has enacted new regulations around Brazilian Butt Lifts. The new law, HB 1561, introduces certain protections designed to uphold medical standards and safety at surgery centers in the state.

Florida has a troubling history with BBLs gone wrong. From 2010 to 2022, pulmonary fat embolism caused 25 BBL-related deaths in South Florida. Alarmingly, 14 of these deaths occurred after 2018, despite the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation issuing guidelines to avoid injecting fat into the muscle. This technique helps to prevent fat embolism. Additionally, the Florida Board of Medicine introduced a “subcutaneous-only injection” rule in 2019 to enhance patient safety. Last year, regulations limited how many BBLs surgeons could perform daily. They now must also use ultrasound technology during the procedure to increase patient safety. This new regulation aims to protect patients further by holding surgeons and practices financially accountable.

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New Regulations Surrounding Fat Transfers

Under the new legislation, doctors performing liposuction involving more than 1,000 cc of supernatant fat—temporarily or permanently—are now required to register with the Florida Department of Health. This is a change from previous requirements which only mandated registration for procedures involving permanent fat removal.

What this means is doctors must now register their offices even if the liposuction involves removing more than 1,000 cc of fat temporarily. This includes if the fat might be reinjected into another part of the body, such as in a BBL.

Bigger Financial Penalties for Doctors 

The law also imposes fees of $5,000 per procedure on surgeons exceeding the 1,000 cc threshold in unregistered office surgery centers. This is a significant change from the previous penalty structure, which capped fines at $5,000 per day for non-compliant practices. By instituting a per-procedure fine, the legislation intensifies the financial consequences for medical practices that fail to comply with registration requirements.

Liability Coverage for Brazilian Butt Lifts

The legislation also mandates that BBL surgeons must carry liability coverage of at least $250,000 per claim and $750,000 annually. They must also maintain an irrevocable letter of credit for the same amounts. This requirement aims to ensure financial recourse for patients in cases of medical malpractice.

More Responsibility for Surgical Centers

The law also extends financial responsibility requirements to office surgery centers where gluteal fat grafting procedures are performed. This eliminates the possibility for centers to operate without adequate coverage.

Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD says the new rules will help weed out some bad apples. “This is a good idea for re-establishing patient safety relative to gluteal fat transfer. While it may encumber many good plastic surgeons already following safe best practices, the reality is the absence of consequences for practitioners ignoring patient safety has been too lethal for too long,” he says. “This unacceptable minority of surgeons, most of whom are not even formally trained in plastic surgery, must be controlled on some level. This is the start of that control.”

“The new Florida laws help to protect legitimate united states board-certified plastic surgeons practicing plastic surgery and their patients,” adds Delray Beach, FL plastic surgeon Drew Schnitt, MD of Inspire Aesthetics. “Our practices have always had registered surgery facilities, carried liability insurance for both the physicians and the facility and we use ultrasound guidance for gluteal fat grafting. We do everything to the highest standards of care and we feel that every plastic surgery center should be held to the same standards.”

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