A Welsh reality TV star has shared her 'horror' after undergoing a botched cosmetic procedure in Turkey.
Natalee Harris, from Cwmbran, who has appeared in reality TV shows such as MTV’s The Valleys and Ex on The Beach, travelled to Turkey for a Brazilian butt lift - also known as BBL - and woke to find herself covered in blood.
“There was blood everywhere where they hadn’t stitched me up properly. I got up and the blood was dripping all down my leg", she told ITV.
An estimated one in 3,000 people die as a result of complications from having a BBL.
The BBL, made famous by celebrities, is the deadliest type of cosmetic surgery.
The procedure, which reshapes the buttocks by transferring fat from areas including the stomach and back, has become an increasingly popular technique for achieving an hourglass figure.
BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) estimate one in 3000 die worldwide as a result of complications.
In recent months, they have also dissuaded their members from carrying out the procedure until more data is collected.
30 year-old Natalee Harris travelled to a clinic in Turkey to receive the BBL. But when she woke after the surgery, she was horrified by what she saw.
Natalee said she was sent from the clinic with no aftercare and with nothing but painkillers to combat the pain.
By the time she had returned to Wales, her wounds had become infected.
My bum was solid as a rock. I went to my local GP, who was disgusted and not impressed at all that I’ve gone abroad and she said 'yes, you’ve got a massive infection in there'.
"I suffered for no reason... it was completely deformed"
After three weeks of feeling unwell and unhappy with the results, she returned to Turkey to have another BBL - this time with a different company in Istanbul.
“It wasn’t because I wanted to, It’s because I had to. If I could have sorted it out by going to the gym and I thought I could sort it, I wouldn’t have gone back through that pain, but it was completely deformed.” Natalee said,
Cut-price medical tourism
Turkey attracts millions of tourists every year, but more and more are travelling there for a very different type of holiday - to get cut-price cosmetic surgery. Medical tourism has become a booming sector in the country. It is estimated one million people travelled to Turkey for a medical operation last year.
ITV cameras followed another woman who underwent a BBL procedure in the country.
Sally Hughes,33, from Cardiff, flew to Istanbul after booking a Brazilian butt lift and a breast reduction. After months of research, she said she could have the procedures for half the price in Turkey.
“I just want to be a better version of myself, I don’t want to be like Kim Kardashian or anything. Some of the celebrities go a bit over the top and that’s not what I want, I want to be me, but a better version of me", she said.
“I started looking into the BBL earlier in the year. You see celebrities who have had it and you think they look really good. Some of my friends have also been to the clinic to have the BBL and their results are amazing so that put my mind at ease.”
One of the world’s leading plastic surgeons, Dr Bryan Mayou, runs the Cadogan clinic in Sloane Square in London. He also offers the BBL procedure and said if it is performed incorrectly, it can be fatal.
The biggest complication is death. We’ve see now there’s one in 3000 people, it’s totally unacceptable. Patients have suffered fat emboli, this is little lumps of fat getting into the vessels, going round the body, ending up in the lungs and blocking the blood supply to lungs and instant death.
Following BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) announcement to dissuade its members from carrying out the BBL, an international taskforce has been set up in the hope it can prevent future tragedies.
Dr Mayou said he will continue offering the BBL procedure.
“The warning was that large amounts of fat should not be injected into the buttocks. We are not putting in large quantities, we put in small quantities. We can be sure that we are not injecting into muscle.”
He also warns of the risks of going abroad.
“They [patients] don’t know who they are going to, they really do not know. They go to the clinic that advertises better than another clinic or has celebs that promote them.”
Natalee Harris said she is happy with her BBL results following her second procedure, but issued a warning for anyone considering going overseas to go under the knife.
“Please, please do your research. Don’t just go off little reviews online. Speak to the people who have actually been there.”
See more on this story on Wales This Week tonight at 8.30pm on ITV Cymru Wales.