By now you’ve probably heard about the death of Stephanie Kubela, the Boca Raton high school student who died last Saturday during breast augmentation surgery. There are many topics that fall into the issue of teens and cosmetic surgery, such as are they too young, why are they changing physical aspects of themselves at such a young age, and (as we’ve blogged about before), what surgeries are they interested in? Another topic that we’ve touched on is the risk factor involved with cosmetic surgery. Stephanie Kubela isn’t the first, and probably not the last to fall into that tiny percentage of people who have severe complications during their procedures.
What killed Stephanie was not the surgery itself, but the reaction she had to the anesthesia. Malignant hyperthermia is a condition caused by something in the anesthesia that reacts negatively with the body. The heart rate and temperatures climb at a precipitous rate, and then the body shuts down. The only way to avoid serious damage during an episode of MH is to get treatment at the onset of symptoms. Clearly this was missed in Stephanie’s case.
Unfortunately, there is not one easy answer to this question. Cosmetic surgeons are extremely careful about how they perform procedures. They care about the well being of their patients, and Stephanie’s surgeon was no different. However, we live in a society that seems to want to correct every little imperfection they see in the mirror. The numbers of people going in for procedures bear at least some of this out. The fact that young people do it is, again, an issue with no easy answers. What is important to understand in this case is that it is more about how this teenager, who was on her way to becoming a freshman at the University of Florida next year, died getting a cosmetic procedure. It has more to do with how she reacted to the anesthesia, something that can happen to anyone during surgery. It’s one of the risks we must face if we want to change the physical with the help of expert surgeons.
If you are interested in cosmetic surgery, please contact an experienced cosmetic surgeon who can explain the risks to you.