18.11.2023 Explainer EXPLAINED: How Cosmetic Surgeries Cause Kidney Failure

Published 18th Nov, 2023

By Joseph Adeiye

Harvey Olufunmilayo, a Nigerian doctor working in the United Kingdom, has highlighted how cosmetic surgery can lead to kidney failure.

Olufunmilayo said that he was motivated to share more information about cosmetic surgery risks on the heels of a viral story of a Nigerian who suffered serious complications after a recent cosmetic surgery procedure.

“The exact details of the ‘cosmetic surgery’ is unclear and unconfirmed – though there have been rumours that it was a BBL [or] a gender reassignment surgery,” Olufunmilayo posted on X on Saturday.

“While the exact type of surgery is unclear, it is, however, confirmed to be a type of cosmetic surgery procedure. Following the surgery, the said person was reported to have developed kidney failure, and there have been many appeals to help save their life.

“This has shocked many people who expressed surprise that cosmetic surgery could in fact cause failed kidneys.

“Let me explain this and clarify. Cosmetic surgeries (depending on the type) can be quite a complicated and risky procedure. Just like non-cosmetic surgeries, cosmetic surgeries can also lead to complications which sometimes can in fact include kidney failure.

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“How does this happen? There are a myriad of ways in which this can happen.

“Depending on the type of surgery, the experience/expertise of the surgeon and also the medical background of the patient; sometimes a patient can suffer heavy blood loss from the surgery. This heavy blood loss can cause low blood pressure and low blood supply to vital organs of the body like the brain, the heart and the kidneys.

“This can lead to losing consciousness and eventual brain damage if there is sustained low blood supply to the brain. This can lead to heart failure if the heart fails to get enough blood supply. If there is massive blood loss without immediate replacement, this can also cause immediate kidney failure if there is also reduced blood supply to the kidney due to very low blood pressure from heavy blood loss due to the surgery.

“Another reason why a person can develop failed kidneys from surgery is severe infection and septic shock.

“Septic shock is a fancy medical term for the malfunction and failure of many vital body organs due to severe infection. This tends to happen mostly in the few days following a complicated surgery. And sepsis also tends to be accompanied with severe low blood pressure which then causes low blood supply that then causes the kidneys to fail.

“There are also many other medical factors and reasons why a person can develop sudden kidney failure from surgery.”

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Olufunmilayo’s advice is abstinence first. He believes people should stay away from needless surgeries while they can.

Even in the hands of the best surgeons in the world and in the best hospitals, Olufunmilayo said, a surgical procedure can suddenly develop serious complications that may lead to vital organ failure and death.

“Always do your research before committing to any cosmetic surgery: Read about the hospital, research the surgeon, avoid quacks and social media frauds,” Olufunmilayo wrote.

“I can’t tell you what to do or not do with your life. Frankly, that’s not my job. I can only give you the information and hope you make the wise choice and right decision.”

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Published 18th Nov, 2023

By Joseph Adeiye


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