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Woman, 46, dies after suffering embolism during Brazilian butt lift surgery in Miami

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Woman, 46, dies after suffering embolism during Brazilian butt lift surgery in Miami as doctors injected her with fat

  • Gia Romualdo-Rodriguez died this week from an embolism caused by the fat injected into her buttocks at the Xiluet clinic in Miami
  • The 46-year-old, who is transitioning to be a woman, was being operated on by Dr. Stephanie Stover
  • She was also undergoing breast-enhancement surgery
  • Her death was ruled accidental by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office  
  • Romualdo-Rodriguez’s friend Liz Chavez, 37, told the Herald she had struggled in Mexico because she was transgender but, in the US, was ‘living her best life’
  • At least 20 deaths have been linked to complications from butt lift surgery in Florida in the last decade, most of them in Miami
  • In 2019, the Florida Board of Medicine issued new rules about the surgery banning surgeons from injecting fat into or below a patient’s glutes
  • However, there have been three deaths from fat clots since the new rules

By Rachel Sharp For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

A 46-year-old woman has died during Brazilian butt lift surgery in Miami, making her at least the 20th fatality in Florida linked to the risky procedure in the last decade.  

Gia Romualdo-Rodriguez died this week from an embolism caused by the fat injected into her buttocks at the Xiluet clinic in Miami. 

Romualdo-Rodriguez’s death was ruled accidental by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office Thursday.

This marks the latest in a string of deaths connected to the dangerous surgery as people risk their lives on the operating table to get their idea of the perfect butt. 

Gia Romualdo-Rodriguez, 46, died during Brazilian butt lift surgery in Miami this week, making her at least the 20th fatality in Florida linked to the risky procedure in the last decad

Romualdo-Rodriguez, a Mexican who was living in College Point, New York, traveled to Miami for the surgery at the clinic that is known for breast enhancements, tummy tucks and Brazilian butt lifts.

The 46-year-old, who is transitioning to be a woman and was also undergoing breast-enhancement surgery, was being operated on by Dr. Stephanie Stover. 

Stover is certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery and does not have any history of disciplinary action.   

During the surgery, Romualdo-Rodriguez’s oxygen levels and heart rate plummeted and Stover dialled 911, reported The Miami Herald.

She was rushed to Kendall Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said. 

Romualdo-Rodriguez died this week from an embolism caused by the fat injected into her buttocks at the Xiluet clinic in Miami

Romualdo-Rodriguez’s friend Liz Chavez, 37, told the Herald Romualdo-Rodriguez had struggled in Mexico because she was transgender but, after two decades living in the US, had been ‘living her best life’.  

Dr. Stephanie Stover was operating on Romualdo-Rodriguez

‘She had always felt like a girl, from an early age. She struggled a lot with discrimination from her family that didn’t want to accept it,’ Chavez said. 

‘For people in Mexico, it’s really hard to be transgender.’  

Chavez said her friend was prominent in the transgender community in New York City and worked with outreach groups including Make the Road New York and Colectivo Intercultural Transgrediendo. 

She paid tribute to her ‘confident’ and ‘beautiful’ friend.     

At least 20 deaths have been linked to complications from butt lift surgery in Florida in the last decade, reported the Herald.

Most of these deaths took place in Miami. 

The Xiluet clinic in Miami (above) Romualdo-Rodriguez’s death is the latest in a string of deaths connected to the risky surgery in Florida

In 2019, the Florida Board of Medicine issued new rules about the surgery in the wake of a string of deaths. 

The procedure involves fat being removed from the patient’s stomach and then injected into the buttocks.   

The new rules ban surgeons from injecting fat into or below a patients gluteal muscles, or glutes, because this poses a high risk of piercing the gluteal vein. 

Hitting the vein can cause fat clots to travel to the heart and lungs, causing organ failure. 

Instead, surgeons must now inject the fat above the muscle and below the skin.  

However, three deaths from fat clots have happened since the new rules went into place.   

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