MODEL Chenade Laroy was shaking with fear when she landed in Covid-19 plagued Turkey to undergo a deadly Brazilian Butt Lift procedure.
Not only was she nervous about flying during a pandemic, her friends had warned how dangerous plastic surgery was and voiced fears that she might not wake up or be left deformed.
Six days later she was sobbing into her face mask with an £800 hotel bill for bloodied sheets and in so much pain that she had to stand for the entire budget airline flight back to London.
But incredibly – despite her trip coming in the middle of a global pandemic – she found that her plane was packed with other plastic surgery patients.
Now The Sun can reveal that huge numbers of Brits are beating the travel ban to head abroad for a range of risky cosmetic procedures, by exploiting a loophole that allows people to fly abroad for medical reasons, even if the surgery is purely cosmetic.
One Polish plastic surgery director says bookings are up 20 per cent since January – while Turkish clinics are calling on UK citizens to fly in on connecting flights through countries like the Ukraine.
'I felt like I'd been run over by a bus'
The Brazilian bum lift is officially the most dangerous cosmetic procedure in the world with one in every 3000 procedures resulting in a tragic death.
The operation sees fat extracted from the waist and injected into the buttocks, giving the much-sought-after bubble butt and flat stomach that has been made popular by celebrities including Kim Kardashian.
Mum-of-two Chenade paid £2500 for her Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) and five-star accommodation at the Ritz Carlton hotel in the Turkish city Istanbul in July.
Although she flew before holidays were banned in December, others have continued to fly abroad using the loophole.
Incredibly, she was just one of eight or nine patients operated on by her surgeon on the same day, which she claims caused him to rush the procedure.
Her interview comes after the dad of tragic butt lift victim Leah Cambridge took his own life, having not been able to come to terms with his daughter’s death.
Chenade, 30, from Canterbury, Kent, revealed: “I have been tiny my whole life – so tiny that people used to mistake me for a teenager – so I wanted to do something that would give me a curvier figure.
“I was very nervous before the operation because some of my friends are very anti plastic surgery and they put the fear into me – but I had no idea it is the most dangerous procedure in the world until now.
“I can see why it is so risky because they take fat from all over your body through liposuction and the pain was horrific.
“I felt awful for five days, like I had been run over by a bus and I was losing five litres of blood a day."
Surgeons warned that it's common for patients to bleed following the procedure and Chenade says she lost blood from her lower back, where they had performed liposuction. She also thinks that she may have been bleeding from her bum as it was incredibly painful following the op.
“The hotel tried to charge me £800 for the blood I left on the sheets, but I told them to speak to the clinic," she said.
“On the flight back to London I had to stand the whole way apart from take-off and landing when I perched on a special pillow the hospital gave me.
“I was nervous about travelling in the middle of a global pandemic and the flight was busy.
“There were people who had undergone hair transplants, breast enlargements and nose jobs – when you travel back from Turkey, the plane looks like a hospital.”
Op kills one in 3000 and took tragic mum Leah
The op costs as much as £8,000 in the UK and while it is on offer for less than half that amount overseas, a lack of professional care can prove deadly as scores of young Brits have discovered in recent years.
Victims include mum-of-three Leah Cambridge, 29, who died while undergoing a £5,000 op to fix her ‘mum tum’ at the Elite Aftercare clinic in Turkey in 2018.
Leah fell ill when fat entered her blood stream and her oxygen levels dropped, which set off three heart attacks as she lay on the operating table.
Last week a coroner’s court heard that her dad Craig Cambridge, 51, of Leeds, was found dead on Easter Monday after battling depression linked to the tragedy.
Senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin said: "Our understanding is that Mr Cambridge was found hanging at his home.
“He had been diagnosed with depression, attributable to the grief of losing his daughter Leah.”
Another fatality involved social worker Abimbola Ajoke Bamgbose, who died last August after paying £5,000 for an overseas package deal which she kept secret from her husband.
The 38-year-old social worker from Dartford, Kent, was fed-up with being told she looked pregnant but decided that bum lifts in the UK were too expensive so opted to head to the Mono Cosmetic Surgery clinic in Turkey.
A post-mortem later found that complications caused by the liposuction she received led to her inner abdominal wall inflaming which caused multiple organ failure.
Assistant coroner Alan Blunsdon said: "This is a tragic case, the more so because the surgery was elective cosmetic surgery.
"Whilst Mrs Bamgbose was determined to have it performed, her husband had not seen it in any way as necessary.”
Yet the risks involved have not diminished the popularity of Brazilian Butt Lifts.
Lockdown loophole allows travel for cosmetic surgery
Since 2015 the number of bum ops performed has risen by 77.6 per cent, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
And even the UK government’s lockdown ban on international travel cannot hold back the demand, we can reveal.
Incredibly, a loophole in the regulations means that surgery is considered a valid excuse to leave the UK even if the procedure is for cosmetic reasons.
Philip Pasler is a director at the respected KCM Clinic in Jelenia Gora, Poland and says plastic surgery bookings including BBLs have shot up by 20 per cent since January – and they are treating at least one UK citizen every single day.
He said: "In January the numbers were low but since then they have been growing again.
“We are receiving about 50 international patients a month and around 35 or 40 of these are from the UK.
“Ryanair has stopped flying here, which has impacted us, but you can still get to Poland with Whizz Air and we provide our patients with a doctor’s letter that they can show to immigration.
“We offer a range of surgeries including gastric bypasses, gastric sleeves, tummy tucks and butt lifts and the majority of our patients are British.
“People like coming here because the operations cost half the amount they do in the UK and I am optimistic that we will be back to normal soon.
“There has already been a 20 per cent rise in interest in travelling abroad for surgery – I'm basing that on the number of bookings we have received."
Our probe has found that the internet is awash with videos of Brits boasting about cosmetic surgery holidays they have enjoyed during the pandemic in countries including Lithuania and Spain.
While direct flights to Turkey are currently banned, the Instagram account of the Spectra Clinic in that country just put out a post encouraging Brits to book a trip.
It reads: "You can still travel with connecting flights through Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Sofia, Ireland etc. Our team will make arrangements for you. Additionally, with the medical letter we provide, you don't need to stay in quarantine.”
Volkan Bulut, a manager at the MedLife clinic in Izmir, Turkey, says they are still taking bookings and their next British client is due to arrive on May 7.
He said: “About 70 or 80 per cent of our clients are from the UK and we normally have around 100 patients a month.”
But Chenade, who has 55,000 Instagram followers, will not be returning to Turkey for surgery anytime soon.
She added: “I got about 100 messages asking for advice after I had my butt lift, but I definitely wouldn’t got through that again.
“There is no way I would risk flying during a global pandemic and I’m not completely happy with the results.
“You can get the same look – without risking your life – by going to the gym.”
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