Beauty queen dies after plastic surgery

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Former Miss Argentina Solange Magnano died Sunday from complications arising during a gluteoplasty—or bum lift. A friend of the former beauty queen told the Associated Press that liquid injected during the procedure had somehow traveled to her lungs and brain. After three days in critical care in a Buenos Aires hospital, Magnano ultimately died of a pulmonary embolism, or blocked artery in the lung.

Magnano was the mother of 7-year-old twins. She won the Miss Argentina crown in 1994, and remained popular throughout the country. Most recently she had been working on a runway show scheduled for December. Friends were both saddened and dismayed by the news. Magnano’s close friend Roberto Piazza told the AP:

“A woman who had everything lost her life to have a slightly firmer behind.”

In recent years, plastic surgery has become increasingly popular in Argentina—as many as 1 in 30 Argentinians undergo cosmetic procedures, according to some estimates. And, as the cost of cosmetic procedures is significantly lower in Argentina than in other parts of the world (including the U.S.), medical tourism for plastic surgery has increased.

The news of Magnano’s death may underscore points made by opponents of a proposed 5% plastic surgery tax, currently being considered as part of the Senate health bill. Detractors argue that taxing cosmetic procedures in the U.S. could drive patients to seek those surgeries elsewhere, where safety regulations may not be as stringent. Yet, regardless of where cosmetic surgeries are performed, like any surgeries they come with serious risks—including the rare possibility of death. In January 2004, novelist Olivia Goldsmith died after going into cardiac arrest during a facelift. Just two year’s ago, hip-hop artist Kanye West’s mother died after complications arising during plastic surgery. And two months ago, a woman died in Miami after complications arose during a liposuction procedure.

Of course, these tragic examples of senseless deaths represent only a tiny fraction of all plastic surgery patients. But they raise important questions about the very real risks involved in cosmetic surgeries. As they struggle to cope with her loss, surely Magnano’s family and friends are also confronting a bitter reality: had she known the ultimate price of this procedure, it’s hard to believe that having a firmer backside would have seemed so important.