British woman describes ‘traumatic botched’ BBL procedure in Turkey

Krystal Autor, a 36-year-old influencer and hair stylist from London, flew to Turkey for her third BBL procedure - but was left traumatised by the experience.

Krystal Autor posted a tearful video from her hospital bed in Istanbul, Turkey after undergoing a BBL (Credit: Krystal Autor)
Krystal Autor posted a tearful video from her hospital bed in Istanbul, Turkey after undergoing a BBL (Credit: Krystal Autor)

A woman who was left in agony and struggling to breathe after travelling to Turkey for a 'Brazilian bum lift' (BBL) has said she’s been left traumatised by the experience.

Krystal Autor, a 36-year-old influencer and hair stylist from Hackney, London, flew to Turkey alone for her third BBL procedure arranged through The Clinique, a network of doctors in Istanbul who perform hair transplants, cosmetic surgeries, and dental treatments.

Turkey has become a go-to destination for people wanting affordable cosmetic surgery, including BBLs and dental work such as veneers - sometimes referred to as 'Turkey teeth'. The BBL procedure uses fat from a patient's stomach, lower back, thighs or hips to add volume to the buttocks.

Autor, who is a micro-influencer on TikTok, had previously used The Clinique to have surgery on her teeth and breasts and says the company approached her to be an ambassador for its products in 2019. She says she wasn’t paid cash, but instead had the work done for free if she promoted them on her social media accounts.

Autor has described to Yahoo News that the third procedure left her in agony and wishing she had never gone through with the surgery.

Her first BBL procedure took place in April 2019, and Autor says she was left pleased with the result as the results looked like ‘a normal bum’. She flew back in August 2020 for a tummy tuck because she had excess skin that made her uncomfortable and asked the surgeon to add extra fat to her bum as she wanted “a little bit more precision”.

When she woke up, she was immediately unhappy with the results. Autor complained and was reassured her bum would look different once she fully recovered. She said the top of her buttocks was too high, and the bottom part too flat. “I just wanted a normal-looking bum, but it looked abnormal,” she told Yahoo News.

Autor said the results did not improve over time and affected her self-esteem. She says she felt insecure, especially when she took her clothes off.

After contacting the Clinique again, she returned to Turkey on 15 January this year for a third procedure, which she paid for this time.

After the procedure, Autor said she started experiencing complications, such as blacking out and extreme pain, which she said left her feeling 'scared': “My haemoglobin kept dropping, so I had to have blood transfusions.”

Autor, who posted a video about her experience on TikTok on 7 February that has since been viewed 4 million times, said she was unable to feed herself because it was too painful to move. She also had difficulty breathing and had to lie on her back - patients who have gone through a BBL procedure are meant to lie on their abdomen to take the weight off their buttocks while they recover.

She said when she did get up with the help of a nurse to take her first steps since the procedure, the results were disappointing. She said: "When I got up to walk, the first thing I did was feel, touch, and I realised that my bum, the top of it had fat, the bottom didn't. It was still botched from the second one.”

Krystal Autor, pictured after her second BBL, which left her 'botched', was reassured it would look different once she recovered.
Krystal Autor, pictured after her second BBL, which left her 'botched', was reassured it would look different once she recovered. (Credit: Krystal Autor)

She said she cried when she saw herself in the mirror, saying she felt she had gone through the gruelling procedure to come out looking exactly the same. She says that, as an ambassador for The Clinique, she wanted to tell followers about her experience.

Autor also claimed her follow-up meeting with the surgeon after the procedure was rushed, saying: “The nurse was wiping my tears and told me, ‘don't worry, it's going to be okay, you're gonna be fine”

She also claims her doctor didn’t remove the cannulas inserted to keep puss away from the wound, and that when did it herself, she noticed a foul smell. She said the staff placed them back in her with some tape. With her previous two BBLs, a doctor had removed and cleaned the cannulas.

Autor says she is now concerned that she will be unable to get corrective treatment on the NHS. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) recently revealed the number of people needing hospital treatment in the UK after cosmetic surgery abroad has shot up by 94% in three years and cost the NHS around £1.7 million in 2023.

Autor told Yahoo News she raised her concerns with The Clinique both now and previously and her complaints were initially ignored. After her TikTok video went viral, Autor says the owner of the company got in touch with her, apologised and requested that she delete the video, which she has refused to do.

Yahoo News has reached out to The Clinique for comment.

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Krystal Autor
Krystal Autor said never wanted to even get a BBL as she was happy with the bum she had prior (Credit: Krystal Autor)

The UK and Brazilian Bum Lifts

BBL surgery, which was popularised in the 2010s by the 'Kardashian-style' aesthetic, is considered more dangerous than other cosmetic procedures and has the highest death rate of all such non-essential treatments, according to the NHS.

A report published by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery claims that 396,105 people globally had buttock augmentation surgery in 2020.

The inquest of 31-year-old Melissa Kerr, from Denton, Norfolk, who died in Turkey in 2019 following a BBL procedure, led to UK officials meeting with Turkey to discuss the ‘regulatory framework’ in place in the country, as evidence given at the inquest suggests that Kerr was not fully informed of the risks.

Another Briton, mother-of-three Demi Agoglia, from Salford, Greater Manchester, died in January following her own BBL surgery in Turkey - something that was on Autor’s mind as she was being prepped for her surgery.

Demi Agoglia, 26, and Melissa Kerr, 31, both died as a result of BBL surgery. (Reach/JustGiving)
Demi Agoglia, 26, and Melissa Kerr, 31, both died as a result of BBL surgery. (Reach/JustGiving)

She said she found out about 26-year-old Agoglia’s death while scrolling on Instagram a couple of days before her own surgery. "I felt really scared," she said of reading the horror story.

In 2018, the BAAPS advised its members to stop performing the bum-enhancing procedure in the UK, after it deemed the procedure to be too dangerous following the death of Leah Cambridge, 29, from Leeds who went to Turkey for a BBL.

In its statement at the time, the BAAPS said: “Patients should avoid anyone offering the surgery outside a clinical setting, and remember that BAAPS is firmly against cosmetic surgery tourism, which purports to offer discount prices when patients travel abroad.

“The standard of care is not equivalent in every country, and by making the decision to undergo cut-price surgery, patients risk serious complications and even - as this tragic story illustrates - death.”

At the end of 2022, the BAAPS came up with a safer way of grafting fat with a procedure called ‘Superficial Gluteal Lipofilling’ (SGL). An ultrasound is used to track the fat during the surgery to prevent it from being inserted along a vein, the leading cause of BBL-related deaths.