Sivian Himmelman, 40, from Los Angeles, decided she needed a confidence boost, so she traveled to Tijuana, Mexico to get several plastic surgery procedures done. The procedures were much cheaper in Tijuana than in Beverly Hills, costing her just $6,400, so she knew she could actually afford it. Unfortunately, with lower prices often comes lower quality.
Attempting to undergo a complete body transformation, Sivian received a Brazilian butt lift, a boob job, and liposuction all in one day.
She is now regretting her decision, as the results of the surgeries have left her body permanently scarred.
“I’ve struggled with shame, guilt, sadness, anger and the fear of being judged by others,” Sivian said. “The mental and the emotional recovery has been so much greater, longer and even more painful than the physical as it is too difficult to look in the mirror. I was always self-conscious about my body.”
“I felt that I had no curves and that my bum was too small – and I always wished I was curvy and full on the bottom,” she added. “I was tired of feeling ashamed about my body and I wanted to feel good about myself. I thought that surgery can improve the areas I was insecure about – that it would boost up my confidence and give me the courage to finally live life to the fullest.”
“But instead, I was botched, mentally broken and left devastated – that’s not what was promised to me nor what I signed up for,” Sivian continued. “Looking back, I wish I knew better and took more time to do the research and evaluate all possible risks, especially when having surgery abroad. I never thought that finally after having plastic surgery, I’d find myself working harder today to love myself.”
Her initial reason for traveling to Tijuana was just to enhance her bottom, but Sivian claims that the surgeon offered her a discount on breast implants.
“I’ve always struggled with body image and I was very insecure,” she said. “However, I didn’t mind my breasts but for an extra £1,450 [$2000] I decided to get them done. I had my consultation on September 3 2019 and the surgeon managed to squeeze me in on September 5.”
A Brazilian butt lift is a procedure where fat is taken from elsewhere in the body and injected into the butt to reshape it. The procedure is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of plastic surgery. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, approximately one in 3,000 Brazilian butt lifts results in death, as it is a very complicated procedure. If fat is accidentally injected into any of the large veins, it can travel to the heart, brain, or lungs, and cause blockages that may be fatal.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reports: “Complications from BBL ranged from severe bacterial infections including MRSA and Pseudomonas, tissue dying (necrosis), scarring, wound ruptures (dehiscence) and abscesses – among others.”
Discussing her surgery, Sivian stated: “I didn’t have much fat so the surgeon performed liposuction on my stomach, back, arms, inner thighs and pelvic area to transfer the fat into my bum. I also had implants making me a 34DD from a C cup even though I asked for them to be smaller.”
Just one day after receiving the surgery, she removed her bandages and was horrified by the results. Images taken of her post-op body show severe bruising from the tops of her thighs up to her chest.
“At this point, I was worried but I thought it may ease as the swelling goes down,” Sivian said. “But it only got worse and worse. They were bruises and blisters that popped open to wounds. My skin was numbing, itching and tingling then the skin began to peel off.”
After spending ten days in Mexico, she returned to the United States and was diagnosed with an infection.
“I was too weak and dizzy to make sense of everything or understand just how bad it was at first,” Sivian said. “But when I saw the staff’s reaction to my body, I realised something was not right.”
The bruises on Sivian’s body quickly turned into liposuction burns, where the heat from the laser had burned the skin during an aggressive fat removal surgery.
“My skin went through so many stages – I experienced dryness, rashes, itching, tingling, numbing sensations, and loss of elasticity,” she said. “Later my skin began to discolor over and I developed keloids, internal painful scars, bumps, and necrosis.”
“It was scary and heartbreaking to look in the mirror because my stomach looked like someone had butchered it,” Sivian continued. “It was like watching a horror movie – and you don’t know what the end is going to look like because it continued to get worse. At one point, I was driving three hours to Mexico for them to drain the excess fluid.”
For several months after the surgery, she was unable to work, and was quickly diagnosed with depression as a result of the botched surgery.
“The surgery was not worth the headache,” Sivian said. “I was so miserable and desperately wanted my body to heal and look good. I fell into a dark hole and started hiding even more than I did before.”
Now, she is desperate to find a surgeon to help her fix the damage that was done to her body in Mexico.
“I was quoted $17,000 to $23,000 which was out of my budget,” she said. “I have asked many surgeons to help me but they don’t want to touch me. Perhaps it is a liability issue, I’m not sure.”
Sivian is now warning others to avoid traveling out of the country for cheaper operations.
“I would advise other women to not get surgery if they can’t afford it and avoid the cheaper option,” she said. “I am sure there are many good surgeons abroad but it’s not worth the risk. On top of all this, there’s a language barrier so I had no one to turn to.”
“I want other people to know social media isn’t always the reality,” Sivian added. “I wish I had listened to other people who said go to the gym and love what you are born in. The mental and emotional pain is forever there and it is very difficult to deal with.”