South Florida

‘Fat Embolism' Cited in Death of Woman After Plastic Surgery in Hialeah

Heather Meadows, 29, died after fat entered her bloodstream and blocked an artery during plastic surgery

A West Virginia woman who died after undergoing plastic surgery at a South Florida clinic suffered a fat embolism, or clogged blood vessel, according to the medical examiner's report.

Heather Meadows died earlier this month after fat entered her bloodstream and blocked an artery during a procedure at Encore Plastic Surgery in Hialeah, the medical examiner said. Meadows was a 29-year-old mother of two, according to her family.

A heart defect also contributed to Meadows' death, which was listed as accidental, according to the examiner. Meadows' mother told NBC 6 she was unaware of her daughter's birth defect.

Meadows and a friend had traveled from West Virginia to Encore for a procedure known as a Brazilian butt lift, described on the clinic's website as a combination of liposuction and a fat graft. The procedure is meant "to make the glutes look round and firm" by redistributing fat, according to the clinic.

Meadows, whose procedure was first, went into cardiac arrest during surgery, according to police. She was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.

Encore Plastic Surgery is fully licensed, according to police, who said they are working with the health department to investigate Meadows' death. A manager at Encore was not available to comment Tuesday morning. An email to the clinic was not returned at the time of publication.

In a phone interview Monday, Meadows' mother told NBC 6 she is distraught and taking care of Meadows' two young children.

She said she plans to take legal action and has hired a local attorney to investigate her daughter's death. The attorney has requested all Meadows' medical records.

The family is now working to have Meadows' body sent home to West Virginia for burial.

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