A Miami plastic surgeon who promises clients “the flattest possible stomach” and “the most curvaceous backside” repeatedly botched liposuction and other medical procedures, causing such significant injuries to four patients that the Florida Department of Health issued an emergency restriction on the doctor’s license this month.
Dr. Osakatukei “Osak” Omulepu presents an “immediate serious danger” to the public health if he were allowed to continue performing liposuction and fat transfers to the buttocks, a procedure commonly known as a “Brazilian butt lift,” according to the order signed by Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong on Feb. 16.
The emergency order also restricts Omulepu, 43, from performing any medical procedure using what is known as tumescent technique, typically used for liposuction, in which a solution containing a local anesthesia is applied to constrict capillaries and prevent blood loss.
A licensed physician in Florida since 2000, Omulepu botched the cosmetic surgeries of four patients during two days in May 2015 while working for Spectrum-Aesthetics Center for Cosmetic Surgery and Vanity Cosmetic Surgery, both in Miami, according to the order.
“The extreme number of violations that occurred within this two-day period, which resulted in significant and lasting patient harm, indicates that Dr. Omulepu’s conduct is likely [to] continue. If his conduct continues, it will cause significant harm to his patients,” the order said.
Omulepu could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His home telephone in Miramar is disconnected, and he did not reply to an email from the Herald seeking comment. Omulepu did not return messages left for him at Spectrum-Aesthetics and at a Hialeah plastic surgery office where he now works.
The plastic surgeon promotes his work in numerous videos on YouTube showing graphic close-ups of surgeries. In one video Omulepu says, “My specialty that I love to do is the Brazilian butt lift. I'm known to be very aggressive when it comes to liposuction.”
I'm known to be very aggressive when it comes to liposuction.
Dr. Osak Omulepu, speaking in promotional video
Later in the same video, Omulepu assures viewers that, “Safety is a concern, always, when it comes to surgery.”
The website for Spectrum-Aesthetics, which features Omulepu’s videos, also includes patient testimonials indicating that they were swayed by the doctor’s videos and that they traveled to Miami from out of state for their surgeries.
The injured patients, all women ranging in age from 29 to 35, were not identified in the emergency order, which only used their initials. All of the patients’ injuries required hospitalization from three days to three months, according to the order, which adds that at least two of the patients were transferred to hospitals in Michigan to complete their recoveries.
In each of the cases, Florida health officials say Omulepu failed to use the correct proportion of local anesthesia and other medications when performing liposuction, leading to extensive bleeding and other complications.
The order says that in two of the cases, Omulepu repeatedly tore the patients’ internal organs, including the liver and small intestine, causing severe blood infections and, in one case, acute kidney failure and respiratory failure.
While the patient with renal and respiratory failure was in the hospital, Omulepu indicated to the woman’s family that he was “trying to figure out what he did wrong” and admitted that he “really messed up,” according to the state’s order.
Omulepu discharged patients to facilities such as motels, incapable of providing necessary medical care after surgery, the order notes.
One woman who underwent liposuction of her stomach, thighs and other areas was found bleeding profusely in a motel at 3 a.m. by her father, the emergency order says. Two other patients returned to see Omulepu the day after their surgeries, complaining about pain, according to the order, only to be told that they were dehydrated and needed more fluids.
In each case, the health department said, Omulepu’s case fell below the minimum standard.
Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery requires physicians to complete at least six years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum three years plastic surgery residency training. Physicians also are required to pass oral and written exams, and to continue medical education.
Thomas Zaydon, a plastic surgeon and immediate past president of the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons, said patients are often reluctant to report bad outcomes from cosmetic surgery.
“I see injured patients,” Zaydon said. “It's very hard for me to get the injured patients to speak up. They want their privacy. They blame themselves.”
He advises consumers considering plastic surgery to research their physician and to look for certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in a medical society for plastic surgery.
Omulepu is not board certified in plastic surgery, according to state records. His profile on Spectrum-Aesthetics indicates that he’s licensed to practice medicine in Florida, Massachusetts and New York.