Couple charged after home-style liposuction results in death

A Brazilian couple in the United States have been charged with drug possession and distribution, illegal possession of a hypodermic needle and unauthorized practice of medicine without a license after a female patient died following liposuction.

Authorities say the pair performed liposuction in the basement of a home and have taken their passports and placed them both on bail.

Luiz Carlos Ribeiro, 49 is a licensed doctor in Brazil but has no license to practice in the U.S. and he and Ana Maria Miranda Ribeiro have pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment.

The couple are accused of performing an illegal liposuction on Fabiola DePaula, 24, of Framingham who was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.

District Attorney Martha Coakley says autopsy results will not be available for several days, and charges could then be upgraded.

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty (fat modeling) or suction lipectomy (suction-assisted fat removal) is a cosmetic surgery operation which removes fat from many different sites on the human body such as the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck, arms.

The fat is usually removed via a cannula and aspirator and is not regarded as an alternative to exercise and diet but is more a form of body contouring.

The amount of fat removed varies but the average amount is typically less than 10 pounds (5 kg).

The procedure may be performed under general or local anesthesia and the safety of the technique depends on the amount of tissue removed, the choice of anesthetic, the patient's overall health and the doctor carrying out the procedure.

The Ribeiros have apparently been travelling regularly between Brazil and Massachusetts for a period of two to three years and charged from $1,800 to $3,000 for the procedure relying on word-of-mouth referrals for business.

The surgery was apparently performed on a massage table in the basement of a local condominium, and according to official sources large amounts of blood have been found on the floor.

Two other women have already revealed they underwent medical procedures there, one of whom is currently hospitalized with an infection and it is thought there may be a large number of other clients, but no patient records were kept and the business was a cash-only enterprise.

Authorities are concerned that this may just be the tip of the iceberg in the underground plastic surgery being performed amongst Framingham's immigrant community.

Framingham has a population of 67,000 and an estimated 14,000 of those are Brazilian immigrants.

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