An expectant mum told how a botched tummy tuck could put her pregnancy at risk after sepsis left her an hour from death.
Kerrie Wilkes, 27, admitted she wanted to be ‘Insta perfect’ when she splashed out £4,200 on the op, also known as abdominoplasty, in 2017.
She travelled to Poland where surgery was carried out, but became so ill afterwards that as soon as she got back to Glasgow she went straight to the Royal Infirmary.
Medics diagnosed her with sepsis, and told her had she waited an hour, she would have died.
The potentially deadly infection started in her belly button, which had to be reconstructed.
Kerrie, from Gartcosh, North Lanarkshire, feared she would never be able to have children.
But she is now expecting her first child in April 2020 – although she fears the cosmetic surgery may put her unborn baby at risk.
Kerrie said: “I didn’t think I could even have children after the infection, because it was so bad.
“Because the infection began in my stomach through my belly button, my belly button opened up and I had to have a new one constructed.
“With this being attached to the umbilical cord, my doctors have told me that my baby is potentially always at risk.
“A few weeks ago I had an infection, but we managed to stop it before it reached my baby.
“Doctors have told me my belly button could potentially open up before birth, so I need to prepare for the worst.
“Every morning I wake up and feel my stomach to make sure it’s still intact.”
At the time she went under the knife, Kerrie was running a successful business, J’adore La Mode in Parkhead Cross.
She was single, had her own flat, and felt glamorous – but admitted she was chasing an idea of perfection inspired by social media, where a friend had posted photos following a similar op.
But after the surgery, she was forced to close her business.
Kerrie said: “I had lost a lot of weight, I was looking good, was single and had my own flat and business.
“I was striving for perfection and I just wanted to be this perfect Insta girl, going under the knife.
“My tummy tuck cost me about £4,200.
“I thought it would be the best thing ever and it turned out to be the worst thing that ever happened to me.
“My whole life changed.
“It has ruined my life.
“I was successful in business and achieved a lot but I took so much time away from work being ill that no one could help me.
“I went abroad and now I rely on doctors here to help me.
“I get so angry and frustrated with myself.
“People have to stop going abroad for plastic surgery and it would mean the world to me if it was out more.
“I hate the thought of someone getting surgery.
“If you do want the surgery I recommend only Ross Hall, the Nuffield, or an NHS doctor.
“You need to go to someone that you trust.
“I appreciate my life now and live every minute of it.
“I just want to have a healthy birth and if my baby survives this I’ll be so happy again.”
With hindsight the mum-to-be admitted she ignored warning signs, including the location of the clinic.
Kerrie said: “The surgery was horrible.
“The building I was getting my surgery in was in a business park.
“I didn’t think about it because I wanted it done so badly.
“I woke up and thought, ‘what have I done?’.
“I was shaking, I couldn’t breathe, and was offered no medical assistance at all.
“I was asking the nurses, ‘where are my antibiotics? Where is my IV drip?’
“They kept telling me everything was normal, but I couldn’t stop being sick and my stomach was in so much pain.
“It was horrific, a nightmare.”
Chris Hill, a consultant plastic surgeon and a member of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), said: “Every cosmetic surgery or procedure has potential complications whether it is at home or abroad, and patients need to be aware that risks are involved in having surgery of any type.
“I would not recommend going abroad for plastic surgery.
“There are significant dangers in going abroad for cosmetic surgery.
“If they are going to do it, BAPRAS has a checklist of recommendations to make sure of before you go.
“Who knows what type of cleanliness or qualifications the surgeon who worked on Kerrie had?
“If you are going to go abroad, please at least make sure that you are going abroad safely.”