Behind the search for ideal Instagram body: Roxanne Wanjiru’s story

Instagram pushed me to plastic surgery

What you need to know:

  • It costs Sh850,000 at a clinic in Nairobi to have the procedure that takes three hours to be done.
  • Roxanne recounts why she went for a surgical procedure to increase her behind despite the many risks involved.
  • The procedure can be performed on its own or in combination with others, such as breast reduction, a tummy tuck or fat grafting.

“My name is Roxanne Wanjiru, 23. I have decided to get liposuction, a surgical process used to remove fat from specific parts of the body and transferred it to another. This is because I have always wanted bigger behinds.

It’s something that has been on my mind for many years, especially because whenever I log onto Instagram, I see fellow young girls flaunting incredibly beautiful curvy bodies thanks to a transformation that involves the transfer of tummy fat to their buttocks or boobs.

My mother is totally against it and has been seeing a doctor for high blood pressure treatment because of what I want to do, considering that Instagram is awash with stories of botched liposuctions that resulted in some losing their lives.

But my mind is made up – I am not turning back.

Is it bad for a girl to want to be more beautiful and have a perfect body, which in my thinking includes bigger buttocks, during an age when science and technology can aid her desires?

For months, my mother and I have had this debate, especially because all my friends and family members who know about the procedure are scared that something can go wrong.

Her stomach boils up because I am her only child, which is why she now wakes up at three o’clock to pray that my surgery goes well because she respects that at 23, I am an adult who has made a decision and changing my mind is impossible.

My best friend, Olivia Wangechi, a fashion designer, is afraid too. 

While almost tearing up at the thought of surgery and what she has seen on Instagram about the procedure, she tells me that if there is a way she could donate part of her very big rear to me so that I don’t have to do this, she would.

Alexis Wanjiru in high spirits before going through a Liposuction procedure.

Roxanne Wanjiru in high spirits before going through a Liposuction procedure on her at 3rd Park Hospital on September 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Her only option now is to support my choice and be there for me.

Sh850,000 cost

I have an appointment with Dr Tilman Stasch, an internationally board-qualified aesthetic, plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in doing liposuctions.

I have allowed the Saturday Nation to accompany me through this journey that will see me part with Sh850,000.

It’s a small price to pay in my search for a perfect body.

Dr Stasch, who is based in Nairobi, is very nice and patient, explaining to me everything that he is going to do to my body.

As a surgical technique, liposuction works by removing pockets of fat in areas that are beyond the reach of diet and exercise. The procedure should not be thought of as a substitute for losing weight.

He discloses that it can be performed on its own or in combination with others, such as breast reduction, a tummy tuck or fat grafting (using the suctioned fat to enlarge the breast or buttocks).

Roxanne Wanjiru

Dr. Tilman Stasch (left) confers with his patient Roxanne Wanjiru before a performing a Liposuction procedure on her at the 3rd Park Hospital on September 7, 2022. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

In my case, he is going to harvest fat from my tummy and use it to enlarge my buttocks by placing the fat cells in specific regions that he has identified and mapped.

The expert explains that this is very different from the instafamous Brazilian Butt Lift (a specialised fat transfer procedure that augments the size and shape of the buttocks without implants).

Having done this procedure on tens of Kenyan women, Dr Stasch has come up with what he fondly calls ‘the Kenyan Butt Lift’.

This is because, unlike others, Kenyan women prefer a specific shape that has nice well-rounded hips and a thinner curvy waist.

He notes that the procedure cannot be performed on just anyone.

There are various factors he says they look at before a woman qualifies as a candidate.

She has to be of a specific weight and size, for example. Someone who has a body mass index (BMI) of above 30 to 40 is usually not taken in for this procedure as liposuction is more for shaping the body than losing weight.

In fact, they have had to send away some people to go shed some weight.

I also learn that liposuction is equally effective in both men and women. A combination of the following conditions may indicate that you are a good candidate for liposuction.

First, they focus on areas of fat deposits that are out of proportion with the rest of your body and do not go away with diet and exercise – so-called “diet resistant fat” – and second, areas with minimal amounts of excess skin (the procedure removes fat, not skin).

Roxanne Wanjiru

Doctors at 3rd Park Hospital, Nairobi, conduct a Liposuction procedure on Roxanne Wanjiru on September 7, 2022.  

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu| Nation Media Group

Dr Stasch explains to me that the areas most treated by liposuction include thighs, hips, inner knee and lower leg areas, upper arms, liposculpture of the neck or chin (double chin), tissue in the breast area, axilla and anterior armpits, man boobs and the pubis.

I am then taken through a session of counselling and a step-by-step breakdown of what else is going to happen and this includes a pain management plan, and kidney and blood tests before I go under anaesthesia for what will be a three-hour transformational procedure.

They have to know if I have any underlying medical conditions, if I drink, smoke or have a history of substance abuse before we go any further.

They inform me that this will enable them to predict how my body will respond to the procedure and if I fit the bill to be operated on in the first place.

I can’t wait to be back on Instagram and blow you all away with my new perfect body when I fully recover.”

How six doctors performed the much sought-after surgery

At the hospital in Nairobi, a team of six doctors are busy preparing to receive Ms Wanjiru for surgery.

This is where Dr Stasch performs his magic. The nurses wheel Ms Wanjiru away into the surgical room after washing her body with lots of betadine antiseptic solution. She is all smiles.

“Using a thin (three to four millimetres wide) hollow tube called a cannula that is inserted under the skin through tiny incisions, we are going to loosen the fat and create a nicer shape within the body part being treated,” Dr  Stasch says as he draws the points of incision on Ms Wanjiru’s tummy with a marker pen.

He then indicates the regions he is going to transfer the fats to after what he calls fat grafting.

“Fat grafting is the removal of unwanted fat from an area of the body such as the tummy or thighs which is then used to smoothen or increase the size of another area such as the breasts or bottom,” he says.

“A special suction device attached to the cannula sucks the fat from the body after being loosened using the accurately directed water spray from the tip of the cannula (body jet water-assisted liposuction).”

Roxanne Wanjiru

 Roxanne Wanjiru before the susgery.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Water-assisted liposuction, he says, employs pulsating jets of water to dislodge and remove the fat cells.

“One advantage of this procedure is that the harvested fat cells are removed intact.”

The Saturday Nation observes keenly as the surgeon harvests one litre of fat from Ms Wanjiru’s tummy and carefully, with the aid of ultrasound, places it in the areas he had highlighted.

“I have to be very careful not to place it in any vein as that is deadly and may make a patient suffer from embolism. The regions I have selected are where the fat cells will grow,” he says.

The procedure runs smoothly, and in no time the facility’s top anaesthetist is working to wean her off the knock-out. “I feel cold and slight bouts of pain on my rear side, but Dr  Stasch told me to expect that,” Ms Wanjiru says.

She is immediately put on a paracetamol drip and covered with a warm blanket as a nurse dedicated to tending to her needs throughout a recovery journey takes over. 

Half an hour later, Ms Wanjiru is able to stand up and walk slowly on her own.

Her mother can now breathe a sigh of relief.

“I always tell my patients that this is something you have to decide for yourself, not your boyfriend, husband or family,” Dr  Stasch says.

“The results are visible immediately, but you will find some irregularities, firm areas and softer areas for a few weeks,” he adds.

He tells Ms Wanjiru that as healing progresses, these areas will smoothen out and soften.