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Plastic surgery nightmare: with Dr. Anibal Lotocki now facing homicide charges, former patient speaks out

Post-surgery, I woke up to a nightmare that haunts me to this day. Blood-soaked and lying on a stretcher, I felt panic flood through me. My blood pressure dropped sharply, and I became overwhelmed by nausea.

  • 5 months ago
  • November 6, 2023
6 min read
Gabriela Trenchi before her surgery (on the right) and immediately post-operation (on the left). | Photo Courtesy of Gabriela Trenchi Gabriela Trenchi before her surgery (on the right) and immediately post-operation (on the left). | Photo Courtesy of Gabriela Trenchi
Interview subject
Gabriela Trenchi, based in Buenos Aires, is a seasoned textile entrepreneur and fashion consultant with expertise in public relations. In 2015, she underwent surgery by Aníbal Lotocki, after which she suffered severe health complications due to the alleged injection of a prohibited toxic substance. Trenchi has since filed a criminal complaint against Lotocki, advocating for legal action and raising awareness on the risks of cosmetic malpractice.
background information
Anibal Lotocki, the self-proclaimed cosmetic surgery specialist, gained notoriety for his celebrity clientele in Argentina, but his reputation unraveled when it was exposed that he lacked proper credentials and his clinic operated illegally. Convicted of causing serious injuries to notable figures like Silvina Luna, Gabriela Trenchi, Stefanía Xipolitakis, and Pamela Sosa, he received a four-year prison term and a professional disqualification for five years, serving only 15 days due to a subsequent appeal. Now, Lotocki is on trial for a case involving “simple homicide with eventual malice” after the death of Cristian Zárate. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison. He has been under detention since October 18, with reports of hospitalization for mental health issues amid the legal battle.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Eight years ago, Dr. Anibal Lotocki performed plastic surgery on me, forever reshaping my life. [Dr. Lotocki was convicted in criminal court in 2022 for causing serious injury to famous actress and model Silvina Luna, who later died at the age of 43 from alleged complications. Lotocki lost his ability to practice and now, after the death of another former patient, he faces homicide charges.]

On the day of my surgery, I went in for what is called a butt thread lift, but I got butchered instead. I consider Dr. Lotocki a con artist who infused poison into my body. [According to testimony, Dr. Lotocki used toxic substances in these surgeries. The substances are not suitable for the human body, and they trigger an immune response which can lead to kidney disease.]

Since my surgery, my health has deteriorated. Sharp, unyielding pain is my constant companion and nights are an endless battle for rest. Many other patients share experiences like mine, and some have died. Every day, I fear for my life and a chilling question remains ever present in my mind: “Will this ticking time bomb inside me detonate today? Will I live to see tomorrow?”

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I turned to cosmetic surgery for a quick fix

Before my surgery, I lived a vibrant life, traveling to exotic places and mingling at events. I enjoyed connecting with a diverse group of people. Eight years ago, as I spent the summer in Miami, I went through a break-up and vowed to transform my image. I had no experience in the gym or with diets and cosmetic surgery felt a quick fix.

I saw Anibal Lotocki on television. He had high-profile endorsements and a seemingly excellent reputation, including from his business partner. I fell for the allure and thought my butt lift would be a straightforward procedure.

The day I stepped into the clinic, I felt the buzz of apprehension, but my excitement overrode my caution, and I missed the warning signs. Lotocki rushed me up to the operating room, placing the consent form in my hands just moments before surgery. Swept up in the anticipation of a hassle-free transformation, I glossed over the fine print. My mind fast-forwarded to life after the lift, blind to the potential consequences.

I woke up to a nightmare: “Something had gone wrong”

Post-surgery, I woke up to a nightmare that haunts me to this day. Blood-soaked and lying on a stretcher, I felt panic flood through me. My blood pressure dropped sharply, and I became overwhelmed by nausea. Deep inside, alarm bells were going off. Something went wrong.

With my body in clear distress, it became clear from the start I experienced a botched surgery. Despite my critical state, the clinic rushed me out to make space for another patient. They completely ignored my desperate condition.

A friend came to help me, bringing diapers for the unrelenting bleeding. This friend supported me throughout the harrowing journey home. With each passing minute, my terror grew. Blood kept spilling from my drains. It was a gruesome sight. We called the clinic for help, but they dismissed us, claiming I was overreacting.

In that moment, I realized they lied to me. I felt a flood of shame and rage. It became very clear, my life would never be the same.

Botched surgery left me feeling like I survived a trainwreck

To this day, I experience regular pain from the surgery. The toxins put inside me during the procedure seep deeper into my body. It feels like my health is fading away. I have brittle bones from osteoporosis, a compromised liver, and stress-triggered keratitis in my eyes. My gut aches from pain killers.

I decided not to have children for the sake of my freedom. Now, without a family, my world has shrunk to the size of my house. As I face endless doctor visits, I feel like I survived a train crash – spared but broken. I put on a brave face for my partner and my friends, but the inner battle rages on. The mirror feels like my enemy, but on the rare occasion when I look at myself, the transformation in my appearance as the result of pain and fatigue is stark.

For a long time, I struggled with intense guilt. In therapy, I faced the truth: the fault is not mine. At the end of the day, I simply wanted to improve my appearance and I fell prey to a swindler. Accepting my life today remains a daily struggle and each day feels heavier than the one before. Some mornings, just getting out of bed takes effort. I swallow vitamins in search of energy that never comes.

Thoughts of suicide plagued me, but now I speak out

Three years after the surgery,  I teetered on the edge of despair. As I neared a train crossing one day, the thought entered my mind, “I just want out of his.” I stood there paralyzed, contemplating suicide, when a sudden noise snapped me back to attention. I fled to my friend’s house.

While thoughts of suicide consumed me, the psychiatric care I received kept me tethered to life. Yet, the unbearable pain continued. Today, panic attacks ambush me without warning. When friends invite me places, it triggers deep anxiety. The changes in my body deny me any sense of normalcy. I don’t want to wear high heels or put on makeup.

The nervousness and exhaustion I feel everyday leave me on the brink of collapse. The one thing that keeps me standing is the flicker of hope that justice will prevail. I feel shaken when I hear about the victims. The chilling similarities in our experiences astounds me.

As the court cases move forward, silence is no longer an option. People need to hear our stories. I stand firm in my resolve to raise my voice and ensure that our experiences do not end without a fight. There is power in revealing the truth.

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