Beware of Illegal Silicone Injections – They Can be Deadly
Posted in: Plastic Surgery in the News | October 29, 2011
This week a 30 year old woman was rushed into the hospital short of breath and coughing blood and almost died after being injected in her buttocks and other areas with liquid silicone at a house party. The silicone was not medical silicone found in implants, but instead liquid silicone similar to the type that one could purchase in hardware stores. A 22 year old woman who showed up at UCLA Medical Center from similar injections performed in Mexico died despite the physicians’ best efforts. There are many other cases of similar deaths and complications from these procedures which are illegal.
Liquid silicone can be absorbed into the blood stream and travel to the lungs and brain causing “silicone embolism syndrome” which can be fatal. Death when it travels to the lungs is 20% and when it travels to the brain is almost 100%.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons cautions against these illicit procedures which may be on the rise because of patients’ inability to afford licensed plastic surgeons. Patient’s are advised to do their homework and make sure their physicians have the proper training and credentials.
I recommend that patients who wish to to have volume added to their face, buttocks, or other areas see a trained plastic surgeon for a consultation. Your surgeon will be able to discuss with you different options that are the standard of care for achieving your desired shape. When patients ask me about uncommon alternatives or cheaper options in foreign countries, I always remind them that for elective cosmetic surgery, safety and health come first. The rules and regulations here in the United States are to protect patients and are based on established standards of care. Doing something outside these standards is never work risking your health or your life.
Dr. Catherine Begovic M.D.