The Price You Pay: How Illegal Cosmetic Procedures are Taking Lives
CBS News reported that a Dallas, Texas, a woman was recently convicted of the 2015 murder of another woman after she illegally injected silicone into the victim’s buttocks during an illegal cosmetic buttock enhancement procedure.
The patient receiving the injections hoped to enhance the size and shape of her buttocks, and had been a regular visitor for silicone injections. She died when the injected silicone entered a blood vessel, traveled through her bloodstream poisoning her. The silicone eventually blocked one of her lungs reducing oxygen her intake, causing her to suffocate.
The woman administering the silicone injection was unlicensed to practice medicine or cosmetic procedures in Texas. She practiced out of a Dallas warehouse, and reportedly sealed injection sites with glue and cotton balls.
The silicone used in the case was an industrial-grade silicone caulk. Approved applications for this material include automotive and marine repair, arts and crafts, home remodeling and roofing.
In Miami-Dade County, Florida, another woman died in March after she received injections of liquid silicone at the hands someone else who was unlicensed and unqualified.
The woman was injected with liquid silicone, a practice known as pumping. Liquid silicone is a product that has been banned from use by the Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures in the United States for several years. Liquid silicone injections were previously used to enhance different areas of the body, like the face and lips. These injections were taken off the market because they often left leave with uneven results, disfigurement or scarring.
Once liquid silicone was banned by the FDA for cosmetic use, the procedure went underground, often being performed in unsanitary conditions.
Many individuals who had liquid silicone injections, legally or illegally, often face inflammation as a result of the injection. Treatments include antibiotic therapy, pain relievers and at times, patients may need surgery to remove silicone that has hardened in an area.
These cases are just some of numerous illegal or underground cosmetic procedures performed in the United States each year in Texas and across the United States, according to the Journal of Aesthetic and Clinical Dermatology.
Many people turn to underground cosmetic procedures in order to save money or get a procedure they want that is banned in the United States. The Journal of Aesthetic and Clinical Dermatology reports underground or black market cosmetic procedures are hard to track, because in many cases, the victims of botched illegal or underground cosmetic procedures choose not report their reactions and may only seek help when a serious situation arises.
The results of these procedures can be extreme, and in some cases cause infection, amputation and death.
"Cosmetic procedures are still medical procedures, so it is important that patients do their research on the physician performing the procedure, the procedure they want and where this procedure will be performed," Dr. Bill Johnson, M.D. said.
Johnson is a cosmetic physician in Dallas, Texas, licensed to perform buttock enhancements, like the Brazilian Butt Lift, that uses fat grafted directly from the patient to lift and reshape the buttocks. At his clinic, Innovations Medical, he offers a variety of procedures including tumescent liposuction, Fraxel laser skin rejuvenation and VI Peel chemical peels
Johnson also uses fat to lift and reshape the face and breasts. A significant benefit to using fat for lifting and reshaping procedures is that since it is naturally collected from the patient, there is no risk of reaction or rejection. Another benefit of the procedure is that it elicits the body to increase collagen production which further tighten the skin and leaves the patient with great results.
Johnson suggests that patients who are looking for cosmetic procedures schedule consultations with the provider that they want to use, and to be prepared with questions regarding credentials and licensing, as well as questions about the procedure and post-operative care.
After gathering, credentialing and licensing information, if patients are unsure, they should go to the licensing agencies to ensure their physician is in fact licensed to perform that procedure in the state they are practicing in.
CBS News, "Prosecutors: Woman charged with murder injected buttocks with industrial-grade silicone". 21 March 2017. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology