A recent report in the New York Times tells of the death of a young student from black-market buttock injections using silicone. It’s not the first, nor likely the last, time this has happened and it is utterly appalling. There are myriad issues this brings to light but I will focus on two.
The first is silicone. Silicone in medical grade form is not typically used by plastic surgeons, especially those certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Silicone is, however, typically used when engineered into implants for use in various applications. When a licensed practitioner injects medical grade silicone they are taking a bit of a risk because silicone does not meld into the tissue very well. In fact, the body reacts to the product and creates scars and cystic like reactions around it in an attempt to isolate it from the body. I have seen many patients who present with scarred buttocks or over-inflated lips from the injection of silicone. Unfortunately, there is no good solution. Sometimes they can be excised, but often this is extremely difficult or potentially incredibly disfiguring. Silicone in implant form is a safe, wonderful product that can help enhance the anatomy when used properly. Buttock augmentation patients should at all costs avoid direct injections of any foreign product. There isn’t a “filler” out there that can enhance the backside sufficiently without either causing problems (see article) or cost too much. The best choices include either fat grafting (from your own body) or implants. I routinely perform fat grafting which I feel is the safest, most natural choice.
The second is the injector. In today’s day and age of instant information and reviews on everything from the local ramen shop to your plumber, it amazes me that these people exist. I know, someone had a good result and referred them. Or, it’s cheap and I can’t afford plastic surgery. Well, death isn’t cheap and neither is a life-altering infection or complication. Although complications can arise in any environment, do yourself a favor and do some real research. Ask yourself if it makes sense to go to some seedy motel for a medical procedure, and then go see a real doctor.