On the surface, no one would say to themselves…please inject my body with some foreign substance (of which I don’t know what it is or even care) in an unsterile/unclean hotel room or in a house or aprtment by someone who has no medical training at all. That does not sound like a good idea to any reasonable person. And, of course, it isn’t.
But yet that is exactly what is happening all across America in every major city. The pursuit of a quick fix to a bigger and more shapely buttocks has driven many women to pursue unscrupulous injectors who for the sake of a quick buck prey upon the aesthetic needy and often financially challenged. Driven by fashion and cultural trends, the buttock has taken on great significance for many women (and even a few men) and the pursuit to have a better one forces some to take unknowing risks.
To no surprise, non-medical grade materials injected into the buttocks can and often does cause problems. From granulomas that cause hard lumps to infections and immunologic reactions that result in infection and skin loss, irreversible buttock tissue problems can develop. Such problems can result in medical and aesthetic deformities that far exceed the seemingly simple injection session. In some cases, these injected people have even died from foreign material emboli and septic shock due to massive infection.
The illegal buttock industry has been highlighted in a recently released short film entitled ‘ Buttloads of Pain’. This film chronicles the seedy underworld where these back room procedures are performed on the unsuspecting and ill-informed. The film highlights where these illegal buttock entrepreneurs operate the most, in the places where buttock envy runs rampant from South Florida to Brazil. The type of substances run the gamut from silicone oil to caulking compounds, almost anything that can be bought cheaply in a hardware store.
While not every such buttock injection material elicits an immediate reaction, those that don’t can still do so years later. Known as a chronic inflammatory reaction, the body eventually develops an overt reaction to the material that has been smoldering for years. Cysts, draining boils, skin discoloration and severe lumpiness and pain are common scenarios. Such buttock problems are very difficult to treat as the only sure cure is wide excision of the involved tissues which would leave a massive buttock contour deformity. In addition, few plastic surgeons want to tackle these foreign body buttock problems due to their management difficulty and protracted course.
While the allure of black market buttock injections is that they are far less costly and have a quicker recovery than the medically accepted treatments of fat injections or implants, their real cost may make these legitimate buttock surgeries seem like a bargain. Hopefully this film will prevent a few people from becoming victims of this despicable cosmetic practice.
Dr. Barry Eppley