Side Effects of Biopolymer or Silicone Buttock Injections
With the purpose of achieving a rounder and more voluptuous derriere, some women opt to get illegal injections of silicone that can cause a host of health complications. Problems range from tissue hardening and pain to infections, breathing problems and even life-threatening blood clots. Women and men who seek out these illegal injections to augment their buttocks, lips, breasts, calves or hips are putting themselves at inevitable risk for complications from the foreign material such as disfigurement, pain, itching, discoloration of the skin and emotional distress. People who undergo silicone injections often receive them in the back rooms of salons and spas, hotels, and at a trusted friend’s home most likely at the hands of unlicensed or unskilled practitioners, usually from a foreign country. Word of mouth gets them to these unscrupulous providers, and a vast majority of these men and women experience devastating side effects.
Foreign material injections included but not limited to Silicone, Biogel, Hydrogel, Biopolymer, PMMA, and Aqua gel are not FDA-approved for body contouring and are extremely harmful to the human body (1). Serious complications may occur right away or could develop weeks, months, or years later. The following is a list of long-term side effects of biopolymer or silicone buttock injections:
Hardening or firmness of the area of injections. This can be caused by granulomas or masses of tissue that develop due to the presence of a foreign substance, an infection or inflammation. When administered in unsafe doses, hydrogel can cause the body to attack the substance, leading to the formation of hardened tissue. These hard formations are uncomfortable, painful, and leave the buttock looking flat and unnatural.
Open wounds and sores. These lesions can form when the incision or openings become infected. An injection of this foreign substance can lead to infection, which will then take time to heal. Often, biopolymer injections may cause disfiguring chronic infections that may require intravenous antibiotics or extensive surgical debridement. There had been a few cases that the chronic infections resulting from illegally injected industrial grade products into the lower extremities, such as the legs, resulted in amputations as a life-saving procedure.
Troubled breathing. This is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of illegal buttock injections along with shakiness and a faster heart rate. Usually, patients report shortness of breath not long after the procedure (2).
Migration of the substance. This can trigger allergic reactions, joint pain and fatigue if the material travels from the buttocks to other parts of the body. If the silicone migrates beyond the injection site, it could cause an embolism, stroke, infections and even death.
Botched results. These include deformed, lumpy, hard and oddly-shaped derrieres as well as discoloration of the skin (3).
Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they experience problems such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, signs of stroke (including sudden difficulty speaking, numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs, difficulty walking, face drooping, severe headache, dizziness, or confusion), as it may be a life-threatening situation. Medical professionals are able to determine the type of foreign material and the risk of serious side effects through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. Some plastic surgeons recommend their patients getting a MRI scan to evaluate the location of the injected material, the extent of injection, as well as the area where the foreign material may potentially have migrated. The MRI results would act as a helpful guiding map to determine where the plastic surgeon would remove the Biopolymer. Depending on the particular situation of the patient, the management and treatment of silicone toxicosis may vary. The treatment plan ranges from surgical excision to hyaluronidase injections followed by VASER Liposuction and fat transfer into the area to correct the resultant deformity. Biopolymer or silicone injections can easily integrate into the tissues of the gluteal area, making the material difficult to separate and extract. Complete removal is impossible, even with surgical excision, and it may result in a life-changing deformity.
Hyaluronidase is a naturally occurring enzyme in our tissue that modifies our own hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronidase injections are considered very safe and have been used for years for non-cosmetic purposes in medicine before being used in cosmetic surgery to facilitate the removal of dermal fillers (4). Plastic surgeons sometimes apply Hyaluronidase injections a couple of days before the Biopolymer removal with VASER Liposuction procedure in order to soften the harmful material. Every case is unique, and the volume of Hyaluronidase needed varies among patients depending on their specific situation.
(1) “Alternatives to Dangerous and Illegal Buttock Augmentation Injections”. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/butt-injections#summary
(2) Rettner, Rachael. “Illegal Silicone Butt Injections Cause Host of Health Problems”. Purch. https://www.livescience.com/51275-silicone-butt-injections-health-problems.html
(3) Breslow, Gary. “Hydrogel Butt Injections: How Bad Can They Be?” Zwivel. https://www.zwivel.com/blog/hydrogel-butt-injections/
(4) DeLorenzi, Claudio. “Complications of Injectable Fillers, Part I”. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery”. https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/33/4/561/2801405