Deadly Silicone Injection Trend Making Headlines
A disturbing new trend is making headlines around the country: unlicensed practitioners known as "pump-doctors" are using industrial grade silicone as a cosmetic filler on unsuspecting patients. The pump-doctor trend is flourishing along the east coast, in places like Atlanta, Florida, and Maryland, where patient fatalities have resulted in a series of high-profile cases. But despite grim warnings from authorities and the medical community about the use of pump doctors, these illegal practices continue to thrive.
Plastic surgery procedures to increase the size of your breasts, buttocks and lips can be a big expense. For patients determined to get the kind of results only plastic surgery could create, shopping around for the best price can have its benefits. Perhaps that’s why illegal practitioners known as pump-doctors are flourishing in US cities. With their promise of major results at a fraction of the cost, pump doctors are offering patients what they may have thought was both physically and financially unattainable in the past. But buyer beware! These unlicensed and often untrained individuals are making promises they can’t deliver on, and it’s costing some people their health and even their lives.
Not to be confused with the medical grade silicone found in breast implants, industrial grade silicone is often used as an ingredient in shampoos, cement, glass and ceramics. Injected directly into the body, victims of pump doctors have alleged that these individuals often use no anesthesia, and practice in unsterilized hotel rooms with dirty equipment.
"The unsanitary conditions in which these injections are given are dangerous enough," Mitchell said. "But then when you realize the injections are being given by untrained people who are literally injecting poison anywhere they want into the body, it’s a wonder to me that more people haven’t died."
Indeed, in several cases it was not the silicone that killed victims but an embolism, a condition where arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot.
"If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to cause a lot of damage, and even death," Mitchell said.
For patients who have been lucky enough to survive these injections, many still face a long road ahead. Some have reported life-threatening infections and permanent disfigurement from the chemicals, and many who have attempted to have the silicone removed from their body have not had complete success.
"The problem with this silicone is that it’s not made to go in the body," Mitchell said. "It’s an industrial material, and in no way the same as medical grade silicone. So, now you have this chemical floating around in your bloodstream, causing all kinds of damage, and there’s really no way to get all of it out of your body."
Patients who have undergone backroom silicone injections are often faced with massive medical bills to correct damage and save their lives.
"When you think of how much it could end up costing you, it’s very easy to spend much more than you would have spent getting a legal procedure from a licensed doctor," Mitchell said. "In the end, it’s not worth any potential savings."
So, what should you do if you think your doctor may be an illegal pump doctor?
"Whatever you do, do not go through with the procedure," Mitchell said. "Go somewhere safe, call the authorities, and get out of there as fast as you can. You can get your money back, but you only get one life."