Is a Perky Bum Worth Kidney Dialysis?
You wouldn't see an unlicensed dentist for a filling, and you wouldn't receive a blood transfusion in an unofficial clinic. Why then, would anyone allow themselves to be injected with a homemade, mystery cosmetic enhancement? But that is exactly what Andrea Lee, 30, and Zakiya Teagle Carswell, 33, decided to do.
In January, the women met with Sharhonda Lindsay in Tampa, FL to receive injections of what they thought was commercial silicone gel mixed with saline. For $500, Lee was given 40 buttock injections, and for $250, Carswell was given 20. Both women became seriously ill, and were admitted to the Tampa Town and Country Hospital within a short time of getting the injections. According to her mother, Lee is still on kidney dialysis, which could be permanent. Dr. Rhoda Narins, a clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine, has suggested that Lindsay accidentally injected the silicone-saline mixture into blood vessels, which is a common mishap of unprofessional cosmetic treatment. The mistake has resulted in permanent disfigurement and even death in the past. Remember the controversy over silicone breast implants in the 90's? When improperly designed implants led to infection, excessive bleeding, and changes in sensitivity, the FDA went public with warnings. And these were due to procedures performed by professionals!
The scary thing is that the occurrence of shady underground cosmetic enhancement is not decreasing. In the current economy, entrepreneurs of questionable character are offering their low-price, sub-standard products to not only naive customers, but to legitimate doctors.
A few of these doctors have seen enough in the past to stay far away. "I recall a patient I saw about 10 years ago who had something injected into her lips which made them overly large," recalls plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell. "I suggested that she return to the doctor who performed the procedure, whereupon she told me that the man was not actually a doctor at all... After I excised the material, the lab analyzed it and it was paraffin wax."
While Ms. Lindsay is now in the hands of the police for practicing medicine without a license, a multitude of phony cosmetic professionals are still lurking out there. The law is doing what it can to stop these people, but consumer awareness would be more effective. If, for any reason, you decide to get your lips plumped or butt lifted at a discount rate, make sure it doesn't involve someone's home, a hotel room, a spa, or a garage. Check certification and government sites that can tell you if your doctor is in fact performing legally. Andrea Lee's mother hopes that her daughter's experience will serve as a caution to others, and that no one else will have to sacrifice their healthy kidneys to satisfy their vanity.