Las Vegas Plastic Surgery
Multiple patients have suffered deformations, disabilities, and death while trying to get a better looking bottom and save on their bottom line. Examples of hazardous cost and plastic surgery corner-cutting include the use of illegal substances, unlicensed injectors, and unregulated or un-certified plastic surgery centers and clinics. Plastic surgeons are at the forefront of renewing public warnings about this issue. “This is a distressing, tragic event,” said Dr. Malcolm Roth, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “What we want is for patients to learn how to avoid disastrous complications like this.”
Plastic surgery patients should demand that certain requirements are met before undergoing any procedure. This helps minimize the potential for untoward and sometimes lethal events. When this is not done the risk for disaster or severe personal injury increases greatly.
A Few Examples of Buttocks Injections That Ended in Tragedy:
February, 2011: Claudia Aderotimi, 20, came to the U.S. specifically for injectable enhancement procedures for her buttocks. She paid only a fraction of what she would have paid for a similar plastic surgery procedure in the U.K. She died after she received a silicone buttocks injection allegedly administered by Padge Victoria Windslowe, a self-described Goth hip hop singer. This procedure was performed in a hotel room near the Philadelphia airport.
January, 2011: Whalesca Castillo, 36, of The Bronx NY, who has no medical or nursing license, was arrested for running an illegal business out of her home injecting women with liquid silicone in the buttocks and breast since at least 2009, according to the Department of Justice.
October, 2010: Guadalupe Viveros, 53, and Alejandra Viveros, 50, of Sylmar, CA, may have fled to Mexico after the death of a patient they treated. Guadalupe Viveros reportedly said she was licensed as a physician in Mexico. There has been no confirmation of her medical credentials in Mexico. More importantly, she is not licensed to practice medicine in the United States. 22 year old Mayra Lissette Contreras, Pacoima, CA died from respiratory complications. The unlicensed sisters treated Mayra with silicone injections to her buttocks. The silicone injections were done in a private home in a residential neighborhood. This unlicensed clinic was advertised with flyers placed on cars and on walls in the area which touted a “revolutionary treatment.”
September, 2010: Ana Josefa Sevilla, 54, of Miami FL, was charged with charged with practicing medicine without a license after one of clients ended up in the ER. Police told reporters that three months ago Sevilla lured a woman seeking enhancement of her buttocks to a Miami spa. Sevilla allegedly claimed to be a licensed doctor who practiced in Los Angeles and had since begun offering services in Miami. According to the alleged victim, whose identity has not been released, Sevilla performed several injections in her buttocks, without anesthesia. The woman says the procedure was botched, and she had to be rushed to the hospital to undergo lifesaving surgery and nearly lost her leg.
March, 2010: Anivia Cruz-Dilworth, 28, of New Brunswick, NJ, faced charges of practicing medicine without a license after allegedly injecting six women in the buttocks with silicone bathtub caulk. The women reportedly showed up in hospital emergency rooms complaining of problems, several requiring surgery to treat serious bacterial infections. “Her actions caused a lot of harm,” Assistant Prosecutor Peter Sepulveda of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office told the Newark Star-Ledger. “One woman had to undergo five separate hospitalizations and multiple surgeries as a result of the injuries sustained from the unlawfully performed buttocks injections.”
January, 2009: Sharhonda Lindsay, 33, of Tampa FL, was arrested for allegedly injecting two acquaintances with a product believed to be a homemade combination of commercial silicone gel and saline. Andrea Lee, 30, and Zakiya Teagle Carswell, 33, were hospitalized at Tampa’s Town and Country Hospital after suffering severe reactions to the shots they received. Lee’s Mother Doretha Belnavis said her daughter was admitted to the hospital and doctors treated her for life-threatening damage to her kidneys. This treatment included dialysis.
Numerous other operations and botched surgery complaints have been reported around the country in the past few years as patients desiring bottoms that look like their favorite celebrity at bargain basement prices fell victim to un-certified practitioners performing surgeries in unlicensed facilities.
What Patients Should Look For if They Are Seeking a Plastic Surgeon For Silicone Buttocks Injections:
Where the Procedure Takes Place:
A medical procedure offered in a hotel room or garage should be an immediate red flag. Sometimes these warnings are ignored by patients who trying to cut cost. Any medical procedure performed in someone’s home, hotel room, or garage can end in tragedy.
“Any venue that that looks not permanent, like in a strip mall, certainly a hotel — that should be a huge indicator that this is not someone who is in the business of treating patients in the long-term,” said Dr. Felmont Eaves, a North Carolina-based plastic surgeon and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
In the case that something goes wrong, the patient should have access to trained personnel and the practitioner should have admitting privileges to the hospital. Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgery are required to operate in certified surgery centers or hospitals.
Choice of Product and Procedure:
When it comes to injectables, there are many off-label uses of different cosmetic products can be used properly or improperly. The safe, correct use of injectables depends on the cosmetic procedure and several other aspects. Dr. Renato Saltz, a board certified plastic surgeon based in Salt Lake City, suggests checking out the pros, cons, and risks of each product at injectablesafety.org. Once you are at the office of your plastic surgeon, don’t be afraid to ask to see the bottle or container and check that it is approved for use by the FDA and produced in the U.S.
“We’ve heard of people having caulk or industrial grade silicone, neither of which is approved for use anywhere in the body, injected into their buttocks,” said Dr. Felmont Eaves, a North Carolina-based plastic surgeon and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “There are safe ways to augment the buttocks — fat grafts usually work extremely well, but obviously you want someone who is a board-certified plastic surgeon to do that procedure.”
Cost: More Affordable Doesn’t Mean Safer
In general, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can research the average cost of procedures at www.infoplasticsurgery.com. If you find someone who is willing to perform a plastic or cosmetic surgery procedure for “a fraction of the cost,” Dr. Malcom Ross suggests you aks yourself, “Why is that possible and why would I do that?”
Ironically, the cost to fix the botched plastic surgery procedures is usually more than the cost would have been if “they had gone to the right person in the first place,” adds Dr. Malcolm Roth. “More importantly, sometimes those complications are irreversible or life-threatening.”
Who is Performing the Procedure:
Research the plastic surgeon performing the procedure. Cosmetic procedures should only be performed by those who are board certified in plastic surgery or in some cases dermatology.
In some states in the U.S., doctors in other specialties, such as pediatrics or radiology, can legally become certified to perform certain procedures. However, these doctors have not undergone the rigorous, five-plus years of specialization in cosmetic procedures and, thus, will not have board-certification in that area.
“Plastic surgeons in the U.S. are seeing an increasing number of disastrous complications when patients see someone who is not appropriately trained,” said Malcolm Roth.
Membership in either the American Society for Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is a sure-fire test of whether your doctor has been board certified and highly trained in the area of cosmetic procedures.
Checking to see if your doctor has hospital privileges is important as well. That means that whatever hospital with which he or she is affiliated agrees that heor she is qualified to perform that procedure, Malcolm Roth notes. In the case of an adverse reaction, the doctor can transfer you to an emergency room setting and continue to treat you.
“There are no shortcuts to safe outcomes,” Malcolm Roth added.
This epidemic of silicone injections to buttocks harming and killing patients needs to stop. Patient awareness and education is instrumental in ending these tragedies. If you are aware of someone offering “discount” plastic surgery out of their home or any suspicious location, please report them to the local authorities. If you know someone who is considering a silicone buttocks injection, please urge them to seek treatment from a board certified plastic surgeon in a safe, certified medical facility or hospital. Risking your health and life for a better bottom at a discount price is simply not worth it.
Jeffrey J. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Las Vegas Plastic Surgery