Silicone buttock injections are public health issue in Venezuela

“Quick fix” solutions don’t work and can be deadly. This is a horrible story about cosmetic surgery that signals more than one severe cultural problem.

Venezuelan Women Are Dying From Buttock Injections – Alasdair Baverstock – The Atlantic.

Astrid de la Rosa was left bedridden for two years after her liquid silicone buttock injections migrated into her spine, paralyzing the supporting muscles.

In Venezuela, 17 women have died in the past 12 months as a result of liquid silicone buttock injections. The procedure, which according to Jesus Pereira, the president of the Veneuzelan Plastic Surgeons Association, an estimated 30 percent of Venezuelan women aged 18 to 50 have undergone, attempts to achieve a figure thought to be more attractive to Venezuelan men.

While the death toll resulting from these injections has risen since they became widely available in 2008, it has done little to curb the trend of Venezuelans seeking a quick-fix solution to what they perceive as physical inadequacies. Despite being illegal in Venezuela (sale of silicone carries a two-year prison sentence) the country’s Association of Cosmetic Surgeons estimates that 2,000 women every month are receiving injections of this biopolymer, either at home or illegally at unlicensed businesses.

As we have seen in the U.S., because the practice is illegal and can result in criminal charges against the fake practitioners, fitness or beauty-related business that offer the injections in secret or conduct “pumping parties”.

Activists say more has to be done to educate young people about the dangers of liquid silicone and the procedure itself.

It’s astounding that people will choose to do this considering the potential consequences. Education is a necessary route to eliminate the availability.

  4 comments for “Silicone buttock injections are public health issue in Venezuela

  1. Peebs
    September 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    I’m not condoning this procedure but 17 deaths from over 24,000 operations doesn’t seem to be significant total.

    Obviously this only gives fatalities and not complications. But..

  2. September 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    So this (illegal and unsafe “cosmetic surgery” becoming more common) is actually an international phenomenon? I just now read your other US-centric articles, and in recent months I’ve heard one a few local (Atlanta area) news stories about it. Here’s a longish story discussing the social pressures to do it along with horror stories afterward:

  3. September 18, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Seriously – eating a ton of chocolate can enlarge the buttocks much more safely and tastier.

  4. Alexis
    February 2, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    This is a serious public health issue in some parts of America too. Women have been getting it done illegally in Miami (it’s an illegal operation in the United States). The problem seems to be that it is extremely unpredictable in terms of healing — and if the tissue hardens around the injected silicone (as it often does) it causes chronic pain and sometimes even an inability to sit down. The procedure to have it removed is extremely delicate, time-consuming and dangerous. There needs to be a public safety campaign about this in Miami because it’s very serious and people just don’t seem to understand the risks. I’ll admit there are some procedures/medications/etc. that are legal in other countries and the USA is just being too cautious about — but this is absolutely not one of them.

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