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Consumer Alert: Illegal Silicone Injections Result In Death - Coalition
Warns Illicit Injections Are Not "plastic Surgery"
(press release from The Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety)
Accept an illicit injection and the result may not be an improved appearance,
but rather death, warns the Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety. The
recent death of a Bronx, NY woman who had silicone injections to improve the
shape and appearance of her thighs and buttocks is an unfortunate and repeating
pattern of incidents that show the very serious dangers of illegal injections.
"This particular incident occurred in a Latino community, but these illegal and
dangerous practices cross cultural and economic lines," said Coalition leader
Renato Saltz, MD of Salt Lake City, UT, and President-Elect of the American
Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "An untrained individual performing
injections of unknown or non-FDA approved substances to purportedly improve
appearance is a criminal act that has proved to result in complications ranging
from a permanently disfigured appearance to death." Additional recent headlines
surrounding illicit injections have included a pump-party bust in Miami, deaths
resulting from illegal injections in Atlanta and Sacramento and disfigurement
from these practices in Beverly Hills.
"The consequences of an illegal injection are far more serious than other
illicit consumer buys, such as a fake designer handbag," said Laurie Casas, MD,
a suburban Chicago, IL plastic surgeon and President-Elect of the Aesthetic
Surgery Research and Education Foundation. "Both are illegal, but the injection
carries with it serious complications that may not be correctable. If you suffer
a complication there may be no way to remove the substance or to repair the
damage, and as reported, the damage from these injections can result in death.
There is simply no reason to take chances with you face, your body or your
More than 4 million reported1, legal cosmetic injections are
administered annually by licensed, properly trained and board-certified
specialists in the fields of plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery,
oculoplastic surgery and dermatology. "A woman's desire to want to improve her
appearance is something she can safely address with cosmetic injections,
performed in a medical setting by a properly trained and certified specialist"
said Dr. Casas. "Clearly, the popularity of legal injections is growing, as they
have a proven track record of safety and patient satisfaction."
A New England Journal of Medicine article in January, 2006 suggested the
risks of silicone pneumonitis and respiratory failure in patients injected with
illicit silicone and cautioned that "silicone injections for cosmetic purposes
should be considered a high-risk procedure."2
"The message here is strong and clear; you must not accept an injection offered
in a non-medical setting such as someone's home, a salon, bodega ,bar by a
self-proclaimed provider. You must seek out a qualified doctor," said Dr. Saltz.
"You must ask this doctor specifically the name of the brand of injection that
is recommended for you and the FDA approval in the US of this brand. For your
beauty and your safety, and clearly in this case, your life, you must accept
nothing less than a qualified doctor and an approved brand." There is no such
thing as generic injectables, nor should you accept an injection by a generic
name, ask specifically for the brand name.
The Coalition offers consumers extensive, easy to use resources including a
cosmetic injection planner with all the questions you must ask your provider at
www.injectablesafety.org. In addition, an up-to-date listing of the status of
investigational and approved cosmetic injection drugs and devices is available
on the site, as well as pictures that will help consumers identify a genuine
brand. In addition consumers are urged to ask and consider these simple
questions before considering any cosmetic injectable procedure:
- Doctor: Is the injectable recommended by a qualified doctor who regularly
treats similar conditions, in an appropriately licensed and equipped medical
facility? Has the doctor examined the prospective patient before recommending
- Brand: Is the injectable recommended approved by the U.S. FDA,, and by
equivalent agencies in the country of origin, for cosmetic indications and is it
appropriately labeled and packaged to reflect its authenticity and approval?
- Safety: Is the setting a proper medically-equipped office, with safety and
sterilization procedures? Has the physician evaluated conditions, recommended
treatment, offered alternatives and clearly defined the potential outcomes
including any complications?
The Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety is an alliance of specialty
physician organizations including the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic
Surgery, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the
American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the
International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Canadian Society for
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The mission of the Coalition is to provide the public
with unbiased and necessary information on injectable cosmetic treatments,
appropriate injectors and where to safely access cosmetic medical procedures.
Our goal is to promote treatment supervised by properly qualified and trained,
board-certified doctors and to promote only the use of U.S. FDA-approved,
appropriately administered product.
1 Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank, 2008 Statistics
2 New England Journal of Medicine, 354;2, January 12, 2006.
Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety
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