Want a Nicki Minaj-sized butt? Steer clear of silicone.
The FDA just released a warning against using injectable silicone for contouring, enhancement and plumping, cautioning that the polymer can cause serious damage.
“Silicone spreads and migrates easily inside the body, which may worsen adverse events and make surgical attempts to remove the silicone oil more difficult or impossible,” the FDA said in a statement.
“Silicone, when injected into areas with many blood vessels such as the buttocks, can travel to other parts of the body and block blood vessels in the lungs, heart, or brain. This can result in permanent damage to those tissues and lead to stroke or death.”
Injectable silicone, which is different from silicone used in breast implants and silicone used for a specific eye procedure, has never received FDA approval. But the agency warns that some doctors use it anyway, either telling patients that it’s legal, or that they’re using another substance, such as Sculptra or Restylane.
“The overall problem with this is that we’re seeing [a] rise in people demanding inexpensive procedures, and an increase in the people who are performing these procedures,” says New York-based celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank.
He urges patients to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, and avoid any treatments outside of a medical setting.
He also warns that unapproved silicone isn’t the only illegal injectable: Some quacks use tire lubricant, or other dangerous substances.
If you’re concerned about what a doctor might be injecting, says Frank, just ask. “I do have patients who, despite my reputation, ask to see the box [that the injectable came in],” he says.
He’s more put off my those who don’t ask questions, he says, than those who do.