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You want bigger body parts. But at what cost? - (1/9/2018)

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

Mrs. Smith was admittedly the town gossip. She gleefully approached the pharmacist and whispered, “Did you hear about Betty Brown? She had a pumping party last week right in her kitchen! So if you see anyone around town who looks a little different, she was probably at Betty’s pumping party.” And off went Mrs. Smith to continue spreading the news. 

What is a “pumping party”? It is a gathering that consists of a person illegally injecting industrial-grade silicone, used in the plumbing, automotive and air-conditioning industries, into body parts to make them appear larger and plumper. Body parts include lips, breasts, buttocks, calves, and even penises. 
Typically, the person who performs the injections is not a licensed professional. Such people are not trained as to how to inject others with this filler, resulting in deaths. Hence, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently released a report warning consumers against the use of injectable silicone for breast and body contouring. The FDA cautions that Injectable silicone is often administered by unlicensed medical practitioners in nonclinical settings or in countries other than the US. These forms of injectable silicone are not regulated and may contain impurities that can kill.

The commonly used injectable form of industrial-grade silicone is not approved by the FDA for use in the human body. This oil differs from the silicone material used in FDA-approved breast implants and from the silicone oil used for ophthalmic use.  The FDA warning on injectable silicone, either in liquid or oil form, is due to the following risks: infections, chronic pain, the formation of granulomas (painful masses of inflamed tissue), permanent contour deformities, and embolism. Some side effects appear soon after receiving injections but can occur months or years later.

Migration (movement away from the intended site) can also occur. Localized inflammation can present issues of its own, including exerting pressure on nearby nerves, which can affect sensation and movement of the facial muscles. Also, the quality sometimes touted as silicone’s main advantage — its permanence — is also possibly its biggest liability. If things go south, liquid silicone is impossible to remove without causing significant, and often disfiguring, damage to the surrounding tissue.

Yet, many professionals tout the use of medical-grade – not industrial grade – silicone because of its ease of use, long-lasting results, and low cost as compared with other approved and safe injectable fillers. They maintain that liquid silicone injections have been successfully used for decades for filling acne scars, improving facial areas affected by AIDS-induced lipoatrophy, and even non-surgical rhinoplasty.

If you want a bigger butt, bosom, and/or Mr. Happy, then talk with a licensed medical practitioner about appropriate treatments and potential risks associated with these procedures. Your best bet is to locate a board-certified physician in a specialty like plastic surgery, dermatology, or otolaryngology. Ask your pharmacist for help finding such specialists. 

As for Mrs. Smith, the pharmacist thought that perhaps she should get her lips plumped to such a degree that she cannot open her mouth and spread anymore gossip.

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a registered pharmacist, medical writer, and principal at Rx-Press.com. Read more at www.rx-press.com


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