What price beauty?

May 1, 2010


e peruse page after page of medical news to
find items of interest for MLO readers, some describing odd
diseases and practices that make us scratch our heads. The
latest eye-grabbing headline?”Six Jersey women get infection
from buttocks-enhancement injections.” The provider of fuller
fannies injected non-medical — instead of medical — grade
silicone while performing these procedures in private
residences. Ever caulked a bathroom? That is non-medical grade

When I shared this news story with my niece in
Georgia, she wrote:”The best place to get silicone injections
around here is the PakRat Climate Controlled Self Storage off
I-75. Go to Unit B-115.” First, I laughed but later asked if it
were true.”No,” she said,”But a fake OB/GYN got four years in
Texas prison after he pled guilty to practicing medicine without
a license — by setting up an exam office in a self-storage
complex. His victims were in the hundreds”
). Do women really not understand that
a genuine OB/GYN would not ply his trade in a storage shed? Why
would you intentionally choose such a location? Or is my head
just full of silicone?

We found a former Miss Argentina (38) died this
year of a pulmonary embolism after cosmetic buttocks surgery;
the president of the Plastic, Cosmetic and Reparatory Surgery
Society of Argentina stated,”[This surgery] has its risks,
because it is not a procedure that is scientifically
guaranteed.” In August 2009, a Chilean woman (43) died after
three cosmetic operations. An Argentine female politico has been
in a coma since July 2008 after undergoing liposuction.

Other tales of cosmetic-surgery jaw-dropping
events? Olivia Goldsmith, author of”The First Wives' Club,” died
having her chin tucked. Performer Kanye West's mother (58)
expired after a tummy tuck and a breast reduction.
Micheline Charest (51)
, co-founder of Cinar animation
house, died while having a face lift and breast enlargement.

Currently, a breast-implant safety verdict
concerns more than 40,000 women in the U.K. and some 30,000
women in France; the French manufacturer of their 140,000
implants used silicone filler not approved for human use.
Plastic surgeons worldwide have been advised to prepare affected
patients for the possible need to remove the products. How many
newly”perky” gals in the 60-odd countries that imported the
implants are not yet aware of this health threat?

Considering the malevolent outcomes of some
cosmetic-enhancement procedures — a seeming craze among women
and men — medical lab techs soon might be looking at a speck of
bathtub caulk under that microscope or attempting to grow some
of it in a Petri dish. Buttock-shaping surgery already can
present a real threat to patient health via bacterial infection
where incisions occur.

In Sarasota, FL, in 2003, a woman (38) went to a
private clinic for a breast-augmentation. Her surgeon (a
dentist/oral surgeon by trade) — not certified by any board
recognized by the state and with no admitting privileges at any
hospital — had no anesthesiologist/nurse anesthetist present.
The woman flat-lined from”a dazzling array of anesthetic
agents.” A previous patient of his had reported to the state
that she ended up a few months earlier with E coli on
her face and a staph infection, but nothing had been done to
stop this dentist from performing that fatal surgery (http://tiny.cc/ezeuw).

According to that ABC News report, in 2003, 9
million Americans had”some part of their body lifted, plumped,
reshaped, tucked, or peeled.” In May 2007, statistics cited a
446% increase in cosmetic procedures since 1997 (http://tiny.cc/7cavo).
Concerning enough is that we already have increasing
hospital-acquired infections — about 1.7 million each year with
10,000 patients succumbing to them. Knowing that patients are
exposed to HAIs even under the very best of conditions,
cosmetic-surgery risks are certainly uncommunicated,
underestimated, or ignored. So, I have to ask,”What price