Updated:STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.,None — A potentially dangerous cosmetic practice has left some victims who had thought they would get fuller lips and shapelier bodies horribly and permanently deformed. In a metro Atlanta case, the procedure killed a woman.
A 29-year-old woman and her husband said they went to a Stone Mountain motel in May of 2009 where someone injected dimethyl silicone into her left buttock. The idea was to give her a larger, curvier rear end.
WSB-TV obtained the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Autopsy Report, which said the woman reportedly developed trouble breathing." Emergency medical personnel were summoned, and the subject was transported to Emory Eastside Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, despite attempts at medical intervention," the report said.
"They take someone's life for a five dollar tube of caulk. It's not right," said the victim's aunt, who did not want to be identified.
A medical expert with extensive experience with the procedure said it was all wrong from the beginning. Dr. Vikisha Fripp-Vincent, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, trained at a New York hospital. Over and over, she said she saw patients who flew out of the U.S. to get cosmetic injections of silicone, flew back to America and rushed immediately from the international arrivals gate to a New York City emergency room.
"One in a thousand people who get silicone injections die," said Dr. Fripp-Vincent. "The other 999 out of a thousand end up with permanent deformities."
In the Stone Mountain case, the autopsy report concluded the cause of death was "silicone emboli within pulmonary vasculature due to injection of dimethyl silicone into left buttock." Put simply, the silicone got into her bloodstream, traveled to her lungs, stopped circulation and killed her. Manner of death, said the autopsy report: "homicide."
Dimethyl silicone is "a chemical first-cousin" to the silicone you use to caulk your bath tub???? It comes in a wide range of viscosities, or thicknesses, and is widely used as a lubricant. It is a clear, odorless, chemically inert, tasteless substance used in car polishes, vinyl fabric protectant and for lubricating rubber, plastic and machinery at a wide range of temperatures. But Dr. Fripp-Vincent said it is absolutely not approved for injecting into the human body, despite practitioners claiming they are using "medical grade" silicone.
She told Channel 2 Action News the silicone wraps around all the cells in the injection site and eventually hardens, so there is no way to get it out but to cut out the affected flesh. Often before hardening it oozes back out through ruptures in the skin. It causes gross deformities, Dr. Fripp-Vincent said.
She showed us a prosthetic breast implant, in which the silicone is safely encased in a pliable, plastic material. She pushed, tugged, stretched and yanked on the soft, pliable case and it did not break and release the silicone.
Doctors stress, once injected you can never get rid of the silicone. The swelling is permanent. In a Miami case, two people were convicted and sent to prison (one conviction was later overturned) for injecting silicone into a woman who died from it. In the Stone Mountain case, police said they have the name of a suspect who they believe has left the area and for whom they are looking.
The head of the Poison Control Center at Grady Memorial Hospital said a doctor in the emergency room there had one case of a man who had self-administered a silicone injection to enlarge his genital area. He went to the ER with deforming, swelling and extreme discomfort, the hospital said.
Channel 2 did not get details about the treatment. Said Channel 2 reporter Jeff Dore, "I really didn't want to go there."