Silicone Injections: The Risks

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Silicone Injections

Vanity undoubtedly comes at a price. For some, this price may be higher than they had initially anticipated. 

Silicone injections are used in cosmetic surgery to enhance the size or shape of various body parts, for example, to increase the size of the breasts, buttocks, or lips. Injecting silicone into these areas can create a fuller or better-shaped appearance. 

The History of Silicone Injections

Silicone injections first gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, their use as a cosmetic procedure was becoming increasingly common, particularly for breast augmentation. However, by the 1980s, reports of serious health problems associated with silicone injections began to surface, and their use began to decline. 

The FDA issued a warning in 1992 against the use of silicone injections for breast augmentation, citing the risk of serious health complications. Since then, their application has decreased significantly. 

Silicone Injections: Associated Risks

Despite FDA warnings, the ever-increasing pressure of beauty in society leads thousands of women and men to fall prey to silicone injections. At the time of injection, physical beauty is improved significantly right away. But even if the procedure goes according to plan, appearance starts to alter with age. As the skin starts to loosen and the fat underneath slips, the underlying silicone injections start to show as prominent ridges. This creates a very unattractive look. This often puts the individual through lowered self-esteem and a lack of confidence to go out in public and interact with their peers.   

Once these undesirable symptoms begin to appear, debilitating the victims’ day-to-day lives, they seek an escape from this misery. Many people with silicone injection in buttocks head to clinics that offer quick and easy removal. The HD Esthetique clinic understands the pain and suffering of these people and allows them to correct the mistake they made years ago. In this way, they are enabled and empowered to regain their lost confidence and live their lives as they used to.

Permanent scarring

Silicone injections are typically composed of a lightly cross-linked silicone elastomer that has been swollen either with silicone fluids or with non-silicone fluids like mineral oil. While they cause wrinkles to disappear, they may also cause a deterioration of aesthetics but causing permanent scarring. There could be various reasons for this:

  • First, the injections themselves can cause damage to the skin and underlying tissue, leading to the formation of scars. 
  • Additionally, the silicone can migrate from the injection site, causing damage and scarring in other body areas. 
  • Finally, silicone injections can cause an immune response, leading to inflammation and scarring. 

Tissue Death

The US Food and Drug Administration warns against silicone injections. 

One of their complications includes tissue death. This can happen in a few different ways.

  • The injections can cause direct damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the area, leading to tissue death. 
  • The silicone can migrate from the injection site, causing damage and tissue death in other areas of the body. 
  • The silicone can obstruct blood flow to the area, leading to ischemia and necrosis of the tissue.
  • The silicone can cause an immune response, leading to inflammation and tissue death.

Dermatologic Complications

Subcutaneous silicone injections are common among male-to-female transgender (MtF TG) persons for feminization of the body. In a study conducted, all of the 77 MtF TG subjects examined had silicone dissemination and dermatologic complications an average of 15 years after the injection of silicone. These included:

  • Migration (59%)Inflammation (50%)
  • Varicose veins (39%)
  • Pigmentation (20%)
  • Infection (14%)
  • Abscesses (4%)

Granulomas

Silicone injections can cause granulomas, which are masses of inflammatory cells that form in response to foreign materials in the body. The foreign material (silicone) triggers an immune response, leading to the formation of granulomas. The granulomas can form at the site of the injection or can migrate to other areas of the body and cause damage and scarring there. Additionally, the granulomas can cause pain, itching, and redness, and in some cases, they can become infected.

Long-Term Pain

The administration technique used is the most crucial when it comes to any type of filler or injectable. A lot can go wrong with the miscalculation of even a centimeter. Since it is dense, if the silicone gets injected in the proximity of a nerve, it may cause long-term pain that won’t go away with painkillers. In such a case, the only solution is surgically removing the silicone filler. This puts the patient through yet another surgery, further scarring, low self-confidence, and possibly debt.

Embolism

It is fairly common for silicone filler particles to break off and migrate to other parts of the body. Sometimes, they travel across arteries and veins. Sometimes, a lodged embolus blocks the oxygen supply to the brain, causing ischemic stroke. In severe and undealt cases, death may occur.

Additionally, silicone injections can cause inflammation in the brain, which can also lead to a stroke.

Sometimes, silicone particles may clog the lungs, making breathing hard. An autopsy of an expired patient with new injection sites on her thighs and buttocks reported 1400 mg of silicone in her lungs. Silicone pulmonary embolism was announced as the cause of her death.

FDA Safety Tips

The FDA has strict guidelines for which fillers and safe and which are not. FDA-approved skin fillers are primarily temporary as they are composed of materials that eventually break down and are absorbed by the body. 

Silicone, however, is permanent, making its complications more severe. Often, it may even be fatal, as discussed earlier.

Additionally, there is a lack of regulation for silicon injections, which means there is a high risk of receiving injections from untrained or unlicensed practitioners.

For this reason, the FDA has stated a list of safety rules to keep people free of the potential risks caused by illegal silicone injections. These include:

  1. NEVER get a filler or liquid silicone injection for contouring or enhancement of the body. You should not get any fillers for the spaces between your muscles, for these products can be severely injurious or even fatal.
  2. NEVER order dermal fillers online. This is because they may be fake or contaminated, making them potentially harmful.
  3. NEVER get fillers injected from an unlicensed provider or someone in a non-medical setting.
  4. ALWAYS trust only licensed healthcare providers who must use FDA-approved products on their patients. Ensure that the vials are properly sealed and appropriately labeled. 

Conclusion

Silicone injections have been a topic of controversy for many years due to the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. Their use for cosmetic purposes is not approved by the FDA, and it can lead to serious complications. These risks are not only physical but also psychological, as the patient may experience body dissatisfaction and depression. It is essential for individuals considering silicone injections to understand the potential risks and to only seek out the procedure from trained and licensed medical professionals. Additionally, it is important for individuals to be realistic about their expectations and to have a clear understanding of the benefits and risks of the procedure before deciding to undergo it.

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