Buyer Beware: Did You Know Illegal Butt Augmentation Is On The Rise?

Nicki Minaj in the Anaconda video. Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez in Booty. Kim Kardashian and the champagne flick. Jen Selter. Belfies. Yes, belfies. Plus, Amy Schumer’s send-up of this all-consuming butt obsession, Milk Milk Lemonade. It’s inescapable, and if you’re blessed with a peachy, perky posterior, it’s probably heaven. But what if you aren’t?

Here, Dr. Tracy Pfeifer, MD, MS, a double board certified plastic surgeon with private practices on the Upper East Side, the Hamptons, and Long Island, discusses the recent spike in butt augmentation. With this spike comes the terrifying, saddening stories of young women suffering from botched jobs—Dr. Pfeifer tells us how to avoid quack practices and what questions to ask when meeting with potential surgeons. Now: is it humanly possible to do your squats and read at the same time?
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Botched Jobs Happening On Our Home Turf

The story of a 34-year-old woman who recently died after getting injections to enlarge her butt is alarming on many levels. Reportedly, Kelly Mayhew travelled with her mother all the way from Maryland to Far Rockaway, Queens to get a butt augmentation procedure. She wound up getting injected with something that isn’t legal by an injector who is not a doctor in a basement apartment—and Mayhew paid for it with her life. This is a very scary story, and not the only one of its kind in the United States. There’s also Natalie Johnson, an exotic dancer in Miami who was proposed a discounted butt augmentation by an “official” looking man, only to be left bruised, disfigured and indefinitely damaged as a result. She can’t even sit down for long periods of time.

While we’ve been hearing a lot about botched butt jobs from Brazil and other parts of South America, the birthplace of butt enhancements, the alarming rise of illegal butt augmentations stateside is scary. These days, we hear stories of emergency doctors pulling all sorts of things out of botched butt jobs—crazy glue, cement, olive oil, tire sealant and even super glue. The Federal Bureau of Investigations says the number of cases of people posing as fake doctors to perform butt augmentation procedures is on the rise, especially in Florida, New York, California and Texas.

Celebrity Inspiration: “The Year Of The Booty”

In the last two years, butt augmentations have been some of the fastest-growing aesthetic procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Obviously, we know where the inspiration is coming from. 2014 was officially named “The Year Of The Booty” by Vogue, Buzzfeed, and The Daily Beast, among others, thanks to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea and Kim Kardashian who’ve made the curves of their derriere the main attraction, even more so than the traditional plunging neckline. According to the Daily News, Mayhew’s final post on Facebook was a photo of Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé with the caption “Love.”

Most Important: Choosing a Qualified Cosmetic Doctor

Never, ever get any sort of cosmetic surgery or procedure, from Botox to breast lifts to butt augmentation, from a doctor who does not have the proper certifications and experience. You must do your homework and make sure you are being treated by a licensed doctor. Check with your state’s department of professional licensing; all licensed professionals are listed on these websites. Additionally, your doctor should be a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Consult their online database of board certified plastic surgeons. You should also ask which professional societies your doctor belongs to, such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; all members are board-certified and have a special interest in aesthetic surgery. Make an in-person consultation with your doctor before committing to any procedure, and ask how many times he or she has performed the treatment you are considering. He or she should also take you through all the risks and expectations. Cosmetic surgeries, like butt augmentation, should only be performed in a private operating room, hospital or outpatient surgery center—not a basement, dingy doctor’s office, hotel room or your living room!

Expect To Pay For Quality

Most of these botched butt augmentation tragedies are because the victims were looking to get a deal. If the price is too good to be true, then it is indeed too good to be true. You should not put your life at risk to save money. Expect to pay between $4,000 to $10,000 for a butt augmentation procedure, and if you get offered anything less, then you should be very wary of your doctor and do more due diligence.

Legitimate Butt Augmentation Procedures

I spoke with a reporter from Metro about this alarming trend of botched butt jobs, and which procedures are safe. When done correctly, butt enhancement is a pretty straightforward procedure. The two most common methods are fat transfer, in which fat is taken from elsewhere in the body (usually the waist and thighs) and added to enhance the size and shape of the butt, or inserting silicone butt implants under the butt muscle to increase its size. I don’t know what was injected in Mayhew’s case, but it certainly wasn’t legal. It may have been free-floating silicone, which a real doctor would never inject due to the many risks caused by the silicone traveling throughout the body, such as embolism, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest resulting in death. As for the recovery time from a butt enhancement procedure, whichever method you choose, you can expect to feel very sore and for about two weeks, you can only sleep on your side and you won’t sit on your bottom.

The Final Word

With so many qualified cosmetic doctors in this country, there is no reason for these alarming botched butt jobs. Don’t risk your life by going to a quack.

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Originally published June 30, 2015.  PHOTO via: Ruven Afanador/Vanity Fair

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