Fat-grafting is the legal procedure by which fat is transferred from the abdomen or thighs to the buttocks. It’s become increasingly popular in recent years, but its high cost has also led to the emergence of black market alternatives that, while cheaper, are also plagued by nasty, even deadly, side-effects.

Above: Sophelay Ouk undergoes treatment for her botched butt injection, in New York. Screencap via LiveScience.

At CNN, Liza Lucas recounts the story of Sophelay Ouk, who, since receiving an illegal silicone butt-injection from one “Dr. David,” has logged more than 25 trips to the hospital seeking treatment for a list of harrowing symptoms related to the procedure:

Ouk’s now-complicated medical history includes bouts of pneumonia, coughing up blood, leg swelling and numbing in her toes, according to her doctor, which are effects of the silicone permeating her lungs. Although her experience may seem like the worst-case scenario, she actually considers herself fortunate.

Kelly Mayhew of Maryland recently died after losing consciousness in a New York basement, following what is believed to be an illegal butt injection procedure.

Mayhew’s case serves as another grim reminder of the red flags patients ignore to save money. Receiving unlicensed procedures, in unsterile conditions, with unknown fillers can produce huge health consequences.

“We see horrible infections, horrible scarring and frankly, horrible results from an aesthetic standpoint,” says Glasberg. While infections can be treated, other results, such as hardening scar tissue and chronic pain, can’t be reversed. And “you can’t fix death,” Glasberg added.

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Well that turned dark quickly, didn’t it?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends prospective patients verify the credentials of their doctor and the facility where they practice by checking plasticsurgery.org, and to trust their instincts. “If a patient walks into a garage or hotel, which doesn’t feel right,” ASPS president Scot B. Glasberg told CNN, “it probably isn’t right, and they should run the other way.”

[CNN + LiveScience]


Contact the author at rtgonzalez@io9.com.

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