Illegal plastic surgery and its risks seem to keep popping into the news headlines lately; something that is becoming much too common. The black market for plastic surgery is becoming more popular and attainable than ever. For more than 18 years, there have been many deaths involving people who got toxic buttocks injections.

Illegal interventions can come back to haunt you for years.

What are the Motivators for Black Market Surgery?

It’s the desire to have those celebrity-like curves. Since black market plastic surgery is a cheaper alternative to cosmetic surgery, there are many people who resort to this alternative to emulate the exaggerated curves of famous figures and popular entertainers.

Patient’s are attracted to these black market products because they can save a substantial amount of money when compared to the procedure costs associated with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Simply, the end result in this situation is you get what you pay for. Some patient’s don’t understand why they should pay to get it done properly when the desired effects don’t show up immediately,

Types of Illegal Plastic Surgery

Illegal procedures range from non-FDA approved, silicone-like injections to treatments involving Botox and Restylane injections. The most popular black market product used is industrial grade silicone found in home improvement stores. The other products used include substances like concrete, cooking oil or tire glue. The silicone that is injected is also used to lubricate machinery. These illegal injections are usually performed by people who don’t have any medical certification or license.

A second black market product is counterfeit or extremely watered down Botox. Fake Botox is becoming a big problem. People are buying fake versions online, Canada and overseas. Another problem is the realm of black market beauty, more specifically “lay” injectors (nurse technicians, aestheticians and other offices staff) who have the ability to access legit fillers and injectables from the medical offices they work in, which are usually stolen from the doctor.

They inject patients on their own, which are mostly done in their homes. This is a very unsanitary, unsafe way to undergo aesthetic treatments, and are easily hidden by being labeled as “filler and Botox parties.” (Read Botox at 30? Why Millennials Want Injectables Now.)

Black Market Injections

Patients receiving black market procedures are inflicted with painful results years after the aesthetic treatment. Silicone injections to the breasts and buttocks are leaving patients deformed and disfigured. Not only is the silicone non-FDA approved, it is free flowing and not contained within an implant, which means it could move to other parts of the body.

Some of the beginning signs that an illegal injection might be taking a fatal effect include lesions that drain fluid, large purple and black bruises, or areas that turn rock hard like cement. If injected into a blood vessel, silicone can lead to a stroke or death. In the long run, silicone combines itself with the healthy tissue and then attaches to it, making it very difficult to remove.

Because of this, plastic surgeons have to cut through the patient’s blood vessels in the surrounding tissue, which usually results in long surgeries and excessive bleeding. Overall, these illegal injections can lead to infections, ulcerations, pain, cancer and at the end, even death.

Celebrity Black Market Experiences

Belcailis Almanza, better known as Cardi B, allegedly underwent black market plastic surgery, which serves as a good example on the dangers of illegal buttocks injections.

In 2010, Janelle Salazar Butler, an online fitness coach reportedly received buttocks injections in a hotel room as a quick, more shapelier fix. When a few years passed, she started to experience pain, itchiness, discoloration and indentation.

According to the report, Butler then researched how to get the silicone injections removed, and couldn’t believe what she had gotten herself into. When she learned of the risks, she wanted them removed as soon as possible.

The report stated in 2015, Butler went to a consultation with a Miami plastic surgeon, and found out the revision surgery alone would cost her up to $25,000 (USD) just to get the silicone removed. Instead she made an appearance on The Doctors show and the report stated they offered to pay for her surgery, and Dr. Andrew Ordon, a well-known plastic surgeon would remove the silicone.

The report said Butler lost a lot of blood during her surgery to remove the silicone. The day after she was put on an IV to stabilize her blood pressure, and had to receive blood transfusions. From there her complications reportedly got even worse and had to undergo surgery when she returned home.

Many surgeons emphasize that the black market is continually increasing due to the number of patients they see in need of revisions.

What are the Alternatives to Black Market Plastic Surgery?

Alternatives to black market plastic surgery is going to a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss treatment and procedure options. Instead of enhancing your buttocks (or even other areas) with illegal injections, there’s fat transfer to the buttocks, also known as a Brazilian butt-lift. (Read Considering a Brazilian Butt Lift? Here's What You Need to Know.)

Fat-grafting is the safest option and best way to create a natural contour. It also has the least amount of complications. Gluteal implants are another alternative, but many plastic surgeons do not perform that procedure because of the high complication rate. (Read Fat Grafting Vs. Dermal Fillers: How to Choose What's Best for You.)

In the long run, going to a board certified doctor will more than likely give you your desired results, you will end up saving money, and most importantly it will end up saving your life.

What We've Learned: Stick with Board-Certified Professionals

Plastic surgery is growing more and more popular, while people are looking to models on social media and celebrities for their photo-perfect bodies. This is leading to the increase in underground procedures from unlicensed doctors. Many of them seek non-board certified surgeons due to the lower costs.

Plastic surgery isn’t the place to bargain shop, and anyone considering surgery or a simple treatment needs to do their homework. When you're thinking of undergoing a treatment or procedure remember to only use board-certified plastic surgeons. Then review their experience and go to multiple consultations to discuss realistic outcomes, and the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Before undergoing any surgery, be sure that its performed in accredited facilities with the necessary medical staff and equipment.