In October 2011, a 30-year-old Detroit woman who had been injected with silicone at an illegal “pumping party” was admitted to the hospital coughing up blood. Doctors found that the silicone had traveled to her lungs and clotted in her breathing tubes.

In another illegal cosmetic procedure gone awry, a 37-year-old Mississippi woman died last September after being injected with a silicone-like substance that formed blood clots throughout her body.

These are just two horrible examples which illustrate the rising number of people who became ill or died as a result of illegal silicone injections provided by unqualified practitioners. Cosmetic physicians are up in arms over the widespread and growing number of high-volume silicone injections that have landed people in the hospital all across the U.S.

Many people, driven by a weak economy, are going the “do-it-yourself” route in hopes of turning back the clock by plumping up their wrinkled lips, cheeks, jawline – even their sagging buttocks – with non-medical grade silicone. The procedures are often done at home or at illegal body contouring events, known as “plumping parties”, booked in hotel rooms.

Too often, the party ends in tragedy because some untrained, unqualified practitioner has just injected someone with silicone and it caused an immediate inflammatory reaction or infection. The silicone used is often filler intended for hardware use that was obtained from a major home improvement store.

People may ask: Who wants to pay $4,500 for a butt lift when I can get it done for next to nothing by anyone equipped with a hypodermic syringe? It reflects not only poor judgment but also goes to show just how desperate some people have become because they don’t want to pay for a legitimate cosmetic procedure done by a qualified plastic surgeon.

The fact is that there are many affordable procedures and payment options out there. All it takes is a bit of research to find the best plastic surgeon at the best price. And a little due diligence won’t kill you.

Before choosing a specific cosmetic procedure or combination of them, it’s important to consult first with a qualified plastic surgeon. Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon located in Virginia Beach. He can be reached at The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.