8 women in New Jersey developed ugly, burrowing infections after unlicensed providers injected their buttocks …
Claire Panosian Dunavan, MD, is an infectious diseases expert.
MEDPAGE TODAY – Long ago, when I was a medical rookie on rounds and pre-op antibiotics were not yet routine, I saw a patient with an infected face-lift.
Once beyond earshot, our attending mused about possible slip-ups in her surgical asepsis. I listened, of course, but also couldn’t help thinking:
“What a shame. She was looking for beauty. Instead she got this?”
Thankfully, the patient soon improved. Her gram stain showed grape-like clusters of cocci, then antibiotics were dripped in her veins, and her angry incisions faded and healed.
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Fast forward several decades, and what a difference.
Today, no seasoned plastic surgeon would omit prophylactic armor against Staph aureus, the world’s most common post-op invader. But for patients seeking beauty at a bargain, a global market in aesthetic procedures sometimes delivers far worse harm.
Take, for example, disfiguring, hard-to-treat infections due to atypical mycobacteria.
Or look at the recent outbreak of botulism in at least 60 medical customers in Turkey, several of whom, after receiving intra-gastric injections of botulinum neurotoxin meant to shrink their stomachs, landed in ICUs, struggling to breathe.
Whatever you may think about bodily obsession or dubious ways to lose weight, simply saying caveat emptor or “let the buyer beware” (translation: do your homework) is not enough to protect modern consumers.
The Appetite for Altered Bodies
Not surprisingly, the global quest for beauty translates to a big business predicted to grow by nearly 10% per year through 2030.
Current numbers back this up. The latest annual statistics from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) reveal about a 19% jump in both surgical and non-surgical procedures in 2021. What were the most desired cosmetic revamps?
In 2021, liposuction surpassed breast augmentation as the most common operation, followed by eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, and tummy tucks, while a 4-year trend confirmed the rapidly growing popularity of buttock lifts and buttock augmentation …