- Unsafe quantities of hydrogel are needed to produce “good” results when it comes to butt augmentation.
- Back-alley procedures often substitute silicone or other dangerous materials for hydrogel.
- Safer ways to achieve a perkier behind include butt implants and fat-grafting lifts.
- Reputable plastic surgeons won’t use hydrogel as a butt filler.
In the never-ending quest for the perfect derriere, a myriad of back-alley butt injections have hit the scene. Their promise to lift and plump without so much as a single incision, anesthesia or any recovery period appeals to those seeking a fuller, rounder behind.
However, illegal or unsafe butt enhancement procedures come with some serious downsides. Patients often wind up with saggy butts at best, and near-death experiences at worst – all for the sake of a bigger butt.
What’s All the Fuss About?
Hydrogel injection is one of the riskiest buttock enhancement techniques. The formula is mostly made up of the highly water-absorbent polymer polyacrylamide plus a dash of water. So, what’s the appeal?
What makes hydrogel desirable in buttock augmentation is it’s homogenous and non-biodegradable nature. In essence, it can be fully integrated into surrounding tissue for long periods of time. These injections are similar in makeup to safe, doctor-recommended hyaluronic acid fillers, including Restylane and Juvéderm. Yet, when injected at a much higher quantity and concentration, they can lead to some serious complications.
Beware of Toxic Build Up
While the polyacrylamide formulas used in soft tissue fillers are generally considered safe, many hydrogel butt injections also contain acrylamide, a known neurotoxin.
In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency labels acrylamide a “probable human carcinogen.” In addition, studies show that microscopic amounts of residual acrylamide can be found in Restylane and that cases of acrylamide poisoning have been reported with both routine and black market facial as well as butt fillers.
Because the buttocks requires much more filler than the face, these residual amounts of acrylamide add up when injected in that area, which leads to a much higher risk of complications. In addition, although hydrogel injections are legal, they’re also relatively easy to find at a low price on the black market. The concern is that unbeknownst to patients, people who aren’t board-certified plastic surgeons are substituting non regulated fillers for hydrogel. Even dangerous silicone derived from bathroom caulk are used in some instances.
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects?
While the FDA has approved dermal fillers similar to hydrogel, it has only approved fat injections and butt implants for the purpose of butt enhancements. Having established that its use in this manner would not be condoned by any reputable medical professional, let’s take a look at some of the side effects of hydrogel. Note that symptoms may appear immediately after injection but could also appear years after the procedure.
Here’s how hydrogel butt injections can impact your body in the long-term:
- Hardening can be caused by granulomas or masses of tissue that develop due to the presence of a foreign substance, an infection or inflammation. When administered in unsafe doses, hydrogel can cause the body to attack the substance, leading to the formation of hardened tissue. These hard formations are uncomfortable and leave the butt looking flat and unnatural.
- Open wounds and sores can form when the incision or openings become infected. An injection of this foreign substance can lead to infection, which will then take time to heal.
- Troubled breathing is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of illegitimate butt injections along with shakiness and a faster heart rate. Usually, patients report shortness of breath not long after the procedure.
- Migration of the substance can trigger allergic reactions, joint pain and fatigue if the material travels from the buttocks to other parts of the body.
- Botched results, including deformed, lumpy, hard and oddly-shaped derrieres as well as discoloration are far too common final products of a back-alley butt injection.
- Chronic health issues, such as chronic respiratory failure, chronic inflammation, chronic headaches, chronic pain and other lifelong health conditions can be the end result of these procedures.
- Death can occur due to respiratory issues and kidney failure as the foreign substance migrates. There are cases where people who were unknowingly injected with silicone, thinking it was a safer substance, died after treatment.
Can You Correct a Butt Augmentation Gone Wrong?
Recently, singer K. Michelle went on Dr. Oz to have her botched butt injections removed on national TV after admitting that she had opted to risk getting them done illegally.
K. Michelle’s surgeon reported that he was able to successfully remove about 40% of the foreign material, but noted that it was impossible to remove it all.
As previously mentioned, much of this unsafe substance can easily integrate into the tissues of the gluteal areas, making the material difficult to separate and extract.
The high demand for such corrective procedures spurred a new kind of surgery aimed at removing the scar tissue caused by the injections while also alleviating some of the burden on the immune system.
Doctors report that the new procedure is designed to preserve as much of the surrounding skin as possible yet eliminate a good portion of the damaged skin. Getting rid of a portion of the foreign material helps the body restore its depleted white blood cell count after fighting off the foreign material for so long.
If you suspect that you may have been injected with an illegal or harmful substance, seek medical help immediately. Medical professionals are able to determine the type of foreign material and the risk of serious side effects through MRI scans.
Legitimate Butt Augmentations
There are safer and more effective ways to achieve a fuller butt, including buttock implants and fat transfers, otherwise known as the Brazilian butt lift. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) states that plastic surgery can help improve the shape and tone of the underlying tissue supporting the butt through implants. The procedure is relatively safe but does come with the typical risks present with most kinds of cosmetic surgery.
The Brazilian butt lift is considered a safe way to plump the butt. Instead of using a synthetic substance, a plastic surgeon uses your own body fat – taken from the tummy for instance – to fill out the buttocks. The fact that these lifts get rid of undesirable fat cells in notoriously stubborn areas at the same time may be one reason why fat grafting increased in popularity by some 26% from 2015 to 2016.
The Bottom Line on Hydrogel Butt Injections
The most important thing to note about hydrogel buttock injections is that no legitimate medical expert will administer them.
Never undergo any physical or cosmetic procedure outside of a medical office and be sure to do all of your homework on any cosmetic surgery or treatment before taking the plunge. Stick to tried-and-true medical procedures performed by reputable, board-certified plastic surgeons.
» Looking for a reputable butt enhancement surgeon? Use Zwivel’s directory to start an online consultation with a plastic surgeon in your area.
- Environmental Protection Agency. Acrylamide. epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/acrylamide.pdf
- CBS News. (2015, June 18). New surgery helps repair botched buttock injections. cbsnews.com/news/botched-buttock-injections-repair-surgery