The illegal and dangerous practice of injecting toxic material into the buttocks for cosmetic purposes has surfaced once more in Florida, this time in Miami.
According to a report by Miami ABC News affiliate WSVN-TV, 54-year-old Ana Josefa Sevilla has been charged with practicing medicine without a license. Police told reporters that three months ago Sevilla lured a woman seeking cosmetic enhancement of her buttocks to her place of practice, a Miami spa. Sevilla allegedly claimed to be a licensed doctor who practiced in Los Angeles and had since begun offering services in Miami.
According to the alleged victim, whose identity has not been released, Sevilla charged $1,100 to perform several injections in her buttocks, without anesthesia. The woman says the procedure was botched, and she had to be rushed to the hospital to undergo lifesaving surgery and nearly lost her leg.
Sevilla was arrested and is now out on $5,000 bond, according to local reports.
The case is not the first of its kind in Florida. In January 2009, authorities in Tampa arrested Sharhonda Lindsay, 33, for allegedly injecting two acquaintances with a product believed to be a homemade combination of commercial silicone gel and saline. The women apparently went to Lindsay to enhance the appearance of their buttocks, according to police reports.
According to Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County, Fla., Sheriff's Department, one of the two women who received the injections in the Tampa incident paid $500 for 40 injections into her buttocks, and the other paid $250 for 20 injections. Lindsay -- who is not a doctor -- was also charged with two counts of practicing medicine without a license.
The procedures are not limited to any one state, however. Last March, New Jersey doctors uncovered a black market of cosmetic butt enhancement injections when half a dozen women showed up at hospitals with skin infections and abscesses on their bottoms.
The reports suggest buttocks enhancement is a growing trend, as women strive to emulate celebrities known for ample posteriors.
At licensed medical practices, the procedures make up only a small number of all cosmetic procedures performed. Only 4,996 buttock or gluteal implants were performed in 2009, compared to 2 million Botox injections and 311,957 breast augmentations.
But buttock augmentation was up 37.5 percent in 2009 from the previous year and buttock lifts were up 34.6 percent, according to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The difference between procedures offered by a reputable cosmetic surgeon and those offered by an unlicensed practitioner are immense and concern not only technique, but also the substances in the syringe.
"Usually it's industrial silicone, it's the stuff that you buy at Home Depot," said Dr. Renato Saltz, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Other doctors have also seen reports of caulk and petroleum jelly injected by black market cosmetic procedure rings.
While infection and toxicity to tissues at the site of injection are a concern, in many cases the injections can even be life-threatening. Saltz warned that injecting unsanitary, unregulated materials can frequently cause serious medical problems.
"They cause tissue death, they can migrate to your lungs and kill you," Saltz said.