Big Mouth Gets a More Literal Meaning

Nov 25, 2011 3:26pm

 Kristina Rei of St. Petersburg, Russia, hated her thin lips. To combat the body part she despised most in herself, Rei underwent 100 lip injections. Her inspiration was the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, she said, and she still had not finished magnifying the facial feature she deemed too thin.

“I think I look fantastic,” Rei, a nail technician, told the U.K.’s Sun. “I loved Jessica Rabbit’s huge lips. She was my idea of the perfect woman.”

Rei, 22, told the Sun she’d been teased in school — kids called her ugly — and she believed larger, fuller lips would make her  more beautiful.

Rei has reportedly spent $6000 on the procedures.

“Sometimes strangers shout names at me in the street, like big lips, but I don’t care,” Rei told the Sun. “I want to go more extreme. I want to look like a cartoon character.”

“I am addicted to it – I love it,” she continued.

The line between normal and bizarre has become blurred in the cosmetic surgery field, said Dr. Garry Brody, a professor of plastic surgery at University of Southern California Medical Center. While historically, humans always have been “decorated” animals, through clothing, jewelry, tribal and body art, the modern world now allows for extreme changes, quicker and more permanent. It is important to fully understand the repercussions of all kinds of plastic surgery before going under the knife or needle, he said.

“There is no specific harm [receiving these lip injections], except for the rare risk of infection or if the material injected is not medical grade,” said Brody. “There are materials that are slowly absorbed that require periodic replacement and others that are permanent.  The permanent ones are impossible to remove and are a disaster if they get infected.  I personally won’t use anything that can’t be removed if necessary [or]… if they change their mind.”

While many may jump to the conclusion that Rei has body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness in which a person is consumed with a perceived defect on a part of the body, Brody said it’s too difficult to tell whether Rei suffers from the condition without fully examining her.

“Ethical plastic surgeons would probably not inject to this extent, but it is unfair to judge without more information [on her] motivation,” said Brody. “There are occasions where exceeding the publicly acknowledged norm is appropriate.  I have seen and treated such patients.”

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