Buttocks enhancement procedures can cost thousands, health issues

In 2021, U.S. doctors conducted more than 61,000 butt augmentation procedures.

December 9, 2022, 9:06 PM

Since she was young, Taryn Quinterri always wanted to have a bigger butt. "I wanted to be thicker," she told ABC News. "I didn't like how skinny I was."

Yet her desire for body modification would not only cost her thousands of dollars, she says it would lead her to seek a procedure from a mother-daughter duo, with no proper medical training, whose surgeries allegedly resulted in the death of at least one woman.

A new episode of "IMPACT x Nightline" looks at the dark side of butt augmentation procedures, a trend that is only getting more popular.

Quinterri shared her story with ABC News, which eventually included traveling to Colombia to have the material that had been injected into her buttock partially removed.

In 2021, U.S. doctors conducted more than 61,000 butt augmentation procedures, according to statistics from The Aesthetic Society, a figure that is up more than 37% from the year prior.

"It's an epidemic that's actually getting worse as social media is becoming more popular," Dr. Tansar Mir, a New York-based plastic surgeon whose practice includes silicone removals, told ABC News.

The Food and Drug Administration strongly cautions against getting injectable silicone or filler in the buttocks, as well as against getting injected silicone or any type of filler for large-scale body contouring or enhancement. While certain injectable dermal fillers are approved for some use in the face to enhance lips and cheeks, neither silicone nor dermal fillers are approved for buttock injections.

The FDA warns that "injectable silicone, can be dangerous and can cause serious injury or even death." And while a Brazilian Butt Lift surgery, which uses a fat transfer, isn't illegal it still can be dangerous. The Aesthetic Surgery Journal says that the BBL has the highest death rate of any cosmetic surgery.

PHOTO: Plastic surgeon Dr. Alexander Ramírez Folleco during a consultation with Taryn Quinterri.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Alexander Ramírez Folleco during a consultation with Taryn Quinterri.
ABC News

Quinterri said that after years of research and getting recommendations from friends who were pleased with their own results, she selected a Los Angeles based mother-daughter duo, Libby Adame and her daughter Alicia Galaz.

Both Adame and Galaz appeared in court in September and pled not guilty to murder and practicing medicine without a certification.

Libby Adame's lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Alicia Galaz's lawyer told ABC News "As much as Ms. Alicia Galaz would love to sit down for an interview and share her side of the story, now is not the appropriate time given the pending criminal action. Ms. Galaz vigorously denies and disputes the charges against her and looks forward to her day in court."

"I loved it at first," Quinterri said of her injections. "I was great for like six months. Everything was amazing."

"Then all of a sudden I developed a rash and it was just on my butt cheeks," she said, "so I knew it was the injections and I knew something was wrong."

"The problems that people tend to have are autoimmune problems," said Dr. Mir. "They feel tired, They get back pain, they get burning and itching in their butt. Their legs feel heavy and numb. They have difficulty walking."

"Sometimes it's three weeks from the time of injections," he said, "sometimes it's 30 years later."

Adame and Galaz, who allegedly performed Quinterri's procedure, would eventually be charged with the murder of Karissa Rajpaul, who died while receiving silicone butt-augmenting injections in 2019.

Quinterri recognizes she could potentially be suffering from the implications of her decision for the rest of her life. "The product could migrate into different parts of my body," she said.

"I have to tell my mom that I might not be around to take care of her when she's older," she said.

"I paid, you know, under $5,000 to have this done," she said. "And it's costing me my life at this point."

Quinterri has not filed a complaint but she says this conclusion is based on consultations with medical specialists, and a general consensus from the medical profession.

PHOTO: Taryn Quinterri during an interview with ABC News.
Taryn Quinterri during an interview with ABC News.
ABC News

Quinterri eventually decided to travel 3,000 miles to Colombia to get surgery to remove the injected material.

The doctor there, plastic surgeon Dr. Alexander Ramírez Folleco, told ABC News he sees on average two to three Americans per week.

"One of the people that specialize in silicone injection removals told me that what I had done to my body was worse than cancer," she said.

Despite the thousands of dollars she has spent, the thousands of miles she has travelled, and the health risks of this body augmentation procedure, she told ABC News she still supports cosmetic surgery.

"You just got to go the legal route," she said.

Quinterri is currently saving up for another removal procedure, she said, which she hopes to get in California next year.

Based off the reporting of Aude Soichet, Davi Merchan and Kandis Mascall who produced this piece.