EDINBURG, Texas – The desire to look like a celebrity with a voluptuous figure doesn’t come cheaply.
At least one woman in the Rio Grande Valley has died from black market injections of silicone, the same substance used to caulk windows and doors.
Dr. Filiberto Rodriguez is among cosmetic surgeons in the Rio Grande Valley who have treated the survivors, seeking to somehow repair the damage.
“Silicone injections for face, breast, buttock or thigh augmentation are not cosmetic surgery. They are illegal and dangerous,” Rodriguez said.
He said there are no shortcuts, as many of his patients discovered.
Rodriguez said they risked disfigurement, deadly embolisms in their lungs, amputations of their limbs and even mastectomies.
He sees women who have had large quantities of silicone injected multiple times.
Two women in South Texas who are believed responsible for the illegal procedures now await trial in separate cases.
Elva Navarro is charged with murder. Nohemi Gonzalez is accused of aggravated assault. Both were indicted for practicing medicine without a license.
Navarro already had been convicted in federal court of violating U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
Although she was given the maximum of three years in federal prison, Rodriguez said he couldn’t believe it.
“She ended up killing somebody,” Rodriguez said. “This is a real public health issue. There are a lot of unscrupulous people who are not licensed physicians. They’re criminals.”
Rodriguez said they prey on women who cannot afford the surgery that can cost thousands of dollars.
“You can’t go to someone whose going to say, ‘I can do it for you in my hotel room for $600,’ where you have no idea what they’re injecting you with,” Rodriguez said.
He said legitimate procedures involve FDA approved silicone implants put inside the muscle or transferring fat from another part of the body.
Rodriguez said patients should seek board certified cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgeons who have hospital privileges to perform those procedures.
Reprinted from KSAT.com