May 1, 2008 -- Considering getting a cosmetic procedure? The CDC urges you to make sure that the practitioner who performs that procedure is licensed.
A new CDC report tells a cautionary tale about three women who wound up in the hospital after getting liquid "silicone" injections to their buttocks by an unlicensed practitioner at a North Carolina clinic.
All of the women went to the same clinic last December and saw the same practitioner, who had trained as a radiology technician and was giving soft-tissue filler injections without medical supervision.
According to the CDC, the women had heard of the clinic through Internet chat rooms and chose it based on price and a belief that because it was a "clinic," their risk would be lower.
Clinic records show that the women got liquid silicone injections to their buttocks, but health officials weren't able to confirm that the injections really were silicone. No liquid silicone products are approved by the FDA for cosmetic injection.
Within an hour of the procedure, the women developed symptoms including nausea, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, lightheadedness, and purple-colored urine. The women were hospitalized and diagnosed with acute kidney (renal) failure.
The women were hospitalized for 10-14 days. Two required dialysis -- one woman got dialysis for five weeks, another got dialysis for one week. All three women recovered.
The women's cases "serve to remind consumers and public health officials of the substantial risks associated with cosmetic procedures performed by unlicensed practitioners," the CDC states in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.