Dermatologists warn against silicone injections

By Victoria Lavelle

surgery

“If only I could turn back the hands of time,” said Philadelphia native Rajee Narinesingh. “I would have done things much different knowing what I know today, rather than rushing into the unknown.”

Narinesingh described several visits she made in 2005 to O’neal Morris, an unlicensed doctor in Miami claiming to specialize in low price silicone beauty injections. It’s those encounters with Morris which she alleges left her scarred and disfigured.

“We all want to be the most attractive individuals that we can be,” Narinesingh said. “I was like so many others who seek cosmetic transformations. I wanted speedy results that fit my budget, and Morris offered that to me in his smooth talking sales pitch.”

Narinesingh, who said she was unaware of the hidden dangers, was very pleased with the initial results of the silicone injections. To that degree, she deemed it safe to continue treatments under Morris’ care for another six months.

“It wasn’t until I woke up one morning to my cheeks swollen from a burning rash that I became alarmed,” Narinesingh recalled. “I panicked when I was unable to reach Morris, and each waking day I grew horrified by the realization that ice and inflammation creams were not aiding my situation.”

According to Narinesingh, her fears became reality after seeing a WSVN-Miami news report of Morris’s arrest for manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license.

“Imagine my grief as I learned Morris was charged for killing a patient during buttocks injections that prosecutors claimed was a concoction of Fix-o-Flat tire repair and industrial silicone likely purchased at Home Depot,” Narinesingh said. “In the following weeks, tumors formed on my face, and turned hard as concrete.”

Narinesingh isn’t alone in her beauty enhancing crave. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports injected augmentation as one of the fastest growing cosmetic surgical procedures with over 4,000 procedures in 2014.

Lip procedures are the second-fastest growing facial procedure in the United States. Unlike Narinesingh’s case, these are silicone-free, legal injections performed by board certified plastic surgeons.

In the United States, cosmetic silicone injections are not approved by the FDA. Only one liquid silicone product is currently FDA-approved for treating a retinal disorder usually associated with infectious disease patients.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery issued the 2015 annual “Emerging Technology Report” which warns of the many possible side effects from silicone injections. Such complications include granuloma formation manifesting as firm to rock hard inflamed nodules, lymphatic obstruction manifesting as an orange texture, migration, discoloring skin, cutaneous necrosis, and pigmentary abnormalities over the injection site.

The report also cautions that adverse events may appear months to years after silicone is injected and carry the risk of internal complications such as kidney and liver failure.

The annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in 2013 at the University of Texas Health Science Center reported a 12 percent increase in the number of patients who received liquid silicone injections that later died from pulmonary silicone embolism.

Carlos S. Restrepo, M.D., the director of chest radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center further advised, “The illegal use of fluid silicone is a practice that carries life-threatening risks, so the people should be aware of the complications before they seek vanity for a bargain value.”

Many years have passed, though Narinesingh admits the scars of the incident will always remain fresh on her mind.

“After O’neal’s arrest, I started making numerous appearances on television talk shows nationally and internationally, sharing my botched cosmetic injection story with the world,” Narinesingh said. “As the media helped my story reach the masses, I witnessed how it tugged the heartstrings of so many.”

Narinesingh explained her television appearances were what eventually led to her being discovered by the hit reality television show, Botched, on the E! Network.

According to Narinesingh, after years of being labeled “Elephant Woman” and “Cement Face,” she underwent corrective cosmetic surgery with world-renowned cosmetic surgeons, Terry Dubrow, M.D. and Paul Nassif, M.D.

In May 2016, at the age of 48, Narinesingh said she became a whole new woman. Featured in a new segment from Barcroft TV, Narinesingh showed off her new, improved appearance to a record-setting audience, according to E! TV.

“I’m ready for the world,” she announced smiling from ear to ear. “Now, I hope the world is ready for me!”

Contact Victoria Lavelle at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu