Woman dies in Philadelphia hotel after cosmetic buttocks injection

A 20-year old British woman died in a Hampton Inn near the Philadelphia airport on Tuesday, after silicone injections in her posterior didn’t go as planned. AOL News reports that Claudia Adusei and three friends arrived from London on Saturday, and were staying at the hotel. Adusei and one of the friends had visited Philadelphia last November to have their buttocks’ enhanced with silicone (are you noticing the absence of a medical professional or facility in this story?). The duo returned so Adusei could have additional buttocks injections, while her friend had hip augmentation (are you also noticing the irony of women actually paying money to make their butt and hips larger?).

Although silicone is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic use, the injection of liquid silicone for cosmetic purposes is prohibited. Silicone implants are medically approved for buttock augmentation, as is fat transfer.

Adusei received injections at noon on Monday, after two women showed up at the hotel to perform the procedures. Only one woman is believed to have performed the injections, and Adusei began complaining of chest pains approximately 12 hours after the procedure, according to police. The suspects vanished shortly thereafter.

Paramedics rushed Adusei to Mercy-Fitzgerald Hospital in Delaware County; court documents state she died around 1:30 a.m. A preliminary medical exam indicates that Adusei may have died from silicone entering her vascular system, which would have stopped her heart, says the Delaware County medical examiner. An autopsy must still be completed, and toxicology reports won’t be released for at least six weeks.

[Photo credit: Flickr user [lauren nelson]]”In order to make the buttocks big with liquid silicone, you have to inject a lot of it, and use a large-gauge needle because silicone is really thick–and this could easily get into the blood stream,” explains Dr. Steven Victor, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City who was consulted by FoxNews. “When this happens, there could be several outcomes. You could have a stroke because it could go to the brain. It could also travel to other vital organs like the lungs, the heart, the kidneys, and liver. This could be extremely detrimental, including death…We need to regulate this kind of activity better and educate the public.”

Tip: Before contemplating any type of cosmetic procedure or plastic surgery, contact the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to check credentials. Then do your homework. If something sounds too good–or cheap–to be true, it probably is.

As for the women who performed the procedures? Police are searching for them, after being tipped off that the procedures were arranged over the Internet. Lt. John Walker of the Philadelphia Police southwest detectives division says that it’s unknown at this time whether the “person performing that procedure is licensed or unlicensed.” The FDA as well as British embassy officials are also investigating Adusei’s death.

Cosmetic surgery tour group stopped at the border

A group of 23 Chinese women became stranded at the border of their own country when they tried to return home from a “cosmetic surgery vacation”.

The women had been visiting a Korean institute to get some work done on their eyes, nose and chin.

Obviously, they had not realized that this kind of work would make them look significantly different than their passport photo, and the entire group was stopped by immigration officials.

Eventually, document specialists were called in to examine their passport photos, and compare them with parts of their faces that had not had any work done. Of course, the healing wounds and stitches probably didn’t make things any easier. After several hours, the group was cleared to enter their own country.

Apparently, cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular with Chinese women, who pay upwards of $3000 to have their faces altered to look more “western”.

More people traveling to Malaysia to go under the knife

One type of tourism has managed to thrive despite the poor global economy. The prevalence of medical tourism is on the rise in countries like India and Malaysia.

Think that it is a little extreme to go under the knife abroad? Consider this: depending on the procedure, surgery in Malaysia can cost half of what it does in the US or UK. Many doctors in Malaysia are foreign trained and facilities are world-class. The rate of patient infection at clinics and hospitals in Malaysia is much less than it is in the UK.

Last year 341,288 foreign patients came to Malaysia for its medical services. Projections show a 30% increase each year over the next several years.

Who are these medical refugees? People without insurance, people whose insurance won’t cover a procedure, or those who want surgery for cosmetic purposes. In countries with socialized medical care, the wait list can be several years long. In Malaysia, minor surgery can be arranged and performed in a day or two. If health care costs in the west continue to rise, look for Malaysia’s medical tourism industry to grow with it.

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The Doctor is Out

Thailand used to be a destination for exotic travel, perhaps even for sex travel. Now, it is a well-established member of the ever-increasing ranks of surgery destinations. Yes, travel is not just for the well or even the well-heeled, now it’s for the wellness-seeking. too. It’s not just cosmetic surgery, either. While cosmetic surgery comprises about 80% of the travel, laser eye surgery and fertility treatments make up reasons to travel, too.

A while back, our own Erik Olsen blogged about a crazy offer to get extra frequent flyer miles to get your eyes done, and also posted an article by Casey Kittrell about medical tourism. Then, earlier this year, I wrote an article about growing cosmetic surgery tourism to the Czech Republic. Since then, the pace of this traffic has exploded, and the places have gotten even more exotic. So much so, it’s worth revisiting this issue: according to the National Coalition on Health Care, over half a million Americans left the country last year for medical or dental work. A recent article even noted a man sent by his North Carolina company to New Delhi, for gall bladder and rotator cuff surgery, to save $50,000!

Tired of travelocity? A host of surgery-tourism companies have set up shop all over the internet. Costmeticsurgerytravel.com squatted on a good web address, offering “medical travel concierge” service, as well as assurance that the doctors in foreign lands are “appropriate for your procedure or treatment.” Prague a little to run-of-the-mill for you? Try Tunisia, for example, through Cosmeticatravel.com. Or Turkey or El Salvador, through Medretreat.com. Or Brazil, through Medicaltourism.com. A quick google search turns up a page-topping, paid ad for medical tourism to “Bumrungrad” hospital. Is that where you get that hemorrhoid treatment done?

Follow up: The NY Times just posted an article on the same topic.