- Apr 22, 2003
Read the full article at NYTimes.[imgleft]http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/04/17/nyregion/17silicone.inline.jpg[/imgleft]Like almost every woman, Fiordaliza Pichardo just wanted to look beautiful, so a few years ago, she began getting silicone injections from a woman she met through a friend in order to plump up her thighs and derriere.
She never expected to pay such a high price for her looks.
In March, a day after receiving an injection, Ms. Pichardo, 43, died of what the medical examiner later determined was a silicone embolism in her lungs.
The city’s health department fears that the illegal use of silicone as an alternative to cosmetic surgery is on the rise. The city’s poison control center has received three calls in the last 10 months from doctors who have treated patients injected with silicone; Ms. Pichardo’s case was not among them. In the previous two years, there were only two such cases.
Health department officials say there may be other cases that have gone unreported, since doctors are not legally obligated to report silicone poisoning or even death, and since silicone is hard to detect through X-rays or CT scans. The department was planning Thursday to send an advisory by e-mail and fax to thousands of doctors advising them to watch for silicone poisoning cases.
Nationally, reports of buttock enhancement using silicone and similar thick liquids have surfaced from the Northeast to Miami, and the Food and Drug Administration is also planning to issue a warning on the dangers of such practices, Siobhan DeLancey, a spokeswoman, said Thursday.
“This seems to be kind of an underground occurrence, so it’s difficult to get numbers of actual events and to know exactly what these people are being injected with,” Ms. DeLancey said. “It’s important to note that none of the products that are reportedly being used are approved for this purpose.”
Ms. DeLancey said silicone was not approved for injection into tissues at all, only for use in the eyes and in certain implants where it is contained and cannot leak into tissue. She said the F.D.A. had the ability to conduct criminal investigations, and would encourage victims to come forward “so that we can document the problem.”