A study of individuals who underwent illegal silicone injections revealed a high fatality rate from pulmonary silicone embolism, or obstruction of the lungs. The study was presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"The illegal use of fluid silicone is a practice that carries life-threatening risks, and the community should be aware of the complications," said Carlos S. Restrepo, M.D., director of chest radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.
Dr. Restrepo and colleagues compiled the imaging findings of 44 patients with pulmonary embolism that resulted from illegal silicone injection, constituting the largest case series to date.
Seven patients who presented to the hospital with respiratory distress due to illicit silicone injection were studied, along with an additional 37 cases from the literature. Patients’ demographic information, clinical presentation, imaging findings and outcome were analyzed.
"Twenty-five of the patients were transsexual males, and 19 were females," Dr. Restrepo said. "The most common sites of injection were the breast, hips, buttocks, vagina, chest and arms."
All 44 patients experienced respiratory difficulties after receiving the injections, and nearly half experienced fever. One-quarter of the patients died from resultant bleeding in the lungs.
Silicone that is injected improperly travels through the bloodstream and causes blood to coagulate in the lungs, creating circulatory obstructions that can be immediately life-threatening if not identified and treated quickly. The imaging findings of pulmonary silicone embolism include dark, hazy patches in the lung tissue on x-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans.
"Transsexual males in particular should be checked closely for signs of pulmonary embolism when they show symptoms of respiratory distress and fever," Dr. Restrepo emphasized. Male transsexuals often undergo cosmetic procedures of the breasts, genitalia and other areas to make them appear more feminine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned silicone injections in 1992, but people still seek them out because they are cheaper and easier to get than professional plastic surgery or hormone therapy and provide immediate results. In surgical clinics, transgender patients are often required to undergo psychological testing before receiving treatment.
Unfortunately, the illicit nature of the injections makes it hard to estimate how common they actually are. However, the increasing popularity of the "pumping party"—where a host will inject a number of people with silicone in the same sitting—indicates both the demand and the ready availability of the substance.
Dr. Restrepo expressed the difficulties of conducting long-term follow-up with patients who present with these complications, because of the underground nature of the practice. It is hoped, he said, that by making the public and the medical community aware of the symptoms and severe consequences of illegal silicone use, mortality risks and patient outcomes from this clandestine practice will improve.
Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy