Despite the extreme health risks that plastic surgery pose, some people continue to flock to Colombian so-called “garage clinics” to carry out procedures.
In Colombia’s salsa capital Cali, two university students aged 19 and 21, arrived at a plastic surgery clinic suffering pain, swelling and a black colour on their buttocks. The diagnosis: these side effects were the result of applying biopolymers, El Tiempo reports.
The sisters are currently undergoing treatment to control the swelling and pain, and later they will undergo a procdure to remove some of the material injected into them.
Alfonso Riascos Villegas, plastic surgeon at the Imbanaco Medical Center, says that the application of biopolymers and all kinds of substances in order to augment the buttocks or undertake a “butt lift” ranks top among malpractice of plastic surgery procedures performed by staff without proper training in Colombia.
Second place goes to the injection of substances in the face – forehead, cheekbones, lips and wrinkles – for the purpose of rejuvenation.
Riascos says that the third cause of consultation involves liposculpture being performed poorly and in many cases leads to the affected person being admitted to hospital.
This is followed by surgery for breast augmentation and also for applying incorrect substances in “garage clinics”, and sometimes even prostheses, carried out by staff without proper plastic surgery training.
Experts explain the consequences
Lina Triana, president of the Colombian Society of Plastic Surgery, says that “the worst is when it comes to biopolymers as they cannot be removed entirely and they go on to provoke allergic reactions for the rest of (the patient’s) life.”
She added that all plastic surgery is not without some degree of risk but these are minimized when performed by appropriately trained staff, with the assistance anesthesiologists and the necessary medical equipment and implements necessary to treat any type of situation.
Consultations for irregular plastic surgery have increased recently after the rise of interventions carried out in December and during the first few months of the year. Patients often attend clinics which lack staff who possess the knowledge and experience required for procedures.
Triana adds that the country carries out about 440,000 cosmetic surgery and nonsurgical procedures, placing Colombia in seventh place worldwide for cosmetic surgery procedures.
Despite recommendations and the extensively documented botched cases reported by the media, desperate patients are still going to “garage clinics” and less-than salubrious clinics to carry out these procedures.
Riascos notes that there is no measure of how many procedures are performed without proper conditions:
“In the region (Cali), there are 90 plastic surgeons and more than 700 in the country (Colombia as a whole), but general practitioners and those from other areas are performing these procedures. It’s a great risk to go to people without specialized training,”
According to doctors, clinics currently face two or three cases a week of people suffering the consequences of malpractice, while at other times of the year there might only be two or three treated a month.
There has been a reported increase in young girls flocking to clinics to enquire about procedures, as well as those from the LGBTI community.
Although specialists refrain from specifying the costs of the proceedings, as they vary according to the characteristics of each patient, liposuction or breast augmentation may cost between 7 and 10 million pesos (between $2,000 and $3,000).
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