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Bodacious back-alley booties can have deadly consequences

Wednesday - 5/2/2012, 5:43pm  ET

silicone
This photo illustrates the hard, leathery skin that can result from adulterated silicone injections. (Courtesy of Dr. Meka Onyewu)
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WASHINGTON - Kim Kardashian has one. Nikki Minaj does too. And women who want their own bodacious backsides are heading to clandestine "pumping parties" to get them.

But the done-in-secret, strictly word-of-mouth practice of having liquid silicone injected directly into the buttocks has deadly potential.

"These women now are getting silicone directly injected into their gluteus by people they don't even know," says Dr. Meka Onyewu of Jamachi Spa in Silver Spring, Md., who has worked with women who've had the procedure and asked them how and where it was done.

"They're very secretive, they won't reveal the source."

A big part of the problem -- besides those giving the injections typically not having medical training -- is the liquid silicone is often adulterated. Motor oil and industrial grade silicone are some of the ingredients the injections can include, Onyewu says, and the body can't tolerate the impurities.

The body treats the silicone like a foreign substance and tries to clear it out. Because the silicone is in liquid form, it can migrate to other areas of the body. Sometimes, this can lead to kidney failure.

Health aside, there's also a risk that the procedure won't create a beautiful booty. The mixed injections can give skin a hard, leathery or dark look. Underneath the skin's surface, nodules can form. The weight of the material injected can cause skin to sag, resulting in a visibly lopsided derriere.

There have been cases nationally where women died as a result of the surgery, but Onyewu says an ugly aftermath from a botched job is far more common.

There's no easy surgical fix for deformations, Onyewu says. The best bet for anyone who wants cosmetic surgery is to steer clear of anyone who says he or she can offer a procedure secretly or at a hotel, and to look for a medical professional.

WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)