Thanks to well-endowed stars such as Vida Guerra, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and many more, curvaceous derrieres have never been more popular. The demand for bigger buttocks globally means some women will even have banned injections to achieve them, putting their health at risk.
It is with tears in her eyes that Denny from Venezuela recounts how she woke up one day to find a bump the size of a football in her lower back. She could not walk or bend down, and the pain was intense.
Even before she saw a doctor, Denny, a 35-year-old Venezuelan lawyer, knew the bump must be a side-effect of liquid silicone that had been injected in her buttocks. It has moved into her back and was putting pressure on her spine.
Buttock injections are one of many common cosmetic procedures Venezuelan women undergo to achieve what society deems to be beautiful.
But as mother-of-two Apryl Brown knows only too well attempting to get the look using silicone filler can have catastrophic results.
Apryl says she hopes others will learn from her harrowing experience of cowboy surgery
Instead of a curvier behind, Mrs Brown was left in agony and eventually had to have her buttocks, legs and arms amputated after a black market practitioner injected her with industrial grade silicone of the sort commonly used in bathroom sealant.
At first, everything seemed fine but just months after having the injections, the pain began. ‘They [Apryl’s buttocks] started to get hard, and then they started to get discoloured,’ she explains. ‘By 2006, it was starting to itch and by 2007, the pain started.
But things continued to get worse. ”I had gone to this party one Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning and thought “oh my God, Apryl!”. I just couldn’t pull myself together,’ she remembers. ’That night was the roughest night of my life. I literally scratched all of the skin off my buttocks. My nails pulled all of the skin off my body. And when my sister came in, and she saw that, it freaked her out.’Apryl was rushed to hospital, where surgeons discovered that a massive infection caused by the impure silicone had caused her body to go into severe shock.
Gruesome: The damage to Apryl’s backside following the botched jab. Her buttocks were later amputated
‘The only end point on silicone injections is removal,’ explains the doctor who saved Apryl’s life, James Jens Black.
After a month in a coma, Apryl awoke to a very different world. The drugs that saved Apryl’s life had diverted blood flow to her essential organs, keeping her heart beating and liver functioning as her body fought off the infection.
But her hands and feet, starved of oxygen while the drugs did their work, had died. ‘I just moved the cover and I saw my right foot and I thought “oh my God” and it was that moment, that’s when it got real,’ remembers Apryl.
Leading surgeon, Dr Massimiliano Marcellino of the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery, commented: “We strongly discourage our patients from undergoing buttock injections.”
She also hopes others will learn from her story and offers this advice to those contemplating surgery: ‘Don’t ever do anything without researching it and definitely don’t ever do anything on the black market.
“It’s not about how you fall down. It’s not about making choices that are not catastrophic. It’s about knowing how to get up.”
“And the only thing that will ever make you feel better about yourself is feeling loved. That you are enough, no matter how it looks, what it is or how it feels, that it’s enough.”