A rash of women in Arizona landed in their local emergency room with massive mouth swelling and infection after they each sought cheap lip fillers at the same Maricopa home. Three of the women, who sought lip fillers at separate appointments on August 3, told Fox 10 Phoenix that the woman who performed the procedures claimed she was certified to do so, and came highly recommended.
Ashleigh Villaverde, who said she had gotten fillers from the woman in the past, said she could immediately tell that something was wrong.
“As soon as I went this time, I knew something was wrong because each time she injected it hurt so bad,” Villaverde told Fox 10 Phoenix. “That has never happened before – they’ve swelled up, but it’s never been to the point where I couldn’t even touch them.”
Lip fillers, which are a type of dermal filler, can help diminish facial lines and restore volume and fullness in the face, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Some of the associated risks may include acne-like skin eruptions, bruising, bleeding and swelling at the injection site, infection at the injection site, lumps, redness or even skin necrosis.
The women told Fox 10 Phoenix that the unidentified woman, who allegedly only performs the procedure on Saturdays, was charging $60 per milliliter of filler, whereas a certified cosmetic surgeon may charge upwards of $600 depending on the substance used for the entire procedure.
“Obviously it was cheaper, yea -- that’s not the smartest thing to do is go the cheap route,” said Alexandra Garavanta, who told Fox 10 Phoenix that her lips had swelled within an hour of the procedure.
Fox 10 Phoenix said that a police notice was tacked to the door of the address provided by the women, and that local law enforcement said they are aware of the allegations. Nayhley McLaughlin told the news outlet that her emergency room physician said eight others had visited with similar symptoms in recent days, and that they aren’t sure what kind of substance was injected into their lips.
“We don’t know if it’s going to have a good result or a bad result – we don’t know if it’s going to leave scars, we don’t know if it’s going to leave us ugly,” McLaughlin told Fox 10 Phoenix. “We just don’t know – we don’t know if we’re going to start to rot.”
Similar instances stemming from “lip filler parties” or people claiming to be certified to administer Botox or other cosmetic procedures for a lower price have resulted in horror infections worldwide. Tracey Bates, a mother of three in Ireland, said she spent $180 on lip fillers that left her with infected sores that started oozing pus just days after the procedure.
Another woman, Jessica Bennett, of the U.K., actually uploaded a video of her lips oozing yellow pus after she, too, sought cheap fillers.
I’m not saying ‘don’t do it,’ I’m just saying ‘be careful who you go to,’” Bennett had told Nottinghampost.com. “It could be anybody doing it who just has some good photos on Instagram.”
Bennett’s guidance is not unlike that of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which stresses the importance of being under the care of a certified plastic surgeon who understands the risks associated with filler injections, and is trained to deal with any potential complications.
“Although tissue augmentation with dermal fillers is a quick, in-office procedure that can produce a marked improvement in restoring facial fullness and a more youthful appearance, effective and safe use requires a physician with specialized training and a thorough understanding of facial anatomy to recommend and inject an appropriate filler,” according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “Significant complications can occur with dermal fillers, as with any medical procedure, so being treated by a board-certified plastic surgeon is essential for your safety and good outcomes.”