Plastic surgeons and medical boards have long-warned against traveling abroad for risky cosmetic procedures without doing proper research, but several of these patients chose to take their chances. Others simply went off recommendations from friends. Many of these patients expressed immediate regret, and in many cases, it's easy to see why.
Lyndsay Colosimo had traveled to Colombia from her home in Florida for a tummy tuck, breast reduction and butt lift. But what she would up with were near-fatal complications and life-altering scars. Colosimo said she knew she made a mistake immediately after the surgery, but ignored the red flags, like when a nurse used massage oil to push the infection out of her wounds because she just wanted to feel better. Once she got back to the U.S., she went straight to the hospital where she was diagnosed with an E. coli infection in her breast and told she needed more surgery to fix her stomach.
“I was seeking perfection but now I look back and realize I was good enough," Colosimo said.
Lauren Winstanley took a friend's recommendation for a salon that offered low-budget lip fillers, but really wishes she hadn't. The 18-year-old landed in the hospital for a week after her lips swelled to look like “rock solid sausages” and began leaking “green and yellow pus.” Winstanley had to undergo surgery to remove the infected fillers and later added that she was put off from fixing the damage left behind.
She isn't the first to warn others about choosing fillers based on low-pricing, but hopefully, she's among the last.
Here's the journey of a 23-year-old in Russia who earned the nickname "Popeye" due to his abnormally large biceps: Kirill Tereshin had used “petroleum jelly” injections, or Synthol oil, to enhance the size of his arms, which wound up killing the muscle tissue and requiring several surgeries to remove. Tereshin was reportedly told he could die or face amputation if he did not have the corrective procedure.
His doctor said Tereshin was “lucky” that the injections did not affect any other parts of his body.
It was the recommendation of a friend that drove Angela Pedrosa into her surgeon's office and left her with a lopsided rear. After receiving 300 milliliters of a substance injected into her buttocks, with left her in severe pain and immediately affected her health. An infection then set in and rotted away her flesh and tissues before developing into sepsis.
A different team of surgeons cut away the infection and pumped her full of antibiotics, but the damage has left her with a lopsided behind full of scars. She now faces reconstruction surgery that will involve taking fat from her stomach to reshape her butt. She's also terrified that the reconstruction will not work, and has already been dealing with complications from the first steps.
In another tale of tourism surgery "don'ts," Beatrix Searles, from Montana, forked out $4,000 on liposuction in Colombia last October. But just days after the operation, the 53-year-old said the flesh around her wound began to rot and turn black. Searles has since undergone seven surgeries — to try and rectify her "botched" surgery abroad — and has been left with nasty scars across her stomach after her stitches burst open. She claims doctors told her that the surgeons in Colombia may have failed to follow medical hygiene procedures.
"I can't look like this forever — I feel like I can't go out into public or wear a bikini or go to the beach," she said. "It's destroyed my life and I hope those responsible get brought to justice."
6. Instagram model looks to remove illegal butt injections, warns others against procedure: 'Don’t do it!'
Courtney Barnes, who goes by the Instagram handle @MsMiamiTV, is urging her followers and fans to avoid "black market pumping parties" after she got illegal butt implants at just such a party, leaving her butt "discolored" and "sagging." Barnes said she sought the 59-inch rear back at age 22, but now, at 35, she regrets what kind of attention it brings. She also said it may cost upwards of $20,000 to correct the damage done.
“Just because it looks good does not mean it’s healthy," she said on "Hooked on the Look" while addressing a group of young women considering the procedure. "And I just want to say don’t do it. Don’t do it!”
Holly McCulloch claims she forked over $3,500 for a breast implant procedure and an all-inclusive stay at a resort in Turkey but was left feeling like a "total freak" with a lopsided chest. She also claims that at one point, a 7-centimeter hole along her surgical wound started smelling “like rotten meat,” and then she noticed her implant had started poking through the skin.
She said she found the clinic through an ad on Instagram, and despite being immediately suspicious, but she went ahead with the procedure anyway. She's since had the implant removed, and was scheduled to undergo a third procedure to have another implant, this time at a hospital near her home in Manchester.