It all started a few years ago when handsome Argentinian-born Daniel Serrano made a splash among the Hollywood elite when he announced he had a concoction better than botox; a youth serum that could be injected into wrinkly, sagging faces for a fresh, brightening lift. Priscilla Presley joined other celebs like Larry King's wife Shawn King and Lionel Richie's wife Diane Richie at "injection parties" in their homes where the purported doctor did his work.
But there was one big problem. Serrano wasn't really a doctor. And the substance he was injecting wasn't FDA-approved – in fact, it was an auto mechanic type silicone used to grease car parts. Dr. Jiffy Lube – as Serrano is now known in the blogosphere – served eighteen months in federal prison for illegally injecting the grease and botching up patient faces like Ms. Presley's.
"Hollywood is all about the next best thing when it comes to plastic surgery," says Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon Dr. John Anastasatos, who has personally corrected disfigurement from the bad silicone injections.
Blinded by the craving to be the first to get the best in a town where looks are everything, even otherwise intelligent women don't always do their homework. "Just to give you an example, I've had to operate on a prominent Beverly Hills gynecologist who also fell victim to the same type of injections," adds Anastasatos.
Because silicone sticks to the tissue it gets injected into, it's often impossible to fully remove and correct the distortion without causing more trauma to the area.
"Silicone injections are bad no matter where they're injected. Unfortunately, it's practiced in many South American and Asian countries – I frequently see patients who have been injected in the breasts and buttocks come to me for removal and reconstruction. But this silicone should not be confused with silicone gel implants, which are a safe FDA-approved practice," says Anastasatos.
For folks over the age of 30, there are many safe alternatives to fill wrinkles and creases; Dr. Anastasatos recommends consulting a board-certified plastic surgeon to learn which FDA-approved fillers would work best.
"Always inquire about the name of the substance you'll be injected with, and do some research on your own. The companies who make commercially available injectables have plenty of info available to the public on the internet. And patients can always check with the FDA which is a valuable resource for both patients and good doctors," advises Anastasatos.