Are butt implants really worth it?

March 14, 2011 8:43:13 PM PDT
Skinny is out and curvy is in. The quest for the perfect figure is now focused on beefing up the backside.

The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports buttock augmentation is one of the top 10 cosmetic surgery trends of 2011. But the procedure can go terribly wrong and the outcome can be shocking.

Implants are one of several types of augmentation to add fullness and help create that classic hourglass shape. Look no further than some of Hollywood's hottest for proof that curves are in.

But here in the real world, who would willingly go to such extremes, to perfect their bodies? Actually, these procedures are much more common than you think.

"Let me tell you, it is one of the fastest growing major procedure in the industry; there's no doubt", cosmetic surgeon Dr. Anthony Nikko said. "Believe it or not, most of the patients we see are moms."

One Houston woman, who doesn't want to be identified, is a 42-year-old mother of two. After losing 80 pounds and getting into shape, her backside became her flat side. She decided to undergo a fat grafting procedure, in which fat was taken from her hips and injected into her bottom.

"My self confidence has sky rocketed," she said. "Now I see filled in, definitely smoother contour, lifted. It's an hour glass figure that I haven't seen since high school."

But not every experience is so positive.

Comparing her before and after shots, another Houston woman appears to have benefitted from implants -- firm pieces of silicon inserted into each side.

But she says she wants them gone.

"I'm not happy with it because it's very hard", she said. "My own experience is it was very painful, very painful."

The implant surgery has not only been painful but an utter nightmare for a third woman, April Stokley. She says just six months after her surgery, her implants shifted and drooped, and she says she's in constant agony.

"If I sit down for a while working or just sitting at home, it starts to hurt. I'll be driving in the car, and it hurts," she told ABC News."It sort of feels like they're sitting on a nerve."

Because of the high risk of complications and infection with these implants, more and more doctors are refusing to do them. Houston Dr. Mark Schusterman says part of the problem is the weight of the human body when you sit on the implants.

"Causes tremendous pressure on the implants and causes unusual reactions between the implants and the surrounding tissues. It increases the rate of infection; it increases the rate of the implants coming through the skin," Dr. Schusterman said.

As fewer doctors perform the surgery, the quest for the perfect figure is going to new extremes.

Last month, a 20-year-old British woman who had flown to Philadelphia died after silicone -- not intended for medical use -- was injected into her buttocks. It traveled through her cardiovascular system, stopping her heart.

"It's not FDA approved; no one can inject it, but I have seen people getting it done in these spas or backroom procedures that are being done and it's probably more common than we know," Dr. Nikko said.

The bottom line: buttock augmentation is not a quick fix, and you may end up with a lot more than curves.

"It's been terrible, my pain and the embarrassment, I'd never do it again," Stokley said.

If you opt for any augmentation procedure, make sure you find a doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.