Silicone Injections Removal: Podcast and Infogram

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen


Ariel: Welcome to another podcast on Plastic Surgery 90210. My name is Ariel, and we're here again with Dr. Katzen.

Dr. Katzen: Hello, thanks for having me.

Ariel: Hi. Thank you. We want to focus on silicone injection removal, and recently, we've been scrolling through YouTube and seeing a lot of influencers out there saying, “I got these buttock injections, and I'm fine. You guys will be fine, too.” It is bad because they're influencing all these young people out there, and they're like, “Who is your pumper?” They call it a pumper. And they want to go to the same person.

Ariel: Right, and it frustrates me because these people are maybe two or four years out and don't see the complications yet. You know, and they're not always honest about their symptoms because it is not the glorious side of being an influencer. They don't want to talk about how their skin is painful and they're having changes, and it just hurts to sit down. You know, all these people are easily influenced. They need to learn how to do the proper research. Unfortunately, so many times, we see them eight to 10 years later, and their lives have been changed forever due to silicone injections.

Dr. Katzen: Sure. Patients can't sit down or walk because of these injections. We have a couple of patients who have had kidney failure on our transplant lists because of these injections. Also, I have many patients with dead skin. These are the real complications of injections. If you want to play that silicone game, I don’t suggest it. I'm not endorsing it at all. Injecting silicone is like a game of Russian roulette of when you will have problems with those injections.

Ariel: Not even if you will have problems, but when.

Dr. Katzen: Yes, the question is when. Sometimes, the “when” is on the table when they're injecting you, and people die. You hear about that in the news all the time. Then, you hear about those consequences where I had an accident like “I was in a car accident,” or “I fell down the stairs,” and my injection got infected. And then, “I wound up in the hospital for a couple of months.”

Ariel: Let’s explain the patient you saw recently, I believe, she fell on the stairs. What happened next?

Dr. Katzen: Yes. The patient is from the East Coast, and everything was going fine. She had silicone injections. She was going about her life. She was happy. Eight or ten years go by, and then she falls down the stairs. From that trauma to her buttock, the silicone got dislodged, and the dislodged silicone got infected. She has been to the hospital many times. Unfortunately, most of the doctors who saw her knew what to do because all the skin and fat on both buttocks were dead.

patient picture

Ariel: And there are open wounds, correct?

Dr. Katzen: Yes. They're open wounds, leaking puss and silicone. Those wounds and complications are the consequences of silicone injections. So, if you want to believe your influencers and silicone pumpers say, "Oh, it is fine; It is worth it.” You should reconsider silicone butt injections.

Ariel: Yes. Another thing that I hear some influencers saying, or some people on the internet saying, is, “Oh, you get silicone implants. It is the same thing as silicone injections.” No, it is not. One of them is illegal.

Dr. Katzen: Yes, completely different. Silicone breast implants have been studied extensively by our US FDA. Silicone breast implants are wrapped in a silicone envelope. The silicone being injected differs from the type of breast implant silicone. The silicone being injected is purchased at Home Depot or Lowe's. It is not medical grade. The illegal silicone is usually in a 25-gallon container. Pumpers use a syringe to draw the silicone from the jar. Often, the silicone is being injected in hotel rooms and basements.

Ariel: Usually, when you walk into that situation, it seems suspicious.

Dr. Katzen: Yes, think about it. If I were having something injected, I would want to be sure It is FDA-approved, and I'd want to be sure a medical doctor does it.

Ariel: Right. And people have had cosmetologists and nurses lie to them.

Dr. Katzen: Yes, unfortunately.

Ariel: Say that they were injecting collagen, injecting sculpture, but it ended up being a lie because we see them later. And we do the MRI, and we see the product in there. Can you explain how we know the difference when we do that MRI?

Dr. Katzen: Sure. The only foreign body thing inside your body is what the injector injected. Only the injector knows. The rest of us only know once I take it out or it leaks. They can tell you one thing, but what they inject differs. The injectors take your money and disappear into the night. What I do is we get an MRI. The MRI tells us how much product was injected and where the product is. The product can be just underneath the skin in the fat or even deeper in the muscle. Sometimes, the injectors inject the fat, and sometimes, the injectors inject the muscle. The position of that substance dictates what we do next to get rid of it.

Ariel: There is no best-case scenario for getting silicone injections.

Dr. Katzen: Do not do silicone butt injections ever.

Ariel: But getting it into the muscle does seem to be worse because you're left with fewer options for removal.

Dr. Katzen: Correct. Usually, when silicone is in the muscle, the injector must go deeper. The needle goes through the skin and into the muscle. Hopefully, they don't hit the major blood vessels in there. Sometimes, they do, and the patients bleed to death. Sometimes, the injectors go deep into the muscle. We can get the silicone out with suction when the silicone is in the fat. However, I am forced to make an incision when the silicone is in the muscle.

Ariel: And he is saying that the suction would be the closed technique.

Dr. Katzen: Yes.

Ariel: The incision would be the open technique. Dr. Katzen offers these two options. Only some plastic surgeons offer both techniques.

Dr. Katzen: Correct.

Ariel: And you spent 20 years perfecting this closed technique. Can you talk about that?

Dr. Katzen: Yes. When I started taking up the silicone long ago, I would take it out conservatively with the least incisions. To do that, I tried liposuction, but liposuction does not work for silicone removal. Why? The tissue around the silicone is hard. It is scar tissue. The second problem is the silicone balls are large. Sometimes, the silicone balls are as big as my thumbnail. So, I came up with a system. The first thing to do is you got to find the stuff. In the operating room, I must find the stuff. To do that, I perfected this technique using the ultrasound live during the surgery. Then, I inject a tumescent solution, which helps put the buttocks into the solution. Step number three, I use the VASER to help dissolve the scar tissue. That allows access when I come in with my cannulas or straws to suck out this silicone. My silicone straws are large. They're custom-made for us. They are not liposuction cannulas. Liposuction cannulas are small. Liposuction cannulas are made to suck out little bits of fat, large caliber, large diameter suction cannulas to remove these scar tissue and the silicone.

Ariel: And that is the closed technique.

Dr. Katzen: That is the closed technique.

Ariel: Ultrasound-guided VASER-assisted silicone suction. And then your open technique. Let's talk about that.

Dr. Katzen: Yes. The open technique is an incision to gain access to the area of silicone impregnation. That can be anywhere on the body. Sometimes you can't use the suction technique on certain body parts, and you must use the open technique. Like on the lips, I do the open technique almost all the time. When I have a patient who had silicone injected underneath the eyelids, I will do the open technique because the suction technique will not work. It is too delicate in that area. For the cheek or malar area, I'm going to be doing the open technique through a facelift incision. There. Sometimes to reach the cheeks, I will make an incision inside the mouth. Usually, for silicone in the breasts, I am going to use an open technique. So, for some parts, I can do the suction technique; in some parts, I must do the open technique; in some parts, we can do the suction or open technique.

Ariel: Yes. I want to explain to a normal person what happens during these silicone injections. You could interject if I say anything wrong, but from my understanding, they take the silicone, like the liquid silicone, they inject it, and scar tissue grows around your butt. It encapsulates, so your butt is not getting bigger with fat. Your butt is just bigger with scar. It is all full of scar tissue. These capsules of silicone can migrate throughout your body. We've seen it in the labia, we've seen it in the thighs down to the ankles, all the way down to the toes where you've removed it. The injected silicone can move anywhere. It defies gravity sometimes. Because we see it go up the back,

Dr. Katzen: Exactly.

Ariel: And it is scary.

Dr. Katzen: Yep, it is rolling the dice. Silicone injections are a big gamble. The buttock that you're getting has some product in it. However, a lot of our patients will tell us, “I only had one session, and the vial was only that big,” and yet their buttocks is like this big. Their buttock grew that big over six to eight months. That is because all that scar tissue is building up. It is not that the silicone or whatever has been injected grows. There is no way it can grow. It is inert. It doesn't grow on the shelf. The silicone sits in your body. What does grow is the scar tissue around the silicone. At first, you have the stuff that is injected, and you make a little scar tissue around. Then, as more trauma movement and years go by, you get more scar tissue. And like a pearl, the scar tissue gets thicker and thicker.

Ariel: And for those who don't know, this scar tissue is not soft; it doesn't feel like a natural buttock. We do a hardness scale in the operating room compared to a normal buttock full of fat and some muscle naturally. And some of these buttocks are like, on a scale of nine, feeling like concrete.

Dr. Katzen: Yes. Hard is a rock. If you can imagine a 10/10 hard buttock. It is like a bowling ball. Imagine sitting that on that and trying to lay on that hard buttock. Just sitting in cars can be extremely painful. These are things you need to consider before, not after, you think about buttock injections.

Ariel: And a lot of the public will see the glorious side of these results. You know, there are a lot of things out there. There is Photoshop, there is editing, and there is blurring of things. You just are only sometimes getting the full story. Please make sure to do your research. For February, you are offering free consults for silicone removal patients, because it is important. You want to talk about that.

Dr. Katzen: Yes. If you've had silicone injections, I suggest you get it evaluated by a trained professional. So please call the office at (310) 859-7770. We can schedule you for a free consultation to get the area evaluated and looked at and possibly order an MRI.

Ariel: Yes. And would you say that these silicone injection patients have reached an epidemic level?

Dr. Katzen: Many patients have had stuff injected over the years, and now it is just becoming more prevalent. Many patients are coming out with major problems and complications resulting from illegal silicone injections.

Ariel: We have celebrities speaking out about this. They must also do this because it teaches us that only some things we see are true—and there are a lot of them. It is dangerous and lifethreatening.

Dr. Katzen: Yes. Could you not do it? Think about it. Do your research. If your research says to get silicone injections, you need to do more research because there are better ideas than silicone injections. Yes. Again, listen to medical professionals treating patients with severe complications from this stuff, not your influencer.


Ariel: Right. Another thing is that if they say they're injecting medical-grade silicone, probably not. Right? Do you want to talk about that?

Dr. Katzen: Surgery-grade silicone. The only place we use medical-grade silicone is for rare eyeball surgery. It is when we're repairing the retina or lens. The eye surgeon will place a small drop about that big inside the eyeball. You got to lay face down. And that piece of silicone injected in the eyeball uses gravity to hold the retina in place. Complicated, right? That little drop of silicone costs thousands of dollars, just for that little drop. Think about what you're paying for the injections: a couple of hundred bucks, a thousand bucks, 5,000 bucks. If one drop is a thousand bucks' minimum medical grade, there is no way what they're injecting is only X price.

Ariel: No way.

Dr. Katzen: And the other thing is there is no way they can get ahold of it. It is regulated. It is not if they say they're a nurse or a doctor and this is safe. I promise you.

Ariel: One more thing that I think we have to stress is if you are scrolling through TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube, and you see people promoting silicone injections, they're also called butt shots. People are asking, “Oh, who is your pumper? I want to get some of this.” I think as a community that is educated in silicone injections, we have to say something. If we could prevent even one person from getting these shots and potentially ruining their lives, that would be a success.

Dr. Katzen: Yes.

Ariel: A viewer said to get a BBL by a board-certified doctor to avoid all this.

Dr. Katzen: Exactly. There are other ways to get a bigger buttock, Brazilian Butt Lift, or BBL, is where I take fat from one body part (tummy, hips, and backside), purify it, and transplant it to the buttock. That is a really good option. Option number two, buttock implants US FDA approved. It is a safe procedure if done correctly by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Number three, Sculptra. Sculptra is a safe and good material to inject. Again, US FDA approved. We can build the buttock that way, too.

Ariel: And Sculptra is the only injection that you would

Dr. Katzen: Correct, that lasts. There are other fillers like Juvéderm, Restylane, Voluma, et cetera. But those only last 18 to 36 months. Then you must spend that fortune again to re-inject the buttock.

Ariel: I see. Are there any other questions from the audience? One asks if they want to learn more about this; where can they go?

Dr. Katzen: Yes. You can follow us live on Instagram. You can go on YouTube and see many of our videos there.

Ariel: Yes. We do a lot of videos on YouTube where you can also see us cutting into the specimen after Dr. Katzen removes it, either from the buttocks, the lips, or wherever it might be. And you could see the silicone balls in there that you call boba. And you'll see as he cuts into them, they explode with the silicone because that is what happens. Thank you, guys, for your questions. We're just going to end our podcast now. If there are any more questions, please message us on Instagram. We're responsive on there. It is Dr. Katzen, MD. Yes, Dr. Katzen. Once again, we offer free consults for silicone injection patients anywhere in February because we know how important it is, and we would like you to get it out.

Dr. Katzen: Thanks for watching us. Please watch us on all the other podcasts we do. We have a lot of topics to cover in this plastic surgery world. We can get all your questions answered. See you soon.

Ariel: If you're watching this, please educate others on silicone injections. Not everyone knows. All right.

Dr. Katzen: Thanks.

Ariel: Thank you, guys. Thanks for joining us. Bye-bye.

Dr. Katzen: Bye-bye.

About the author: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen is an experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeon with offices in Beverly Hills, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and Dubai. He specializes in reconstructive plastic surgery after massive weight loss and the removal of silicone injections from the buttocks, breasts, and face. In his spare time, he loves kite surfing, SCUBA diving, and underwater photography.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.