NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Here's a serious warning about cut-rate plastic surgery and its terrible consequences.
CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez recently spoke to one young woman about her agonizing ordeal.
The horror stories involve many people, mostly women, getting cheap cosmetic procedures, often at something called "pumping parties." They're held at homes or hotel rooms where unlicensed practitioners inject liquid silicone to augment various body parts.
That's when the problems begin.
"I was very insecure a year and a half ago, insecure with myself. Looking in the mirror, I wasn't happy with who I saw," Sophelay Ouk said.
Plus, Ouk's boyfriend wanted a "dream girl" with a curvier behind. So, she went to what looked like a clinic in Rhode Island to have about a half-gallon of liquid silicone injected into her buttocks.
"After he had finished the procedure I started to feel dizzy and short of breath. My heart was pounding, felt like it was going to come out of my chest," Ouk said.
MRI scans show the extent of what was supposed to be silicone in Sophelay's backside. It may have been anything from crazy glue to mineral oil. Worse yet, doctors say it won't stay where it is injected, Gomez reported.
"It's going to spread and it's going to continue to embolize. It's going to go down her legs. It's going to go up her back. The skin is going to darken and the skin is probably going to die one day," said Dr. Tansat Mir of Lenox Hill Hospital.
The silicone also traveled to Sophelay's lungs and led to almost 50 hospitalizations for pneumonia in the past year and a half. That can't be removed, but Dr. Mir and a team at Lenox Hill will try to remove some of what's in her buttocks.
It's a painstaking two-stage procedure to cut out the silicone-filled scar tissue. The hope is to reduce the huge burden on Sophelay's immune system.
"The white cells in the immune system, it gets focused in the buttock, which prevents it from going to other places to fight infection," Dr. Mir said.
Sophelay said she knows she'll never be completely cured, so she wants other young women to learn from her mistakes.
"I want girls to just really love who you are and just, you know, don't listen to what other people say," she said. "Make sure you ask for a license, ask for certificates and make sure that person is in fact a real surgeon."
Sophelay said the man who injected her looked and talked like a doctor, with a nice white coat and business card. But when she returned to the so-called clinic after she got sick, it was closed up, all the furniture was gone and there was no sign of the doctor.
Verify a doctor's credentials with the state health department and, remember, when it comes to medical procedures, you get what you pay for, Gomez reported.
for more features.