DIY Plastic Surgery: This Is Not A Hoax.

by Paul Michael on 2 July 2009 17 comments

I do a lot of research on the Internet for information about home-made solutions to everyday problems. In fact, I'll be posting one soon that covers recipes for home-made car wax, air freshener and even glue. But on my travels, I discovered a horrifying fact - in these tough economic times, people out there are taking medical matters into their own hands. DIY plastic surgery is on the rise.

Around two years ago, a reliable English paper called Metro reported the outbreak of DIY plastic surgery. The obsession with celebrity culture, and media pressure that make everyone feel bad if they don't look amazing, was leading people to take matters into their own hands. It did not go well.

"In the worst case, a man gave himself a nose job with a chisel and replaced the cartilage he removed with a chicken bone," according to consultant psychiatrist Dr David Veale. "Others have cut their stomachs in DIY tummy tucks, and used glue to try to pin back their ears."

Ouch! It seems more like a story that would appear in the National Enquirer, but unfortunately it's true. That was two years ago, and sadly, things have not improved. A lack of self-confidence and a rise in BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) continues to make people long for the plastic surgeon's knife. And with people suffering from a lack of money and no access to credit, they are becoming desperate. DIY plastic surgery, as horrific as it sounds, continues to gather momentum.

In late 2008, news broke of Hang Mioku, a Korean woman who became so obsessed with plastic surgery that she injected COOKING OIL into her own face.

Her face became so grotesquely large that she was called "standing fan" by children in her neighbourhood - due to her large face and small body. And it would seem that even Hang can now see the damage she has done; she now says that she would simply like her original face back.

Last month, WCCO's Esme Murphy told the story of a woman who injected herself with silicone to save money on plastic surgery.

"I really thought that I was getting a bargain and I really didn't do my homework like I should have," said the woman who did not want to be identified. Her lips and left cheek are disfigured from silicone she self-injected. She was trying to make her upper lip fuller and fill acne scars. A year and a half ago, another doctor had given her silicone injections. That treatment went well but it wasn't cheap. It was $2700 for a series of three treatment. So she turned to the Internet and found a site advertising silicone for $10."

As you can see, the results are awful. She will be disfigured for life unless she pays for a certified plastic surgeon to try and reverse the results.

"Initially I thought I did a good job," said the unfortunate mom from the Twin Cities. However, within a day her lips and cheek were disfigured. "Its very frightening, its very embarrassing having to be in public," she said.

There is even a Technorati page devoted to DIY Plastic Surgery gone wrong, which you can check out yourself here.

And now, which may be even worse, more "legitimate" ways to do the treatment yourself are reaching the market.

For $129 and up, you can buy a hand-held personal laser to remove blotches and smooth out wrinkles. And the REJUVAWAND costs $159 and uses two infra-red wavelengths of laser energy to promises to give similar results to the more expensive Botox and microdermabrasion treatments. Does it work? Doctors say it's too weak a laser to do any damage, but in effect you're wasting a lot of money on an almost useless product.

You can also buy a DIY chemical peel. Dr Denese's Triple AHA/BHA at-home fizzing facial peel promises the same results as a beauty salon treatment at a fraction of the cost. But is it ever a good idea to put these kinds of chemicals on your skin with no medical supervision?

Perhaps the most harmless DIY solution I found was the CoCo "nose job" device, which will give you Cleopatra's Nose! To be honest, it just looks like a strong clothes peg.

"CoCo - Beautiful New Look of Nose is available at discerning stores in Japan, Korea and Taiwan from only $7.50. Why spend more on expensive plastic surgery and fancy doctors when you can just 'do it yourself'?"

With the average rhinoplasty procedure costing roughly $5000, what do you think the chances are that a $7.50 product could do the same job? Exactly.

Look, I'm no doctor, but I would like to summarize by saying please, please don't take the frugal option on this and attempt to do it yourself. There is no substitute for medical training and your body is too important to mess with by yourself. There are very few shortcuts to a better body, but plastic surgery is one of them...and it comes with a hefty price. Be prepared to pay it, or you may end paying significantly more to reverse your own home-made medical mistakes.  Or worse, pay for it for the rest of your life with horrible disfigurements, bad health and chronic pain.

 

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Guest's picture

I can't imagine anything less than desperation and a severe psychological disorder would possess someone to perform DIY plastic surgery. I'm no expert, but I find that refraining from looking at magazines and watching television shows that promote unrealistic body types and lifestyles help decrease my desire for frivolous purchases and procedures.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think the worst one I have heard about is this fellow in England who decided he needed a circumcision, so he gave himself one - with nail clippers. Here is the link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5694913/Man-uses-nail-clippers-in...

Guest's picture

There are many things I do to save a few bucks, and many, many more that I'd like to do or wish that I could, but self-surgery never crossed my mind. Not only that, but I have this thing about... pain.

This looks like the pathetic, contrived stuff you see in the supermarket tabloids, but if it's real, you really have to feel sorry for these people, both for the sad condition they're in now and for the state of mind that drove them to it.

The girl who injected herself with cooking oil was quite pretty in the before photo (hope my wife isn't on this blog) so you have to wonder what it was she was going for.

Guest's picture

Paul--Is it just a coincidence that an ad for WIN FREE LASER HAIR REMOVAL appears just below the article, or is it just another one of life's cruel ironies???

(You just have to love Google AdSense, if nothing else we know they do have a sense of humor)

Guest's picture
Guest

I don't know - these seem less like DIY anything and more about serious mental illness. It's scary and sad, but certainly not something that you're going to see a rash of anytime soon. The economy is bad, but these people would have likely done this even in a great economy. They probably suffer from some sort of dysmorphic disorder.

The bizarre thing is that the Hang woman found mental illness treatments too expensive, yet spent who-knows-how-much on disfiguring surgeries for almost 20 years.

Paul Michael's picture

I bet I'm not the only guy crossing his legs at the thought of the nail clippers! And Google, well, there's not much we can do about those contextual ads!

Guest's picture
Guest

Actually ... the DIY nose job device -could- theoretically work ... that is ... IF ... you start wearing it every night while you sleep from around the age of 5 years old onward until you reach college age. Of course, you'd probably just end up with two permanent indentations in your nose as the clip doesn't cover the entire nose cartilage area. The ancient Mayans (or was it the Incans ... I'm a bit fuzzy?) used to strap their children into "head boards" which would over time give them that "fashionable" slanted forehead. Over time, the subtle pressure of the pressing board on young, growing bones and cartilage would slant the forehead into a "fashionable" 45 degree angle.

Hmmm ... sounds more like child abuse ...

Guest's picture
Cheap Yankee

Actually ... the DIY nose job device -could- theoretically work ... that is ... IF ... you start wearing it every night while you sleep from around the age of 5 years old onward until you reach college age. Of course, you'd probably just end up with two permanent indentations in your nose as the clip doesn't cover the entire nose cartilage area. The ancient Mayans (or was it the Incans ... I'm a bit fuzzy?) used to strap their children into "head boards" which would over time give them that "fashionable" slanted forehead. Over time, the subtle pressure of the pressing board on young, growing bones and cartilage would slant the forehead into a "fashionable" 45 degree angle.

Hmmm ... sounds more like child abuse ...

Torley Wong's picture

Have you guys seen Bagelheads?

Guest's picture

I wouldn't consider plastic surgery when a qualified doctor was in charge, let alone entertain the idea of doing it myself!

Guest's picture
Guest

The doctor who fixed the silicone lady is in California.

His website is trivalleyplasticsurgery.com

There's also video of the interview with him and her -
Tri Valley Plastic Surgery fixes self surgery gone wrong

Guest's picture
joe

looks are a major factor in SK. Even when my brother was a young child, my grandma would pinch his nose so he would have a prominent nose. Of course, he didn't really need it because we both have prominent noses although I didn't get my nose pinched...

Guest's picture

With the average rhinoplasty procedure costing roughly $5000, what do you think the chances are that a $7.50 product could do the same job? Exactly.

I totally agree.

Guest's picture

Skeptical about the "nose-job" device. It doesn't look like it would give one a permanent result.

Guest's picture

Sorry, this is just crazy.
There are some truly atrocious horror stories about people who have attempted “do-it-yourself” plastic surgery procedures on themselves. One story that was publicized was a a person who had allowed their friend to pump silicone bath tub caulk into their face to try and change the way they looked.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hello!! I read ur story and I truly get you. I am so sorry to hear what happened to you. I am glad you are turning this horrible experience into something positive. I I am actually doing a report on people doing their own blotch plastic surgeries and was hoping if you or anyone knows any contact information on people who have performed their own blotch plastic surgeries. Thank You.

Guest's picture
Thomas

I've got a cleft pallet, misshaped nose,upper lip scar and now my face is wrinkling up so bad I look 90 years old. I'm only 54. I lost my home,, my job,, now I hide in an apt. never go out, don't talk to anyone.I can't take it much more. I was a bright and happy building engineer and loved being around people in the hospitality industry working at hotels. Why do people try DIY surgery.. ? its because people like me and others see it as our last hope. The physical defect and emotional distress becomes an unending circle of self doubt and a complete loss of self esteem. Its painful,, its a misery.. no one can help and we don't have the resources to get corrective surgery. Personally I'm scared to try DIY, Emotionally,, I would try anything to get my well being back. If you would like to discuss this further my e mail is flips_place@yahoo.com