(WMC-TV) – Mid-South women are paying to have concrete, super glue, and even Fix-A-Flat injected into their breasts and backsides to get curves at less than half the cost.
It happens at so-called "Pumping Parties" where the procedures are not only illegal, but potentially deadly.
Action News 5's Janice Broach found illegal butt injections for sale at an undisclosed Memphis address. It was an ad on Craigslist that disappeared a few days later, but the practice isn't going anywhere.
Tracey Lynn Garner, a Mississippi woman who was once a man, was charged with administering a lethal injection of silicone into the derriere of an exotic dancer from Atlanta.
"She was carried to the backroom and injected with this substance," said investigator Lee McDivitt with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office. "Super glue and cotton balls were placed on her buttocks after the procedure was done."
Mississippi prosecutors allege the bogus butt injections killed the woman three days later, a deadly downside to a growing trend of do-it-yourself cosmetic injections administered at illegal pumping parties.
"Regular college students, housewives, working women, they'll come, they'll say I want the Kim Kardashian look, and more recently, I want the Nikki Minaj look," said cosmetic surgeon Dr. Chukwuemeka Onyewu.
They want the look, but don't want to pay for professional injections or implants. Instead they get someone to inject them with industrial grade silicone, the same stuff used for furniture polish and mechanical equipment.
Sometimes it's mixed with motor oil, concrete, or super glue. And if it doesn't kill you, there could be other complications.
"We have reactions to the skin where the skin turns dark and very hard, has a leathery appearance to it," Dr. Onyewu said. "We've had an inflammatory reaction to it. The body makes this scar tissue. Over time it descends with gravity so they have these - they feel like these little bowling balls, essentially at the bottom of their buttocks, pulling down."
Despite the risks, investigators say a network of illegal pumpers operates online, connecting women with needles in their own neighborhoods.
Sheena Bradford paid a Texas woman to inject her breasts inside a private salon.
"She asked for the money and asked me to take off my shirt," Bradford said. "She got syringes and needles. She let me open up my own needle."
Bradford says the pain was excruciating. She spent 19 days in the hospital.
"I didn't even know I was in this world," she explained. "I had no idea that my condition was so bad."
"It really is sad that people are that desperate, that they will go to that kind of length," Memphis plastic surgeon Dr. Dan Shell said.
Dr. Shell says real injections that use a patient's fat are enough of a nightmare for him. He won't even perform the legal procedure because of potential dangers.
"Any substance, it gets inside that system, where does it go?" Dr. Shell asked. "It goes straight to the right heart through the venous return and then from the right heart it goes to the right artery to the lungs."
It is a high price to pay for a posterior that is man, or in most cases woman-made.
The online network of women performing these procedures led investigators to Memphis where they arrested Pebbles Da Model in connection to the Atlanta dancer's death.
They say she connected the dancer with the woman in Mississippi who administered the injection.
Once known for her own apple bottom curves, police say Pebbles Da Model is now also known for her alleged role in a deadly new trend.
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