Health & Wellness

Plastic surgery mishaps: Women speak out about procedures gone wrong

Plastic surgery is intended to give you the look you want, but as we’ve all seen, sometimes things do go wrong.

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Plastic surgery mishaps: Women speak out about unlicensed injections

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Plastic surgery mishaps: Women speak out about unlicensed injections

Play Video - 3:25

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Procedures to enhance the derriere are on the rise as women seek the curvy bottom look popularized by Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian. A recent survey by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found that the number of butt augmentation surgeries done by board certified doctors nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014.

There's a more dangerous side for some people who want the same look, but don't see a real doctor. As part of TODAY's "Secrets of Plastic Surgery" series, women who wanted to enhance their curves share their stories of lower-cost injections and botched procedures.

One of them, Dakota, saw an unlicensed practitioner. Her implants have shifted to the backs of her legs, and she has been in and out of the hospital, misdiagnosed by doctors because she was too embarrassed to tell the truth.

“Some days, I cry because I feel so bad that I made a decision like that that affects me,” she said on TODAY. “Not only me, but my daughter. You know, I worry. Is something bad going to happen? Am I going to die?”

Another woman, whose identity was concealed, also had a botched procedure and waited years before going to the hospital. She says she flew to Miami to have the silicone removed using liposuction, but it didn’t work. Pockets of silicone are spread all down her leg.

“I never told my family,” she said. “Nobody knew. I was afraid to go to the hospital.”

Dr. Tansar Mir, a plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist, told TODAY that a growing number of women are seeking his help with complications from illicit treatments.

“A lot of them have pain walking, pain sitting, they're prone to recurrent fevers, they get infections, they are hospitalized,” said Mir, who will operate on both women soon to try to remove the silicone.

The women said they are coming forward to help others.

“I put aside my embarrassment, because I want other women to understand that if you want to do a procedure, it’s better that you spend the money, go to a real doctor,” Dakota said. “Don't go to someone in the neighborhood. It's not worth it. It’s not worth your life.”

Plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Yagoda appeared on TODAY Thursday as part of the "Secrets of Plastic Surgery" series, with tips for people considering having plastic surgery.

Pick the right doctor

“The most important thing is to make sure your doctor has hospital privileges even if the procedure is planned for the office,” she said. The reason for that, she said, is because it means the doctor has been trained in the procedure and kept up with continuing medical education classes, and that the hospital respects the doctor’s ability. Additionally, it tells you the doctor is licensed, insured and that there’s a backup team in the unlikely event of emergency, she said.

Photo proof

You can ask the doctor for before-and-after photos from other patients to judge their work.

“You can look at those and you’ll have a good idea,” Yagoda said. “You can even ask to meet other patients who’ve had the same procedure. This way, you can see that the results the doctor made are to your aesthetic liking.”

Red flags

Make sure you talk with the doctor and not just the staff, she says. Also consider: Were many options presented to you or just one? Is the office clean? And how does the office staff interact with you?

“Is the staff a conduit, so you can get to the doctor with questions, or do they act as a barrier?” Yagoda said.

Another warning sign: An unusually low price.

“This is very dangerous,” Yagoda said. “Everybody knows that plastic surgery is not covered by insurance and there’s this big temptation to pick the least expensive surgery, but it is a mistake to pick a doctor solely based on cost.”

Don't panic

If your body doesn’t look like you thought it would after surgery, the first thing Yagoda advises is to not panic.

“This could be part of the normal healing,” she said. “It takes about six weeks for healing to occur. If at the end of six weeks, there’s still a problem, however, you should always get a second opinion, even if ultimately, you go back to the same surgeon.”

If you have any questions about plastic surgery, we have answers. Tomorrow on TODAY, we’ll have Dr. Amy Wechsler taking your questions on Twitter. So start tweeting in those questions now with the hashtag, #ORANGEROOM.

TODAY.com contributor Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.

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