Woman, 29, develops sepsis 14 months after 'buttock fillers'

Beautician doing Injection into female buttocks, body mesotherapy
A woman developed sepsis more than a year after having fillers injected into her backside. (Stock, Getty Images)

A woman developed sepsis 14 months after being injected with "buttock fillers".

The unnamed 29-year-old was admitted to a hospital in Dublin with a pus-filled abscess at the site of the injection, surrounded by 15cm of cellulitis – an infection that makes skin painful, hot and swollen.

The abscess was drained, with the medics also removing the woman's dead tissue and filler material.

After 18 days in hospital, she was sent home with a six-week course of antibiotics. She is said to be well, with her wound completely healed.

It is unclear what specific filler the woman had or why her complications arose so long after the procedure.

Injected dermal fillers are said to cause complications in one in every 100 to 20,000 patients, depending on the material.

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In 2018, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons warned curvaceous celebrities like "Kim Kardashian and rapper Cardi B can trick the public into thinking (just as one medical tourism website advertises) 'surgery is just like make-up!' and inadvertently leading them to danger".

Consultations for non-surgical "Brazilian Bum Lifts" are said to have risen 500% over the past few years, with the procedure enabling women to get a perter backside without going under the knife.

Bacterial blood infection, computer illustration.
Sepsis occurs when a person's immune system over-reacts to an infection, like bacteria. (Stock, Getty Images)

The woman, who was otherwise healthy, was admitted to St James' Hospital after becoming nauseous and developing an abscess.

Blood tests revealed she had high levels of immune cells. Sepsis occurs when the immune system over-reacts to an infection, damaging healthy tissue.

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The woman – whose case was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases – also had elevated levels of the so-called C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

The day after she was admitted, the woman was given antibiotics and had her abscess drained.

Tests later revealed she was infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus lugdunensis and Pseudomonas orzihabitans.

The woman was found to have inflammation in the innermost layers of her skin in both buttocks. Her tissue also contained air pockets, suggesting she was infected with additional dangerous bacteria that produce gas.

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On day five in hospital, the woman's abscess was drained again, and she also had dead tissue and filler removed.

Neither the patient nor the medics know what filler material was used during her procedure. The risk of complications varies according to the filler.

Intravenous antibiotics meant the woman's infections "resolved quickly", allowing her to go home.

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"Complications are increasing as fillers become one of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures," said lead author Dr Siobhan Quirke.

"It's something both cosmetic patients and health professionals need to be aware of."

Why the woman's complications occurred so long after her procedure is somewhat unclear.

It "may be due to the unusual organisms that can live on the surface of the dermal filler", said Dr Quirke.

"P. oryzihabitans is an unusual cause of human infection, but in recent years it has become increasingly linked with hospital-acquired and opportunistic infections.

"Thankfully, treatment is not difficult due to the low level of resistance to common antibiotics.

"Nevertheless, this case serves as a reminder that it's important to choose a reputable cosmetic surgeon."

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