Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Were Russian women being injected with cadaver fat for breast enlargement?

Israel has a substantial population of Russian Jews who emigrated over the last two decades. The Plastic Surgery division at Rebecca Seiff Government Hospital in Safed, has recently reported a series of patients with some unknown substance ulcerating thru their breast/chestwall skin. These women were injected years prior in Russia with some as yet unidentified substance

Dr. Kasis Shukri, an attending Plastic Surgeon said
"All we know about the material is from the women themselves, who say they were told at the time it is called 'Bio-Gel.' It is unknown to us, unknown, unidentified and unrecognized by modern medicine. It is completely undocumented in medical literature.... Yellow material with the texture of banana puree came out. The material had been injected directly into the tissues"

If I had to guess what this mystery substance is I would guess it might be hydrophilic polyacrylamide gel (PAAG), an injectable alloplastic biomaterial, imported from the Ukraine has been used for augmentation mammaplasty in China (click to read)& Southeast Asia. This material is profoundly inflammatory when injected and has been reported in a number of case reports of complications from "injectable breast augmentation" in some of the Asian medical literature.

Another more disturbing possibility was discussed in a quote in Israeli newspaper Haaretz

"Bio-Gel is a commercial product with no scientific significance," deputy chief of plastic surgery at Tel Hashomer Dr. Eyal Winkler told Haaretz yesterday. In the past, the Soviet medical establishment made various attempts to overcome a shortage of silicone implants, Winkler explained. "Due to the high price of the implants, there were various efforts to develop alternative methods, one of which was the injection of fats from cadavers into women's breasts. Nonetheless, this was on the margins of the margins, and the number of cases is extremely limited."

Winkler recommended that women who underwent such surgeries, and are concerned or feel unwell, be examined by an expert. "If they feel well, there is no reason to panic." Winkler said he has encountered just five cases of cadaver-fat injections causing infection and requiring surgical intervention in the past decade.

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