- Jenelle Salazar Butler, an online fitness coach, got illegal butt injections to create a more shapely behind.
- She didn’t think much of the occasional pain she experienced until she Googled “silicone butt-injection removal” and realised how much danger she was in, as Cosmopolitan first reported.
- When she had surgery to remove the silicone, the procedure turned into a medical nightmare that put her life at risk.
- Now, she’s sharing her story in hopes it will stop women from making the same mistake she did.
- Warning: This post contains graphic images.
In 2010, Jenelle Salazar Butler entered a hotel room to get butt injections. At the time, she was looking for a quick fix to get a more shapely behind. She never thought that the seemingly harmless injections would leave her fighting for her life eight years later.
Butler, an online fitness coach with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, told INSIDER that she decided to get injections after giving birth to her son. Butler said she was suffering from postpartum depression and lost weight as a result, leading her to feel insecure.
“You’re looking for something that’s going to make you happy and you don’t know what it is so you’re just grasping for anything to see what’s going to fill that void,” Butler told INSIDER.
It didn’t help that her fiancé at the time was working at a popular strip club in Atlanta where he was surrounded by beautiful women. Butler couldn’t help but notice how her body differed from the women at the club. Several of the dancers, who were also clients of Butler, told her that they had gotten injections to enhance their assets. Butler told INSIDER that she obtained the number of a man who agreed to inject her for $US2,000 in cash. She never even asked if he was a doctor.
Despite some initial redness and itching post-surgery, Butler felt fine and more confident than she had in a while. She quickly built an Instagram following as an online fitness coach, keeping quiet about her injections. After two or three years, however, she began experiencing pain, itchiness, discoloration, and indentations.
It wasn’t until Butler Googled “how to get silicone removed” that she realised how much danger she had put herself in.
When most people hear silicone, they think of the safer medical-grade silicone that’s found in FDA-approved breast implants. But the silicone used in injections like the ones Butler got, also known as liquid or oil silicone, hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Industrial-grade silicone can spread through the body and cause pain, infections, scarring, permanent disfigurement, embolism (the blockage of a blood vessel), stroke, and even death, according to the FDA.
David Cangello, a board-certified plastic surgeon who did not treat Butler, explained to INSIDER that silicone can lead to a stroke and death if it’s injected inside a blood vessel as opposed to the surrounding fat. Even if it’s not deadly, injectable silicone can lead to infection and granulomas, or firm, hard tissue the body develops to wall off foreign substances.
When Butler learned of the risks, she knew that she wanted the injections out of her body as soon as possible.
In 2015, she had a consultation with a surgeon in Miami and learned that the surgery to remove them would cost her $US17,000, not including travel costs, food, medications, or anything else that she might need. She was prepared to pay for it, but then she found out she was pregnant and had to put the surgery on hold, she told INSIDER.
After giving birth to her third child, she made an appearance on “The Doctors” to share her story with other women. The show offered to pay for her surgery and sent her to Dr. Andrew Ordon, a plastic surgeon who told Butler that removing the silicone could be risky, but that it was necessary.
Injection removal can be a bloody, painstaking process because silicone sticks to healthy tissue like cement.
Over time, silicone integrates with healthy tissue and binds to it, making it extremely difficult to remove, Cangello told INSIDER. Surgeons have to cut through blood vessels in the surrounding healthy tissue, which can lead to long surgeries and excessive bleeding.
Butler’s surgery was no exception: It took six hours to remove the silicone – four hours longer than expected, Cosmopolitan reported. She lost a lot of blood and, when she returned to the surgeon’s office the morning after her surgery, she was put on an IV to stabilise her blood pressure. It was quickly decided that she needed to go to the emergency room where she received three blood transfusions in three days, Cosmopolitan reported.
“It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced,” Butler told INSIDER. “I mean I have three children and one via C-section and that’s the most pain I’ve ever been in.”
From there, Butler’s complications only got worse. Every day for two weeks, she had to visit her surgeon to have her incisions checked. “I could not use the bathroom by myself for the first five days,” Butler told INSIDER. “I had a catheter in. I laid in the bed because I couldn’t walk.”
When she returned home to Atlanta, she followed up with a local board-certified plastic surgeon. He told her that some of the tissue in her butt that had turned red and purple had died because blood stopped circulating to it after her surgery. She needed to go under the knife again to have the tissue removed, this time without anesthesia.
“I didn’t feel a thing as he carved away at the surface of each of my butt cheeks, scooping out a four-inch-wide section on my right side and a five-inch-wide section on my left,” Butler told Cosmopolitan.
She was left with wounds that her husband had to help her pack with gauze and tape to prevent infection. In addition to bandaging, she had to use a portable vacuum to extract excess fluids from the area.
Butler hopes that opening up about her experience can warn against the dangers of butt injections.
Butler has been candid about her struggle, the amount of muscle the surgery has caused her to lose, and the volume she has lost. Although she could potentially reconstruct the area with a popular plastic surgery procedure known as a fat transfer, her skin may be too thin and she might not have enough fat for the procedure. And apart from those things, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be able to go through another surgery again.
She told INSIDER that she wishes that she had seen there wasn’t anything wrong with her body when she got the injections. “When I did this, I didn’t love myself, I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know what I wanted, I didn’t know that I have to pull my happiness from within and not look for it on the outside,” Butler told INSIDER.
She hopes that other women are able to love themselves as they are and not make the same mistake she did. If there’s one message she hopes people take away from her story, it’s that injections aren’t worth it.
- Read more:
- 11 people who have taken plastic surgery to the extreme
- Americans spent $US8 billion on plastic surgery in 2016 – here’s the work they got done
- 4 of the most dangerous plastic surgeries – and what can happen if they go wrong
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