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Infection shock Woman (29) hospitalised for 18 days with sepsis a year after ‘bum lift’ procedure

The young female patient at St James’s Hospital, who had no previous medical history, was seen in the emergency department after developing nausea and an abscess at the site of the injection.

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St James's Hospital in Dublin

St James's Hospital in Dublin

St James's Hospital in Dublin

Irish doctors have highlighted potential complications following buttock augmentation – popularly known as a bum lift.

It follows the case of a woman who was admitted to St James’s Hospital with sepsis 14 months after getting the injection.

Dr Siobhan Quirke and colleagues from St James’s Hospital presented the case, involving a 29-year-old woman, at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).

“Complications are increasing as fillers become one of the fastest growing cosmetic procedures,” she said.

“It’s something both cosmetic patients and health professionals need to be aware of.”

The exact ingredients of fillers vary by brand, but they all work to enlarge the buttocks, and are intended to be cheaper alternatives to surgical procedures.

Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, who has a rounded figure and says she has not had a buttock lift, have sparked a wave of interest in young women who undergo bum lifts.

The young female patient at St James’s Hospital, who had no previous medical history, was seen in the emergency department after developing nausea and an abscess at the site of the injection.

The site was surrounded by 15cm of cellulitis – a skin infection that can become life-threatening.

Blood tests revealed high levels of white cell blood cells and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

The patient was started on antibiotics and had her abscess drained the following day.

Blood cultures revealed the infection was caused by a type of bacteria called staphylococcus lugdunensis, the cause of a wide range of infections, and pseudomonas orzihabitans, a rare cause of skin and soft tissue infection in humans.

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Imaging revealed areas of inflammation within the subcutaneous tissues, the innermost layer of skin of both buttocks.

The tissue also contained pockets of air which are suggestive of overlying infection with dangerous gas-forming organisms.

After five days, the abscess was drained again and 500ml of necrotic (dead) tissue and filler material was removed.

The patient was given intravenous antibiotics, and her blood infection resolved quickly.

She was discharged after 18 days in hospital to complete a further six-week course of antibiotic therapy at home.

The young woman is currently well and her wound has completely healed.

Complications following use of injected dermal fillers are rare, occurring in between one in every 20,000 and one in every 100 patients who have procedures – depending on the type of filler material used in the procedure.

However, complications are increasing as fillers become one of the fastest growing cosmetic procedures.

“The reason for the substantial delay between surgery and infection is not clear but may be due to the unusual organisms that can live on the surface of the dermal filler – known as a biofilm,” Dr Quirke said.

“Pseudomonas 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,” Dr Quirke added.

“Nevertheless, this case serves as a reminder that it’s important to choose a reputable cosmetic surgeon.”

A buttock augmentation in Dublin costs around €5,500, depending on the extent of the surgery.

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