A gel used in a popular form of plastic surgery in Venezuela has been blamed for at least 15 deaths in the past two years, Agence France-Presse reported on Monday.
"I wanted to be more beautiful. You could say the devil tempted me," one patient, Oliana Rossi, told Agence France-Presse. "For me, it's like I've got a time bomb in my body -- a time bomb."
The procedure, which involves injecting the synthetic polymer beneath the skin, is intended to enhance the buttocks region by allowing the gel to spread through the tissue. Support groups said to AFP that more than 40,000 women have undergone the surgery, seemingly owing to what it called devotion to "the cult of the body."
But, AFP reported, removing the gel is an experimental treatment that costs $6,000, compared to the $800 cost to get 500 milligrams of having it put in, despite the apparent health risks.
"All the patients who received biopolymers -- 100 percent of them -- are going to have problems," one plastic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Slobodanik said to AFP. "I think we need to operate on those patients who have severe symptoms: pain, discoloration, burning sensations, etcetera."
Watch AFP's report, posted online on Monday, below.