The safer way

Rey warns that there are a large number of doctors from other countries — who are not actually licensed in the United States — performing these plastic surgeries.

“Some are poorly trained, and they do these bizarre things,” he says.

He suggests that anyone considering butt enhancement at least search the state’s medical board to see if they’re licensed and whether they are certified as a plastic surgeon.

Currently, the most common enhancement surgery involves having the patient gain weight, have total body liposuction and inject the stem cells from the fat into the gluteal muscle. This is done without an incision.

“We make beautiful butts, and it’s very safe. We do a lot of people. It does give women an awesome option,” he says.

But, Rey remembers a time when surgery to place butt implants — bags of saline or silicone structured similarly to breast implants — involved large incisions that were at risk for becoming infected by feces, chronic leg pain or paralysis.

“Thirty percent split their sutures open,” he recalls.

That was over four years ago, and according to Rey, “We’ve gotten much better.”

Simply injecting liposuctioned fat is not an effective method either. The fat will liquefy into oil and ultimately get absorbed by the body, Rey explains.

Complications

Much like the health problems that leaky silicone breast implants caused in the 1980s and 1990s — when women sued breast implant companies for their immune system disorders, muscle aches and headaches — injecting free silicone into parts of the body such as lips, hips and butts carries the same risks.

Wonder definitely had her scares. She sought medical attention when she started getting chest pains.

“I would get them twice or three times a year. When I’d get them they’d be right under my left breast… I wouldn’t be able to move or breathe or anything and I’d have to take shallow breaths.”

It turned out to be OK — just gastrointestinal — but the thought is still in the back of her mind.

“Some of this stuff has to have gotten into my bloodstream. No, I don’t have any problems today, and I may not have any problems tomorrow. But, I wonder what parts of my body has this stuff touched that I don’t know yet.”

Just last week, a 28-year-old Florida woman died ten hours after receiving butt injections using an unknown substance.

It’s all in the image

Human sexuality has changed, says Rey. Whereas decades ago, men would ogle a woman’s breasts if she bent over to pick something up, “it’s all about the butts,” he says.

“Here comes J. Lo who puts all of the attention to butts,” he continues. “Now, the girls are rushing in like tidal waves to get their butts done.”

Wonder first got injections without a real motivation behind it, just something to do she says. “But then it morphed into something else,” she told theGrio last year, such as “Wow, people are now noticing me.”

“I firmly believe that girls do not need this,” Wonder now says. “I firmly believe that if you look at who you are on the inside and get yourself together that you won’t need to fix your outside.”

She says it starts with empowering young girls.

“[You want to get injections because] you want somebody to say you’re good enough,” Wonder explains. “Somebody’s saying it right now and you can’t even hear it. Read the Bible. Crack it open boo. Get some faith in your life. You do not need another man, women, whoever to tell you that you’re good enough.

“You were born good enough. And this is what we need to be telling everybody.”

Wonder is actively planning to have her surgery before the fall, and excitedly awaiting the change.

Dr. Tyeese Gaines is a physician-journalist with over 10 years of print and broadcast experience, now serving as health editor for NBC’s theGrio.com. Dr. Ty is also a practicing emergency medicine physician in New Jersey. Follow her on twitter at @doctorty.