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MEXICO: The devastation caused by injecting foreign substances for cosmetic purposes into the body

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Lili (who asked that her real name not be used) during a medical consultation with Dr. Humberto Anduaga, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, at the Hospital de Especialidades del Centro Médico Nacional La Raza in Mexico City, Mexico on May 16, 2019.<br />
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Lili (who asked that her real name not be used) is a Mexican woman in her fifties who lives in Mexico City. It’s been over 25 years that mineral oil was injected into Lilli’s breast and buttocks for cosmetic purposes. Her mother insisted they go through the procedures together and found a beauty salon on the recommendation of a friend. Four years passed when she began to notice complications in her legs from the injectables. Lilli has seen many doctors and has had around 30 surgeries to remove part of the fillers. Over the years she hid her malady from her husband and children. She fell into a deep depression and at one point tempted to take her own life. These days she is a patient of plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Humberto Anduaga who has performed several removal and reconstructive surgeries that have helped her improve her health, says Lili.<br />
Human adjuvant disease, HAD, is a pathology caused by the injection of foreign substances for cosmetic purposes, and represents a serious health problem. Seeking simple, fast, cheap, painless and what some thought was a safe alternative to plastic surgery, the application of non-authorized modeling substances by untrained personnel has become a frequent practice. Nevertheless, the injections could lead - often several years after receiving them - to serious complications, even death. For some, it has caused irreversible damage to their physical health, self-esteem and quality of life. In Mexico, HAD is an existent problem. Between 2006 and 2018, Mexico City’s General Hospital has seen 4785 of these cases, according to their plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists. Photograph by Bénédicte Desrus