Silicone injection: If you decide to do it anyway

(clik aquí para la traducción española)

So, you have looked through all of these warnings and still think it's a good idea. Here are my tips for getting the best results with injectable silicone:

Go to a country where it's legal and performed by experienced physicians. South America is the best bet. I wouldn't do it in Mexico, personally.

Barring that, go talk to the local drag queens-- the ones who win pageants. They can hook you up with someone who rolls through town every now and then. This is your best bet for getting high-quality medical grade silicone done by someone with experience and skill. However, most of these people who do pumping are not medically trained. One that killed someone in Florida in 2001 was a housecleaner, and I know a TG woman who does it who is a construction worker.

Don't get referrals from hookers or poor girls (esp. Latina chicks, in whose community it's especially popular but often done under the worst conditions). The silicone will probably not be medical grade, and it's likely they'll overdo you because their clientele thinks more is more. Ever seen one of those bubble-butt queens in a club or on the track? Scary. The medical conditions will probably be less than ideal if you go the street route. One that got arrested in New York was filling used syringes out of a dirty coffee mug full of silicone. Mmm.

Don't get too much done at once. This is the most common mistake cosmetically, and the most common cause of death. It's one of the reasons it got outlawed. People were doing too much at once, and it can't settle properly if there's too much introduced at one. Get a small amount, let it settle, then get more. You'll have more problems with migration if you do too much at once. Getting too much at once may seem like a money saver, but it's the best way to get some complications. You'll feel tissue tearing away from the muscle if the silicone is placed at the right depth. If it's too shallow, it can make this skin discolor, usually darkening from the torn capillaries.

Make sure the conditions are as sterile as humanly possible. You'll probably get it done in a hotel room or somebody's apartment. Make sure you watch them unwrap the syringe. Inspect the silicone and the container. Ask what grade it is, and see if they have proof. Make sure it's medical grade 360 and not that industrial grade shit. Make sure they sterilize your butt before they do it.

Do not get tempted to pump your face. The likelihood of migration seems to be higher, and it has to be done with a subtlety few can master. Beauty is a question of millimeters, and it's easy to go too far. (There are a handful of doctors in the US using medical grade silicone face work, such as Orentreich Medical Group. This off-label use is controversial, but if you are considering putting silicone in your face, I strongly recommend doing it under the care of a medcial expert who is either a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist.) Everyone's seen those scary queens who are all lips and cheekbones. For an example, see below.

Do not put pressure on the area for a few days after injection. This can cause it to ooze out the injection holes or take an undesirable shape. This is especially true for the butt. Don't take a hot bath for a few days after.

Massage the bubbles out. It hurts like a mother, but you gotta do it. You'll feel them pop. It's usually helpful to do this after a very hot bath.

It's going to hurt like hell if you sleep, sit on or bump your silicone for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Bumping it even years later can hurt for some people. Try to sleep on your stomach till you feel healed.

You'll have a row of track marks on your ass-- usually four to eight running vertically along the center of the cheek. You'll also have it along your hips if you get them done (which I figure you will). If done under sterile conditions by someone good, they should fade in time.

I have felt silicone boobs and butts of friends, and I will admit that sometimes it feels quite natural. At other times, it feels lumpy. It can look good, but it does settle over time and can give you a droopy butt, especially if you do too much. Only way to fix problems is usually to live with it or have 'em go in and scrape it out. Messy.

Now, about those risks... I strongly urge you not to get this done unless you have very seriously thought about the long-term health risks. Adverse reactions to the injections may include swelling, reddening of the skin, lumpiness of the area treated and development of soft tissue tumors.

I have three close TG friends who had injectable free silicone. Two were showgirls for a long time (one still is)-- one had way too much, the other had about the right amount, if you're going for that drag aesthetic. A third (the most passable) had minimal amounts.

The one with minimal amounts has some sort of autoimmune problem that has doctors baffled. She has what looks like an enormous raised welt covering her right shoulder blade, except it's firm to the touch, like a giant cyst, possibly a lipoma. Many specialists, herbalists, acupuncturists, etc. later, it's still there. Oh, and she's 30.

Is it related to silicone? Maybe, maybe not. That's the weird thing. Introducing foreign materials into the body, especially products that have not been evaluated for safety and effectiveness, could cause all sorts of problems. It's what they call an unknown risk.