Why Cardi B's Scary Butt Injection Procedure Could Actually Be Life-Threatening

Her underground procedure comes with serious health concerns.

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Cardi B raps about her "big fat ass," but she recently opened up about her backside's backstory. In an interview with GQ, the "Bartier Cardi" artist said she paid $800 to have her buttocks injected with filler in a basement apartment.

"They don't numb your ass with anything," she said. "It was the craziest pain ever. I felt like I was gonna pass out. I felt a little dizzy. And it leaks for, like, five days."

That... doesn't sound good. So we spoke with plastic surgeon Wright Jones, MD, founder and owner of Muse Plastic Surgery in Atlanta, to get to the bottom of butt injections.

Dr. Jones, who was not involved in Cardi's care, thinks her ordeal sounds like a black-market procedure that was done using a non-medical grade substance like silicone. If that were the case, it'd be no surprise that Cardi felt extreme pain; Dr. Jones explains these procedures are typically done in an environment without trained personnel and no anesthesiologist.

As for Cardi's complaint that it leaked in the days following her injection, Dr. Jones thinks the fillers weren't injected deep enough. But the side effects could be far worse than leakage and dizziness. "Most injectors are not doctors and do not understand the anatomy of the body," Dr. Jones tells Health. "The substance can get sucked into the bloodstream and go to major organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys."

Silicone sounds like the correct substance to use–but this is not the same as silicone implants used for breast and buttock enhancement procedures. "Silicone is not supposed to be injected directly into your body," says Dr. Jones. "Silicone implants are encased in a well-developed shell. Silicone liquid is recognized as a foreign object in the body, and the body rejects it."

The body's rejection of silicone can be pain-inducing and potentially life-threatening. The shell of an implant keeps silicone in one place, whereas liquid can travel through blood vessels around the body, the FDA warns. If it blocks blood vessels in the lungs, heart, or brain, "it can cause a stroke, heart failure, respiratory problems, and death," Dr. Jones says. He adds that people have also lost limbs when injected silicone has entered the bloodstream.

While Cardi's leakage lasted for a few days, these serious side effects could show up years after a procedure. Dr. Jones expressed his concern that more and more individuals will come forward with health problems caused by a dangerous injection.

The "gold standard" butt-enhancer is a fat transfer, Dr. Jones says. The procedure sucks out fat by liposuction and transfers it into the buttocks using a sterile and carefully monitored technique. He says most people undergo underground procedures because they're much cheaper than a procedure at a doctor's office. A standard Brazilian butt lift, for example–as shown in this transformation on Dr. Jones' Instagram account–can set you back $8,000 to $10,000.

"It's almost completely due to money," he says. "I think a lot of people would have done it the appropriate way, but they can't afford it."

Know what's free? These celeb-approved exercises for a perkier booty. You'll enhance your derriere–without the potentially dire consequences.

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