Striving for the perfect body may have cost one woman in California her life.
Mayra Lissette Contreras, 22, died after receiving injections of silicone to the buttocks, CBS reports. Autopsy results are still pending, but she is thought to have died from respiratory problems after the operation.
"Stories like this are all too common," cosmetic surgeon Michael Kane told CBS. "I don't know any licensed professional who would inject large amounts of silicone into the body."
When silicone is used for breast implants, it is medical-grade and placed in the body in a capsule.
Underground cosmetic surgeons are not always so careful, using industrial silicone and injecting large quantities of the substance, rather than implanting it.
Silicone injected into the body can have serious medical consequences. These range from heavy scarring to death from breathing problems β as appears to be what happened in Contreras's case.
"It's easy for an injector to hit a vein, the silicon hits the bloodstream and goes to the lungs," Colin Stewart, a columnist for The Orange County Register, told CNN.
Police are now hunting for the two sisters, Alejandra Viveros and Guadalupe Viveros, who are believed to have performed the operation.
The two women were taken into custody on June 21 for practicing medicine without a license, according to The Los Angeles Times. Authorities held the sisters on bail of $20,000, then released them.
The women have gone on the run and may have fled to Mexico.