Doctors issue warning after woman suffers sepsis following cosmetic procedure

Patient presented to St James’s with serious infection after receiving buttock filler

Dr Siobhan Quirke says the woman needed hospital treatment for the potentially deadly condition some 14 months after having a dermal filler injection. File photograph: iStock

Dr Siobhan Quirke says the woman needed hospital treatment for the potentially deadly condition some 14 months after having a dermal filler injection. File photograph: iStock

 

Medics have issued a warning over buttock fillers after a 29-year-old woman suffered sepsis after undergoing the cosmetic procedure.

Dr Siobhan Quirke and colleagues from St James’s Hospital in Dublin told a conference how the woman needed hospital treatment for the potentially deadly condition some 14 months after having a dermal filler injection.

Fillers are used to enhance the buttocks and vary by brand. They are intended to give shape without the need for a full surgical procedure.

The woman, who had no previous medical history, was taken to the emergency department after developing nausea and an abscess at the site of the injection in her buttock.

Medics found the injection area was surrounded by 15cm of cellulitis – a skin infection that can become life-threatening.

Blood tests revealed high levels of white blood cells and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

The patient was put straight on antibiotics and doctors drained her abscess the following day.

Blood samples showed the infection was caused by the bacteria staphylococcus lugdunensis, which can cause a wide range of infections, and pseudomonas oryzihabitans, a rare cause of skin and soft tissue infection.

Scans also showed that both buttocks were suffering inflammation.

After five days, the abscess was drained again and 500ml of dead tissue and filler was removed.

The patient, who does not wish to be identified, was given intravenous antibiotics and discharged after 18 days in hospital.

She needed a further six weeks of antibiotic treatment at home but is now well and her wound has completely healed.

Increasing complications

Speaking ahead of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Dr Quirke suggested that complications following use of injected dermal fillers are rare.

“However, complications are increasing as fillers become one of the fastest growing cosmetic procedures”, she said.

“It’s something both cosmetic patients and health professionals need to be aware of.

“The reason for the substantial delay between surgery and infection is not clear but may be due to the unusual organisms that can live on the surface of the dermal filler [known as a biofilm].

“Pseudomonas oryzihabitans is an unusual cause of human infection, but in recent years it has become increasingly linked with hospital-acquired and opportunistic infections.

“Thankfully, treatment is not difficult due to the low level of resistance to common antibiotics.

“Nevertheless, this case serves as a reminder that it’s important to choose a reputable cosmetic surgeon.” – PA