Model Laura Summers Says Botched Lip Injections 'Made Me A Monster'




"I looked in the mirror and screamed," said Laura Summers the morning after a quicky lip injection. "All I could see was a monster looking back at me."

Summers, 27, was working as a model at a trade fair, when she heard a promoter from another stall say that they were offering on-the-spot lip fillers, reports the British tabloid, The Sun. Summers was no stranger to plastic surgery; four boob jobs, one breast reduction, two nose jobs, two ear pinnings, six rounds of facial filling, six botox jabs, and three injections of collagen had cost her 46,500 pounds ($72,935), landed her in serious debt, and earned her the tabloid title of Britain's vainest woman. She loved it.

"They said they were licensed and legitimate," says Summers, "so I thought, 'Why not?' "

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But this was no casual face primping. The procedure took only a few minutes and cost just 200 pounds, but soon Summers felt dizzy and couldn't feel her lips. When the numbness spread to her whole face, she went back to the stall where she'd had the procedure, but they'd packed up shop.

"It was then I felt I'd been well and truly conned," says Summers. "They were just have-a-go sharks."

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Summers went home, and when she awoke the next morning, her lips were four times their normal size. She rushed to the hospital, but doctors didn't know what to do; they had no idea what had been put in her lips.

When Summers finally found the number of the firm that performed the injection, she was told over the phone that "these things happen," reports The Sun, and that it had gone out of business. It took a round of antibiotics and several months for her lips to begin to shrink down. More than 20 months later, Summers is now speaking out against rogue cosmetic companies.

"I thought for a while I might be scarred for life or I could have even got an infection and died," she told The Sun.

Unlicensed plastic surgeons have mutilated the flesh of thousands of victims, and cost several their lives. Last week, Padge Victoria Windslowe was arrested on a third-degree murder charge, after allegedly administering an illegal and fatal silicone injection in a 20-year-old woman's buttocks in February 2011. The Philadelphia woman was arrested after allegedly giving a similar injection at a "pumping party," which caused a woman to suffer symptoms of heart failure as the substance traveled through her bloodstream and into her lungs.

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In Florida, Oneal Morris was arrested last week as well, and charged with the death of a woman whose buttocks, hips, thighs and breasts were pumped with an unknown substance. The victim had told friends that the regions became hard, hot and black, and she subsequently suffered "massive systemic silicone migration," according to a medical examiner, and died. Other clients of Morris were allegedly pumped with a cocktail of cement, super glue, and Fix-A-Flat tire sealant by the South Florida woman.

In February, the police arrested Carmel Foster, who allegedly performed multiple breast augmentation surgeries with an unidentified substance in the back of her Tyler, Texas, hair salon. One of her clients was left in critical condition, according to a local officer.

As cosmetic surgery has become more common, some who seek it are treating it more casually -- happy to find a practitioner who will charge less than a $1,000 for a procedure that usually costs many times that. But cosmetic surgery is surgery, and cosmetic surgeons must legally be a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy, and have completed four years of medical school, in addition to a two- to six-year residency.

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But even doctors with these qualifications might not be trained in plastic surgery. A surge in the popularity of these kinds of operations has led to "practice drift," reports USA Today, in which doctors move outside their normal specialities into cosmetic tweaking as a way to pump up profits. At the end of last year, only 11 states had statutes specifying that doctors have to be competent in all the procedures that they perform. In more than half of states, a surgery facility doesn't have to be licensed, and so may not have emergency drugs and equipment on hand.

Accreditation boards, like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, can provide some assurance to patients who are looking for a surgeon who meets strict requirements for training and safety. So before you let a person inject something into your body, it's probably worth checking out the credentials.

"I played Russian roulette with my health and my looks," said Summers, whose lips still haven't fully returned to normal, "and I will never do it again."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that Carmel Foster's hair salon is in Houston.


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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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clairekaczmar

It is difficult for me to feel any sort of sympathy in this type of situation. If you are going so far as to alter your physical appearance PERMANENTLY, don't you think you should be taking time to properly RESEARCH who you are dealing with? There are TONS of valuable resources to help narrow down affordable, ACCREDITED doctors (plasticsurgery.org or vegaplasticsurgery.com). They offer a WIDE list of resources to find PROPER surgeons. I can't for the life of me understand why you would take the cheap route in something as important as your physical health.

November 13 2013 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mopsy1

hilarious--she should fit right in--there are hundreds of "stars" who look like Ubangis with the way overdone lip jobs.

August 06 2012 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
saltpepperalt

why would she even need plastic surgery? she looked fine before and she looks a lot worse now. and i do think that they should stop plastic surgery cause god made each and evry one of us how he liked it an you guys just want to go and do something that will make you look ugly! and there is no point in having plastic surgery!!!

August 06 2012 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KB2JXM

Ever read a book? It's "I", not "i". We capitalize every first word of a sentence as taught.

August 06 2012 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KB2JXM

Pirate Bunnty, learn how to use the shift key when needed. You type like a lazy 2nd grader. The shift key isn't there for decoration.

August 06 2012 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
piratebunny4

oh boo hoo...cry me a river. i have no use for people who feel the need to change their body's to make themselves feel better. it is my opinion that all models should be band from plastic surgery. it sets a false standard of beauty that most woman will never be able to achieve. i hope she learns a little humility and a good lesson from this experience.

August 05 2012 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
abeth118

Serves you right - you deserve whatever you get. Just look around lady - Joan Rivers is a perfect example of plastic surgery gone wrong. You women all look like freaks with your continued and unnecessary surgeries. Stick with your natural beauty and stop messing up your face. Plastic surgery is not permanent - it must be redone over and over again ... why put yourself through the expense and trauma to end up claiming the doctor "botched" you up?? He didn't botch you up - you did it to yourself.

August 03 2012 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lindalawrence

The price of vanity....

August 02 2012 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
granmaslincoln

Obsession can kill you.

August 01 2012 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joan Lloyd

Did you hear of the 14 year old who just had plastics done? Did you notice how these adult crimimals are selling everything to our dumb parents for their children? Cell phone companies started this sell to kids....and it has certainly taken off. We are a greedy set of people. We all seem to want unnecessary things and are missing the stubstantive things that grow the soul.

August 01 2012 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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