By Stephanie Guler - Senior Content & Social Media Developer | August 3rd, 2011
Many people love a good do-it-yourself (DIY) project.
DIY is a phrase used to describe building, modifying or repairing something, without the aid of experts or professionals, according to Wikipedia.
There are many websites, blogs, and television shows dedicated solely to DIY, and pretty much anything goes. Maybe it’s the bad economy, or simply the need to make or fix something, but people can’t seem to get enough of it.
On the Internet, you can find everything from do-it-yourself fashion to home improvement, and everything in between.
Recently, however, there’s been a new trend in the world of DIY: surgery. Yes, that’s right, do-it-yourself, at home, without a doctor, surgery.
Scary, isn’t it?
Last week, ABC News reported a story about a 63-year-old man who tried to perform surgery on his hernia sitting on his porch outside. His tools? A butter knife and a cigarette.
Thankfully, he also made a DIY phone call to 911, and the man is now recovering at a Los Angeles hospital. If he would’ve waited any longer, he could have seriously hurt himself, or even worse, died.
While this may seem like the wacky story of the week, this isn’t an isolated incident of do-it-yourself medicine.
Because it’s just silly, and not to mention completely hazardous to your health; something that every sane medical professional can agree on.
“In general, people who would undertake a very risky surgical procedure on themselves would be desperate and likely suffering from a major psychiatric illness. It shows a profound lack of judgment,” said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UCLA.
One anonymous woman, (ABC News called her ‘Alex’), thought performing self-injections to erase the wrinkles in her face would save her money. She said, “I thought, why should I pay somebody else who got a few hours of training to do something I think I can do pretty easily, actually.”
Alex, like many others, ordered an unknown wrinkle filler called “Vitalift” from the Internet, and administered injections into her face after watching a few instructional online videos.
The results were indeed transforming, but not in a good way. Alex experienced bags below her eyes and an infection under her skin as a result of her DIY injections, and ultimately had to visit a doctor to repair the self-inflicted damage.
Another story involves two women who injected themselves with a homemade combination of silicone and saline for a do-it-yourself Brazilian butt lift. Following the “procedure”, both of the women suffered life-threatening kidney damage.
“It’s very embarrassing that somebody would actually do this,” confessed one woman who injected $10 worth of silicone into her face. “Insane, I can’t believe I did what I did,” she told ABC. Since her DIY surgery, she’s had to undergo a host of reconstructive cosmetic surgeries to get her face back to normal.
There was also a recent report of a DIY gastric bypass surgery kit being sold on Amazon.com. While the product is “currently unavailable” on the website, it’s still absolutely mind blowing to think that someone is actually capable of purchasing this “kit” and performing major surgery on themselves.
“I went to school for four years, and then seven years just to get the surgical fundamentals. To assume someone could perform a procedure in their own home is absurd,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel, plastic surgeon and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
These stories are incredibly shocking, and it makes you wonder, why didn’t these people just see a doctor in the first place? They all ended up at a professional’s office anyway, so the logical thing to do would be to just skip the DIY part.
If money is the issue, there are other solutions, including medical tourism. Many countries like Mexico, Philippines, Brazil and Argentina are hotspots for medical tourists, and offer a fairly safe plastic surgery experience at a discounted price.
The most important thing to remember when thinking about any surgery is there are always risks involved. Patients should consult a board-certified medical professional before considering any medical procedure, and it might be best to talk with a psychologist if you’re thinking about doing it yourself.
This article was written by the medical research team at WhereismyDoctor.com
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