Why are “pumping parties,” or underground silicone-injection parties, cropping up across the country, and what are the health risks?
Padge-Victoria Windslowe — better known as the “Black Madam” — will stand trial next week on charges that one woman died and another came close to dying after silicone was illegally, but voluntarily injected into their rear-ends.
The Philadelphia case has garnered international attention and shed a light on “pumping parties,” underground and dangerous events that have cropped up around the country in the name of beauty.
Women who want rounder and fuller posteriors pay to have silicone or other substances injected into their behinds.
Typically, a party’s host, who has no medical training, injects partygoers at these un-advertised events.
In Philadelphia, the injections were allegedly sealed using cotton balls and Krazy Glue. Participants were then instructed to lie down for a few hours before going home, according to court testimony.
For Temple University sociology professor Julia Ericksen, “pumping parties” aren’t particularly shocking. Instead, she said, they simply illustrate today’s attitude towards body enhancement.
“We live in a world that believes in plastic bodies — that our bodies are what we make of them and so that’s a lot of what I think is going on here, is that young women feel that they can have a certain kind of body and furthermore they should have a certain kind of body,” said Ericksen.
As for the focus on bigger butts, Ericksen said like many body-image trends, a lot of it is media-driven.
“Everyone, including me, has seen the images of Kim Kardashian. They’ve seen those images of women with those zaftig figures and that’s become a very fashionable way to be,” she said.
Serious health risks
Going to pumping parties instead of a plastic surgeon, is also likely a matter of cost, said Penn Medicine plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Serletti. But he warned that lower costs come with a number of very serious health risks.
For starters, the procedure is often performed in non-sterile environments and without medical consultations.
“The silicone can migrate, it can get infected,” said Serletti. “Some of the terrible outcomes have been where the injectable material has been injected directly into the bloodstream which then causes clot, or death, or sudden death.”
Serletti said buttock enhancement is not a common procedure for the city’s plastic surgeons. When it is done, the patient’s own fat is typically injected.
At least two women have suffered severe complications after being injected with silicone in Philadelphia. Both known incidents are part of the Windslowe case.
In February 2011, a 20-year-old hip-hop dancer from England died just days after Windslowe allegedly injected her inside a hotel.
Claudia Aderotimi reportedly complained of chest pains and difficultly breathing post-injection.
A year later, an exotic dancer ended up at Lankenau Hospital after allegedly attending one of Windslowe’s “pumping parties.”
The woman, who prosecutors asked media to identify simply as “Miss King,” survived after spending more than a week in the hospital, though she still struggles to breath at times after doctors discovered silicone particles in her lungs, according to court testimony.
Windslowe was arrested at a March 2012 “pumping party” in East Germantown seconds before the injections started. A source inside alerted a police surveillance team stationed outside.
Windslowe is charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and unauthorized practice of medicine.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday.
If convicted of murder, she could face a lengthy prison sentence – up to 88 years behind bars.
A gag order barred prosecutors and defense attorneys from commenting on the case.