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Doctors link woman’s butt fillers to sepsis diagnosis 14 months after procedure

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Doctors in Ireland will present a case next month involving a 29-year-old woman who was treated for sepsis that was linked to dermal filler injections in her buttocks that she received 14 months prior. The woman endured a nearly three-week-long hospital stay and then required six weeks of antibiotics to clear the infection, the case report stated. 

Her doctors said the woman, whose case will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) held online from July 9-12, had no prior medical history, and had developed nausea and an abscess at the site of injection that was surrounded by 15-centimeteres of cellulitis. Subsequent blood tests revealed high levels of white blood cells and C-reactive protein, which indicates inflammation. 

Doctors trained the abscess with samples testing positive for staphylococcus lugdunensis and pseudomonas orzihabitans, which is a rare cause of skin and soft tissue infection, according to a news release posted on EurekAlert.org. 

Five days later the abscess was drained again and dead tissue and filler material was removed. Following her 18-day hospital stay and six weeks of antibiotics her wound has healed, but doctors said it is a reminder “that it’s important to choose a reputable cosmetic surgeon.” 

“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 biofilm),” Dr. Siobhan Quirke, of Dublin’s St. James Hospital, said in the news release. “Pseudomonas oryzihabitans is an unusual cause of human infection, but in recent years it has become increasingly linked with hospital-acquired and opportunistic infections.” 

Quirke said that while treatment is not difficult, it’s important that cosmetic patients and health professionals be aware of the potential for infection as interest in fillers grows. Overall, complications stemming from injected dermal fillers remain rare, with the report’s authors estimating an issue may occur in one out of every 20,000 procedures, or in one out of every 100 patients. 

“However, complications are increasing as fillers become one of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures,” Quirke said. “It’s something both cosmetic patients and health professionals need to be aware of.” 

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