In a talk with GQ, the rapper said that four years ago, she shelled out $800 to get butt injections done in a basement in Queens. Cardi was 21 at the time and working as a stripper, and she said she was hoping the injections would help her make more money on the job.
Cardi said she “didn’t have enough meat” on her body, so she couldn’t do liposuction to transfer fat to her butt. Hence, the injectable fillers.
The whole process sounds pretty freaking terrible: “They don’t numb your ass with anything,” she told GQ. “It was the craziest pain ever. I felt like I was gonna pass out. I felt a little dizzy. And it leaks for, like, five days.”
Cardi said, despite all that, she actually went back for a second round of injections. “But by the time I was gonna go get it, the lady got locked up ’cause she’s supposedly killed somebody. Well, somebody died on her table,” Cardi said.
Whoa. Clearly it’s a bad idea to get butt injections from some random person who wasn't licensed to perform them. But what else was going on here?
Cardi was likely injected with synthetic material like silicone or hydrogel to increase the size of her butt, says Matthew Schulman, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in New York City. Here’s the thing: Neither of these are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for butt augmentation. “These injections are extremely dangerous and can even lead to death,” Schulman says.
The injections, which may be done using non-medical grade materials, can cause infections, he explains. Plus, there's the risk that an unlicensed person could inject whatever they’re using into a blood vessel, which could kill you instantly.
In 2017, the FDA even issued a warning against using silicone injections for body contouring purposes after receiving reports of increasing numbers of people receiving these types of injections in private homes or unlicensed facilities.
But what about that...leak? “Typically with these illegal injections, large needles are used which can cause the material to leak out for days from the large holes left by the needle injections,” Schulman says.
The only safe way to surgically increase the size of your butt with injections is by using your own fat, Schulman says. This is known as the “Brazilian Butt Lift” and it involves taking fat from another part of your body through liposuction and re-injecting your fat into your butt or hips, he explains.
What we can all learn from Cardi: If you’re interested in giving your rump a bump, please see a board-certified plastic surgeon.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.