Complications after liquid body contouring with site-enhancing oil injections

Clin Dermatol. 2022 Sep-Oct;40(5):556-563. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2022.03.001. Epub 2022 Apr 6.


Liquid body contouring by intramuscular injection of site-enhancing oils (SEOs) for muscle volume enlargement has increasingly become a popular practice in bodybuilding. Its immediate and long-term health consequences remain ambiguous, and postinjection complications are sparsely documented in medical literature. We report a series of patients presenting with postinjection complications upon self-attempted liquid body contouring through injection of SEOs. Ten patients visited our departments for plastic and reconstructive surgery for variable local and systemic complications. All patients gave a history of single or multiple SEO use and presented on average nine years postinjection with variable complications. Most patients experienced painful nodular indurations and swellings in the injected target muscles. Two patients showed signs of infection including erythema, fever, and local inflammatory findings. One patient presented additionally with a severe form of nonparathyroid hypercalcemia. Four patients ultimately underwent surgical treatment. The use of SEOs for liquid body contouring is a dangerous practice and is associated with potentially systemic and life-threatening complications. Surgical treatment may be the only therapeutic option in advanced cases and should be performed timely. Guidelines on diagnostic and therapeutic measures are warranted. Educational measures should be undertaken to raise awareness among athletes and medical professionals.

MeSH terms

  • Body Contouring* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular / adverse effects
  • Pain