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Sesame oil injections cause fatty lumps in your pecs

One morning, in his upper chest area on the left-hand side, near his shoulder joint, the lifeguard discovered a couple of lumps. They were about a centimetre in diameter, but not painful. Well, only a little, when pressure was applied. The dermatologists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen examined him and found there were more than a couple of these lumps about ten of them in total, and on the right side of his chest too.

Sesame oil injections cause fatty lumps in your pecs
After further questioning the bodybuilder admitted that he'd been injecting sesame oil in his chest area for three months, in imitation of American bodybuilders. "It's normal there", claimed the bodybuilder. He'd bought a bottle at a pharmacy and injected a total of 1.5 litres of the oil into his pectoral muscles. He did so after every training session, injecting 20 ml each time.

The doctors inserted a needle into one of the lumps. It contained a white, oily fluid. It was surrounded by a layer of connective tissue that was calcified in places. When examined under the microscope it became clear that the connective tissue consisted of immune cells, which had emitted toxins that had killed the surrounding tissue. In this way the immune cells had encapsulated the oil. And the space around the capsules had filled up with fluid.

Sesame oil injections cause fatty lumps in your pecs

Fat lump under the microscope Above: calcified connective tissue. Below: channel with fluid, and bottom, damaged body tissue surrounding the swelling.

The oil apparently contained something that the immune system had recognised as a foreign body.

The Germans called the lumps 'oleomas'. They were unable to find references to comparable swellings in the literature. There was a case of a steroids user who had injected himself with sesame oil containing nandrolone decanoate, and had developed a tumour-like growth in his buttock muscle but this was not the same as what the lifeguard had. His lumps bore more resemblance to the oleomas that doctors have sometimes found in transsexuals.

These transsexuals had injected themselves with silicon and oil to make their figure more feminine. Sometimes injected fat moves around the body. Doctors have reported cases of silicon and fat being found in the scrotum of transsexuals after they had injected the substances into their hip area.

The Germans have no idea how many bodybuilders inject themselves with sesame oil, but they say it is extremely dangerous. They hope that their article will encourage sesame-oil using bodybuilders to seek other strategies.

Sesame oil injections cause fatty lumps in your pecs

The Germans published their case study in 2000. A year later Danish doctors published a case study of a 26 year-old bodybuilder who had developed painful swellings after injecting himself with walnut oil for a few months. [Ugeskr Laeger. 2001 Nov 26;163(48):6758.]. Other Danish doctors wrote an article in 2010 about a bodybuilder who had injected a litre of paraffin oil into each arm. [Ugeskr Laeger. 2010 Jan 18;172(3):219-20.]

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Feb;42(2 Pt 1):292-4.