The booty is the beautiful finale at the end of a long pair of legs. It comes in all exquisite shapes and flavors — round, bouncy, chiseled, or firm. It’s erotic eye-candy, and for many women who recognize their derriere as a commodity of attraction, their butt can become an object of obsession.

This fixation on attaining the perfect booty goes beyond just squats and lunges. Quite the contrary, ass infatuation can become obscenely unhealthy, as was brought to light by the recent conviction of Oneal Ron Morris, South Florida’s most infamous butt “doctor,” for horribly botched butt surgeries. Without a medical license, the fraudulent practitioner was injecting industrial substances like mineral oil, tire fluid, and bathroom caulking directly into patients’ cheeks to augment the appearance of their posteriors. Just as men have long sought to enlarge their assets at the end of a syringe, women now attempt the same with illicit butt injections.

Unsurprisingly, illegal ass enhancement is extremely hazardous. As a Denver plastic surgeon, Dr. Manish Shah, phrases it, “Anyone who’s had illicit injections essentially has a ticking time bomb on their backside.” Dr. Shah, whose medical practice is approximately 20 percent butt augmentation procedures, has grown very familiar with the menace of this black market.

But hazardous ass amplifying practices are gaining popularity in particularly body-conscious parts of the country. In recent years, South Florida has become the epicenter of a black market butt injection epidemic, motivated by beauty standards that revere voluptuous curves.

“My patients will bring me photos of Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez and ask me to recreate that look,” explains Dr. Gregory Buford, a certified plastic surgeon also based out of Denver. At Dr. Buford’s practice, butt augmentation is a prospering procedure, and one that he expects will continue growing over the next few years.

Studies show he’s probably right. Procedures focusing on the fanny have become the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery, and this past year, reports estimate that a buttock procedure was performed every 30 minutes of every day, on average.

But the black market has flourished along with the legitimate one — likely because not everyone who wants to fix their flat backside can afford the expensive price tag on authentic cosmetic surgery. Back alley quacks lure underprivileged clients in with bargain price points and promises of minimal recovery time, then inject their patients with low-cost liquids like mineral oil or hardware store silicone.

Such procedures can induce a strong autoimmune response as the body attempts to expel the foreign substance, resulting in reactions such as boils, skin discoloration, or cell and tissue destruction. These substances also have a likelihood of entering the bloodstream, getting fused to other organs or spreading infection throughout the body, quite possibly to a lethal extent.

Even despite their dangers, these underground methods maintain their allure given our “video vixen culture,” as Dr. Shah describes it. “A lot of my patients, particularly my Hispanic and African American patients, will ask me for a significant hip to waist ratio,” Dr. Shah says. In other words, they demand a miniature waist and a monstrous booty. “And I have to tell them it’s not anatomically possible!” he chuckles.

Essentially, many women are asking for feminine frames that their bodies cannot physically support. Their waists can’t be trimmed down to the extent they request because their rib cage is in the way, or their butts can’t be excessively plumped up because their narrow pelvis can’t uphold that dump-truck donk.

“Some of my patients’ ‘wish pics’ are of these South American models who you can easily tell have had illegal injections of toxic chemicals,” Dr. Shah laments. He wishes his clients didn’t measure their beauty by these unhealthy and unattainable standards.

But fundamentally altering feminine beauty ideals seems like an impossible ambition to achieve. A more practical way, and perhaps the only way, to wipe out the underground market for ass enhancement is through authorities’ intervention.

“For so long, practicing medicine without a license would only get you a fine or a slap on the wrist,” Dr. Buford says as we discuss the recent string of arrests in Florida and Texas. “Thankfully, police are finally cracking down. They’re recognizing that these are life-threatening offenses, and they’re stepping up to put an end to it.”

The underground butt enhancement industry would never require police action if patients only educated themselves before sticking a syringe in their ass. The truth of the matter is: when it comes to plastic surgery, you get what you pay for. Certified surgeons with a license on the line are strongly incentivized to ensure your safety, while back alley frauds are more likely to take your money and poke you with some toxic substance they found under the kitchen sink.

If you want a bigger, better butt, the beauty of the booty is that it’s largely muscle which can be enlarged with resistance exercises. Granted, genetics determine much of the size and shape of your tooshie, so it’s possible that heredity has your booty stuck in a perpetually paltry state. But if the stairmaster isn’t cutting it and you can’t afford cosmetic surgery, there’s always Booty Pop™, the padded bra for your behind.

Dr. Shah and Dr. Buford fantasize a future rear-end industry where women are well-educated, prioritize safety over price, and don’t desperately overlook logic in their search for the perfect posterior. After all, a killer booty can’t be worth getting killed.