A bodybuilder who wanted to resemble The Incredible Hulk is instead feeling green, after the synthetic muscle injections he used caused myriad health problems and nearly led to the amputation of his arms.
Romario dos Santos Alves, a 25-year-old from Caldas Novas, Brazil, told Barcroft Media he started injecting his muscles with the mixture of oil and alcohol three years ago in an attempt to beef up his physique. But once he started, he found it difficult to stop.
After repeated injections left him sporting 25-inch biceps -- and in the hospital -- Alves says he realized he had to kick the habit for good. Doctors informed the bodybuilder his arms might need to be amputated because they had necrotic tissue, caused by bacteria infecting the tissue and eating away at itself. In addition, his kidneys were heavily damaged from toxins in the injections.
"I remember the doctor told me that they would need to amputate both arms," he said. "They said everything in there, all my muscles, were rock. It was either that or cut all of my muscles out."
The concoction injected by Alves is likely a cocktail known as "synthol," which the National Institutes of Health report is generally a mixture of oil, the anesthetic lidocaine as a painkiller and alcohol as a sterilizer. Use of the physique-enhancing solution can lead to nerve damage, embolism, heart attack, stroke and infections.
Fortunately for Alves, doctors were able to save his arms by extracting the hardened muscles. He says he's still into bodybuilding, but now he's committed to bulking up naturally.