Supermodel Linda Evangelista, 56, spoke out on Instagram yesterday, claiming that a procedure intended to decrease the number of fat cells she has left her "deformed."
Evangelista wrote in her post that she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) as a result of undergoing the fat-freezing procedure CoolSculpting, adding that she wasn't warned of this risk before consenting to the treatment.
Linda-Evangelista-Cool-Sculpture-Treatment-GettyImages-477559316 Science Daily.
"Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years," she wrote. She then explained why she hasn't been modeling in recent years. "The reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised," she continued. "It increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries. I have been left, as the media has described, 'unrecognizable.'"
CoolSculpting reduces fat by applying a "cooling panel" to the body, according to the website for ZELTIQ Aesthetics, which licenses and markets CoolSculpting. The applicator adheres to the body, and patients might feel certain sensations during the procedure, such as tugging or pinching, before going numb. One session of the company's CoolSculpting Elite treatment reduces up to 25% of fat cells in the affected area, the company claims.
A statement on the website of Allergan, of which ZELTIQ Aesthetics is a subsidiary, includes this warning: "CoolSculpting may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction."
According to a 2014 article in JAMA Dermatology, PAH is a rare side effect of some device-based therapies. "Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is [an] example of unintended stimulation of tissue growth, following a treatment that injures the target tissue," the article explains, citing the case of a man in his 40s who developed the condition after undergoing a cooling treatment, the purpose of which was fat reduction. The incidence of this side effect, per the JAMA report, is 0.0051%.
Evangelista said the condition has changed her life for the worse. "PAH has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing," she wrote. "In the process, I have become a recluse."
She then announced she is taking legal action against the makers of CoolSculpting. "With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story. I'm so tired of living this way. I would like to walk out my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer."
ZELTIQ Aesthetics did not immediately respond to Health's request for comment.
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