Deccan Chronicle

Cosmetic procedure disfigured super model

Deccan Chronicle| Gayatri Reddy Bhatia

Published on: September 24, 2021 | Updated on: September 24, 2021

Linda Evangelista reveals the horrors of cool-sculpting, which ruined her body and career, letting fat cells multiply uncontrollably

Linda Evangelista

Linda Evangelista

One of the original supermodels Linda Evangelista — who’d famously said, "I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day!" — was in bed, hiding for five years because of a slimming procedure that had gone horribly wrong and made her unrecognisably fat!
On Thursday, she revealed to her Instagram family, "Today, I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years. To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised."
She further added, "I have developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia … (it) 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. In the process, I have become a recluse."
Apparently, the unsuspecting model developed a very rare side-effect of the procedure, of which she was not warned about beforehand! Two corrective surgeries turned out to be sadly unsuccessful.

Dangerous precedents

The scariest part about this is that cool sculpting, a non-invasive body sculpting procedure that promises to freeze all the fat cells out of stubborn areas, is very commonly available and recommended everywhere in India.
An uncomfortable procedure where love handles and other hard flab are targeted, frozen and then massaged (quite painful) by a professional, this is said only to work if you keep up with the diet and exercise! You need to do a couple of sittings and each sitting can set you back Rs 50,000 per session.
Linda’s experience shows how important it is to read the fine print and be fully aware of even the minutest risks before deciding to get rid of anything, fat cells included, in our bodies.

One size doesn’t fit all!

We must realize that every medical procedure is meant for specific purpose and for specific patients. Cool Sculpting procedure although is non-invasive but has significant side effects for people with neurologic or orthopaedic problems, in fact, it is not for those who are overweight or obese. Before choosing any procedure, one needs to understand the eligibility criteria, adverse effects, etc. For weight reduction, the best option is to modify your diet and lifestyle. When this option fails then only minimally invasive endoscopic or laparoscopic techniques come into picture.

Dr G.V.Rao, Chief of Surgical Gastroenterology, AIG Hospitals


Doctor must give the patient a clear picture

By Dr Duriya Hussain

Success of cool sculpting depends on the skill of the practitioner. You need to understand what is the correct setting and the patient it’s being done on. Was a patch test done to rule out allergic/rare reactions like paradoxical adipose hyperplasia? Were all the potential side-effects and dangers listed?
There are two main problems these days: One is the commercialisation of the billion dollar cosmetic industry where doctors find it hard to say no, and second is people having unrealistic expectations from procedures. There are patients who want to get work done to correct how they look in pictures (don’t realise that sometimes it could just be a bad angle!)
You can’t blame the knife if fingers instead of vegetables get chopped; it’s the doctor’s responsibility to give patients a clear picture.

(The writer is a cosmetic physician)

An unfortunate situation
When a patient develops paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, initially the procedure looks like it’s a success. However, after a few months the results on the body part seem to disappear, replaced by a firmer collagen rich shape of the applicator used, (the applicator is shaped like a small tub of butter and is used to freeze the required body part).
It’s a very unfortunate situation where Linda was unaware of the risks of the procedure and then went on to experience them. But the risk is so small that in the 11 years of Revere Clinics performing Coolsculpting on thousands of patients, we have only experienced 9 such cases, out of which only five patients opted to have successful corrective surgery. 
However, from the social media posts, the problem appears not with Coolsculpting, but the two corrective surgeries that Linda had. The procedure to correct this is not technically difficult, it’s a type of liposuction, and its often done whilst the patient is awake.
Normally when you are doing any procedure, including CoolSculpting, the patient signs a consent form which details all the risks.
Dr Sach Mohan, Director and founder of Revere Clinics, A global authority on coolsculpting and co- author and investigator of the most recent iCool study on CoolSculpting


‘Detail the risk involved’

Every procedure, including non-invasive ones come with a risk. There is such a low risk like 0.025 per cent to 0.5 per cent associated with cool sculpting that you feel it’s fine to do. It’s important for doctors to take an informed consent after detailing the risks involved. Unfortunately even after regular workouts and diets, a few people who have stubborn pockets of fat, may need procedures like cool sculpting, if you want to get rid of them.
— Dr Lakshmi Sharda, dermatologist

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