Freezing away fat: Model Linda Evangelista says she is “permanently deformed” because of the treatment. The possible side effects are only known to a few

Taking action against small fat deposits with cold has been a cosmetic trend for years. Now the supermodel Linda Evangelista is going to court after an intervention. According to doctors, the phenomenon is apparently insufficiently recorded.

Das Supermodel Linda Evangelista lässt sich im Jahr 1990 neben Giorgio Armani ablichten.

The supermodel Linda Evangelista was photographed next to Giorgio Armani in 1990.


ran. Freezing off fat is a beauty treatment that has been on trend for years. The American FDA approved cryolipolysis – or coolsculpting – in 2012. In 2019, around 130,000 such treatments were performed in the United States. They are also offered in Switzerland.

During the procedure, the fatty tissue is locally strongly cooled with a specialized applicator. The fat cells die in the process.

A supermodel is unrecognizable

According to several media reports, this procedure is not suitable for combating obesity, but is only suitable to reduce small amounts of fat in individual places.

Providers warn of possible side effects such as redness, swelling, sensory disturbances the treatment site, but also against hematomas. In Switzerland several frostbite had to be treated.

Well Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista, famous around the world since the 1990s, reached out to the public on Instagram. Accordingly, she had undergone a cool sculpting treatment five years ago and has been “brutally disfigured” since then. The procedure had exactly the opposite of what was hoped: the fat cells had increased. Two operations could not have helped her either, she was “permanently deformed” and unrecognizable.

According to her information she developed a paradoxical obese hyperplasia ( PAH). She was not informed about this possible side effect in advance. PAH destroyed her livelihood and plunged her into severe depression, she writes. She has become a hermit. With the step to the public and a lawsuit in the amount of 50 million dollars against the southern Californian company Zeltiq, which is behind the Coolsculpting brand, she now wants to get rid of her feelings of shame.

Evangelista im Jahr 1996.

Evangelista in 1996.

Horst Galuschka / Imago

Cases probably poorly documented

It has been known since 2014 that this form of fat removal can cause paradoxical obese hyperplasia as a rare side effect. The fat tissue increases in the area treated by cryolipolysis. The first such case is said to have been reported to the device manufacturer as early as 2011.

Several reports from researchers and surgeons conclude that paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is more common than the device manufacturer stated.

Thus, specialist journals write of incidences in the amount of 0.39, 0.47, 0.78 percent or even 1.00 percent. The latter is 200 times as high as the device manufacturer’s statement of 0.0051 percent. “The discrepancy between the incidence rates found in the literature suggests that PAH is likely to be insufficiently recorded and misdiagnosed,” said the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in 2020.

Furthermore, several authors agree that men have a greater risk of developing PAH, than women. A study suggests a genetic predisposition as the cause after it became known that twin brothers were diagnosed with PAH after Coolsculpting from various providers.

Above The specific side effect and the number of cases are not yet sufficiently information.

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