Linda Evangelista Speaks Out About Injury and Harm From Cosmetic Procedure Gone Wrong

Cosmetic procedures always come with risks—but no one could’ve predicted what went wrong for supermodel Linda Evangelista. The non-invasive Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure was supposed to reduce fat, however, it wound up having extreme adverse effects.

The 56-year-old recently posted about the experience on her Instagram. “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 wrote.

“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.’”

She continued to explain how the procedure made her develop “paradoxical adipose hyperplasia,” or an increase in fat cells that happens unexpectedly. According to experts, the side effect is pretty rare.

“The exact mechanisms underlying the development of PAH following [CoolSculpting] are unknown,” wrote authors of a study published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal. “Although PAH poses no known health risks due to its benign nature, it is cosmetically unflattering and can be psychologically distressing to patients.”

The CoolSculpting procedure has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is said to help treat fat bulges located under the chin and jawline, thighs, abdomen and flank, as well as bra and back fat, the underside of the buttocks and upper arms.


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CoolSculpting uses cryotherapy, or low temperatures, to essentially freeze off your fat cells. A device is held to the area you want to improve, which then draws tissue into an applicator cup and dispenses the cooling technology. It’s meant for people who have trouble losing the last bit of stubborn fat still hanging on.

Normal side effects of CoolSculpting include things minor things like stinging, aching or cramping during the treatment and some swelling, bruising and redness afterwards.

Besides affecting her physically, Evangelista says her experience with the procedure has really done a lot to negatively affect her mental health. “It 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.

After the mishap, Evangelista filed a $50 million lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics.

“I’m so tired of living this way,” she wrote. “I would like to walk out my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer.”

To hear more about the procedure and how Evangelista fared, check out the video below!

Have you heard of CoolSculpting? Did you know it could ever lead to this kind of side effect?