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Latest CoolSculpting Lawsuit Exposes Dangers of This “Cosmetic” Procedure

In the news: Linda Evangelista, a well-known supermodel, says she has filed suit against Zeltiq, a subsidiary of Allergan, over her unfortunate disfigurement while undergoing the CoolSculpting procedure. Evangelista was apparently stricken by a known side effect of CoolsSculpting known as PAH (Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia), a condition in which the fat cells intended to be shrunk actually grow.

Who Is Linda Evangelista?

a gavel sitting on a white surface

Linda Evangelista is a fashion model originally from Canada. Evangelista saw the peak of her career in the 1990s and is regarded as one of the most influential models ever. Voted “The Greatest Supermodel of All Time,” Evangelista coined the phrase, speaking of models of her caliber, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”

Linda Evangelista’s CoolSculpting Lawsuit

In September of 2021, Linda Evangelista posted on her Instagram account an image of a text-based post in which she tells her followers that she is suing Zeltiq over botched CoolSculpting treatments. In her post, she asserts that she has not been able to work for over five years while her peers’ careers have continued to thrive. Former supermodel Linda Evangelista also claims to have suffered a “cycle of deep depression,” emotional distress, and the “lowest depths of self-loathing” as a result of this cosmetic procedure. 

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting removes fat through a process known as cryolipolysis. The CoolSculpting device is FDA cleared. In essence, the doctor or technician places the treated area between two paddles which cool the area to below freezing and hold the temperature there for around 30 minutes. Some patients find reduced sensitivity in the skin around the procedure for months. Many patients see this as an alternative to the big step of liposuction surgery which is more invasive. CoolSculpting is FDA approved for the treatment of the abdomen, flanks (love handles), upper arm, and more. CoolSculpting is marketed as a way to get rid of stubborn fat on the body not affected by diet and exercise. The procedure is administered using the CoolSculpting System, typically by a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or other aesthetic medicine practitioners.

Have There Been Other CoolSculpting Lawsuits?

Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company that manufactures the CoolSculpting medical device, has been sued before.There is a current class-action lawsuit predating the case announced on Instagram by Ms. Evangelista. And, in an earlier case, resolved in 2018, a California federal judge found that CoolSculpting marketing was not deceptive when it indicated that the fat-freezing system had been “cleared” by the FDA, which is not the same as FDA Approval. That class action was unsuccessful. On the assertion that the marketing was deceptive, the judge indicated that “failure to disclose in its marketing materials the difference between FDA clearance and approval didn’t expose consumers to an unreasonable safety risk.”

Are There Other CoolSculpting Side Effects?

According to Healthline, common side effects may include:

  • Tugging sensation at the treatment site during the procedure
  • Pain, stinging, or aching at the treatment site that may last as much as two weeks
  • Temporary redness, swelling, bruising, skin sensitivity, and sometimes severe pain
  • In the worst case, a more rare side effect that Ms. Evangelista claims to suffer from is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia

Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia happens when, instead of shrinking, the adipose (fat) cells grow. Reports of PAH indicate that it doesn’t go away on its own and requires surgical intervention and potential downtime to resolve. 

No plastic surgery procedure is without potential side effects, but as it appears from Evangelista’s Instagram post, Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure poses a risk for significant disfigurement.

Have You Been Injured by CoolSculpting?

If you believe you have suffered adverse effects from CoolSculpting, please contact our offices. The personal injury attorneys of Leav & Steinberg LLP want to help you. You do not need to feel shame due to an unexpected increase in the fat cells of firm tissue masses – the opposite effect of the medical device.

Allergan, the parent company of Zeltiq, is worth more than 60 billion dollars. If the promise of their product is wrong, it leads to a higher rate of PAH than expected; Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc. and Allergan should be made to pay.

Contact us today if you or someone you know has been injured by CoolSculpting or other medical malpractice or if you believe you have a claim for a products liability lawsuit.