The catwalk star, who was one of the most famous models of the 1990s, said she has developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), which has “destroyed my livelihood” and sent her into “a cycle of deep depression”, which has led to her becoming a recluse.
PAH is described as a rare and adverse effect of CoolSculpting, or cryolipolysis, when fatty tissue grows instead of shrinking in response.
Evangelista (56) wrote on Instagram: “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.
“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, ‘unrecognisable’.
“I have developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia or PAH, a risk of which I was not made aware before I had the procedures.
“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. In the process, I have become a recluse.”
CoolSculpting is the brand name for cryolipolysis, a popular fat freezing procedure that cools the fat to a freezing temperature so frozen, dead fat cells can be excreted out of the body through the liver.
The CoolSculpting website says it is used for “treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll), and upper arm”.
The website also warns that “rare side-effects may also occur” and “may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area, which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction”.
Evangelista also indicated she was taking legal action, adding: “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.”
During her heyday, Evangelista was a regular fixture on the catwalk and magazine covers, as well as numerous advertising campaigns.
She also appeared alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington in the famous music video for George Michael’s
Zeltiq’s parent company Allergan has been contacted for comment.
A number of clinics in Ireland offer cool sculpting, which is claimed by a leading clinic here to be the world’s “number one fat freezing treatment”.
Possible side-effects include a tugging sensation at the treatment site or temporary redness, swelling, bruising, and skin sensitivity.
It has been estimated that PAH occurs in one out of every 4,000 treatment cycles, however, in a paper published by Lippincott journals in 2018 authors estimated that one out of every 138 patients experienced PAH.
It was successfully treated in all cases.
It does not appear that this side-effect is listed on the website of four leading clinics that offer the treatment in
However, one clinic said
it is listed as a possible side-effect along with others on a form that patients have to sign before getting the procedure.