CoolSculpting Safety


If you read the news, by now you’ve read the story of supermodel Linda Evangelista. After undergoing seven CoolSculpting treatments by a dermatologist, she developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH). 

PAH is a very rare side-effect of cryolipolysis — or CoolSculpting. It’s unknown what causes PAH to develop in a small percentage of patients (less than 1%). But in these patients, instead of fat cells breaking down and leaving the body, fat cells expand and become thicker. This rare occurrence is sometimes referred to as the “butter effect” because that area of fat cells takes the shape of a large stick of butter — the same shape as the applicator used to freeze the cells. Typically, an official diagnosis of PAH happens around 6 months after treatment when it’s evident that the area of fat is indeed growing larger, harder, and shaped like the applicator.

Should I be concerned about PAH?

Every patient that pursues any type of cosmetic treatment — whether surgical or non-surgical — should advocate on their own behalf to be informed of all possible side effects and all possible treatment options. While Evangelista’s outcome is unfortunate, it’s a good reminder that no procedure comes without at least a small amount of risk. Still, there are several steps you can take to minimize your risk as you pursue fat reduction options.

  1. Receive your fat reduction treatment at a plastic surgery practice with board-certified plastic surgeons.

We say this often and we’re saying it again — only at a plastic surgery practice will you receive the full picture of all possible solutions for your specific challenges. You won’t be force-fed a treatment that isn’t right for you simply because we don’t offer other options. 

  1. Consider all possible fat reduction treatments as you pursue your goals.

CoolSculpting still remains extremely safe and is effective for many people. In recent years we’ve introduced a new minimally-invasive surgical treatment called BodyTite that many of our patients have found to be the right fit for them. Ultimately, liposuction still remains the gold standard for fat reduction. It comes with a longer recovery time than CoolSculpting or BodyTite, but our board-certified surgeons can see how much fat is being removed in real-time as they’re doing it, to help ensure positive outcomes. 

  1. Ask about all possible outcomes for any treatment.

Make sure you are fully informed on every possible outcome — even rare ones — so you can make an educated decision about what you feel is right. We’ve never had any of our patients experience PAH after their CoolSculpting treatments, but we make sure that our patients know that this is a possible outcome. 

  1. PAH can be treated — and experienced plastic surgery offices know what to look for.

PAH resulting from CoolSculpting can be treated. The normal treatment for PAH is liposuction — a surgical procedure — which is another reason to receive your CoolSculpting treatment at a plastic surgery practice. In the rare event that you would develop PAH, our team knows what to look for and our board-certified surgeons are qualified to treat it.

Call our office today at 734.712.2323 or click here to request a consultation where we can discuss all the options for fat reduction treatment and whether CoolSculpting may be a good fit for you. 

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