Linda Evangelista, the 1990s supermodel, claimed she had been “brutally disfigured” and “unrecognisable” following a cosmetic body-sculpting treatment that had transformed her into a recluse.
She mentioned filing a lawsuit in an Instagram post on Wednesday, saying it was “a huge step towards righting an injustice that I have experienced and kept to myself for over five years.”
“To my followers who have wondered why I haven’t been working while my classmates’ careers have thrived, the answer is that I was horrifically scarred by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting surgery, which did the opposite of what it promised,” she continued.
Ms. Evangelista, 56, said she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, a side effect in which patients develop firm tissue masses in the treatment areas, after the fat-freezing procedure.
She claimed that the cosmetic treatment left her “permanently disfigured, after two painful, fruitless repair surgeries.” She said she had not been informed of the danger.
“PAH has not only wrecked my livelihood, but it has also plunged me into a spiral of deep melancholy, unfathomable sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing,” she wrote. “In the process, I’ve turned into a recluse.”
Ms. Evangelista, who was one of the top five supermodels in the 1990s, shared her tale on Instagram, where she has 912,000 followers and thousands of people have responded or given support. Her tale was also widely publicised in international and national media.
Ms. Evangelista filed a complaint against Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday. According to the lawsuit, she is suing for $50 million in compensatory damages for her suffering and loss of work, promotions, and public appearances.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Evangelista underwent seven treatments between August 2015 and February 2016 to break down fat cells in her abdomen, flanks, back and bra area, inner thighs, and chin. She developed “hard, bulging, painful masses under her skin in specific regions” within a few months, according to the report, and was diagnosed with PAH in June 2016.
According to the complaint, her quality of life, work, and physique “were all devastated in 2016 after she was irreparably scarred” by the procedure and subsequent attempts at corrective surgery.
“From 1984 through 2016, Ms. Evangelista had a highly successful and profitable modelling career until she was irreversibly harmed and disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting System,” according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the corporation “intentionally disguised” the risks or “failed to appropriately warn” about them, and Ms. Evangelista developed sadness and a fear of stepping outside as a result.
Ms. Evangelista had full body liposuctions in 2016 and 2017 after being diagnosed by a doctor referred to her by Zeltiq, but the treatments were unsuccessful and resulted in scarring, according to the lawsuit.
“Ms. Evangelista was promised a better contoured appearance; however, the target fat cells grew in number and size, becoming hard, bulging masses under her skin,” the report stated.
In response to queries, the FDA stated in an email that it could not comment on litigation but was “dedicated to ensuring medical devices are safe and effective, and that patients may be fully informed when making personal health decisions.”
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cryolipolysis, the name of the nonsurgical fat-freezing method, employs cold temperature to break down fat cells.
It is typically utilised by patients who want to get rid of a specific fat bulge that they haven’t been able to get rid of with other methods. In most cases, the area of concern is “vacuumed” into the hollow of an applicator, where it is exposed to frigid temperatures.
According to the surgeons’ society, the complication rate is modest, with less than 1% of patients experiencing paradoxical fat hyperplasia, which is an unanticipated rise in the number of fat cells. According to the culture, the side effect is more common in men than in women.
Ms. Evangelista also stated that the public attention of her appearance had emotionally affected her. “I’ve been portrayed in the media as ‘unrecognisable,'” she remarked.
Jonah E. Bromwich contributed reporting.