The 56-year-old Canadian model, who was one of the most successful models of the Nineties, explained that she had suffered a series of rare side effects from a process called cryolipolysis, a popular fat-freezing procedure that destroys fat cells in different areas around the body.
It works by cooling the fat to a freezing temperature so that the frozen, dead fat cells can be excreted out of the body through the liver.
CoolSculpting, which is the brand name for cryolipolysis, states on its website that 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 warns that “rare side effects may also occur” as a result of the treatment 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 said that following her treatment, she had developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, which is when the fatty tissue in the body grows instead of shrinking in response to the treatment.
“Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years,” she wrote in an Instagram post alongside the caption “#MyTruth”.
“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 continued.
“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.”
Evangelista went on to reference the fact that she has taken legal action.
“With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story,” she wrote.
“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.”
The Independent has contacted Zeltiq’s parent company, Allergan, for comment.
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