Last year, supermodel Linda Evangelista had recounted how a CoolSculpting procedure had left her “disfigured”. Now, she has decided to share the first photos of her body, after living a secluded life for quite some time.

Along with the pictures shared exclusively with People, the 56-year-old also opened up about her traumatic experience for the magazine’s cover story this week. “I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know. I can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame. I just couldn’t live in this pain any longer. I’m willing to finally speak,” she was quoted as saying.

For the uninitiated, CoolSculpting is a popular FDA-cleared “fat-freezing” procedure.

Previously, in a post captioned “#TheTruth #MyStory”, Evangelista wrote: “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 alleged that Zeltiq “increased, not decreased” her “fat cells” and left her “permanently deformed”, even after “undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries”. “I have been left, as the media has described, unrecognisable”.

Speaking with People about the botched procedure, Evangelista said, “I tried to fix it myself, thinking I was doing something wrong. I got to where I wasn’t eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind.” She told the outlet that within three months of the treatment, she started to notice “bulges” around the chin, thighs and bra area, the same places she wanted to shrink.

In June 2016, when she went to her doctor, she “dropped [her] robe”. “I was bawling, and I said, ‘I haven’t eaten, I’m starving. What am I doing wrong?’” She was diagnosed with paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH). “I was like, ‘What the hell is that?’ And he told me no amount of dieting, and no amount of exercise was ever going to fix it.”

The model also said that in order to “correct the PAH damage”, she underwent a full-body liposuction surgery in 2016, following which, she had to “wear compression garments, girdles and a chin strap for eight weeks”. Otherwise, “the PAH may come back” and it did in her case, even after a second liposuction surgery in July 2017.

“The bulges are protrusions. And they’re hard. If I walk without a girdle in a dress, I will have chafing to the point of almost bleeding. Because it’s not like soft fat rubbing, it’s like hard fat rubbing,” she was quoted as saying. Even her posture has been affected, as she cannot “put [her] arms flat along my side. I don’t think designers are going to want to dress me with that.”

Dr Sachin Dhawan, senior consultant, Department of Dermatology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram told indianexpress.com that PAH is “unexpected thickening of the fat layer after doing a cryo-lipolysis treatment, which is meant to reduce it”.

“It happens due to the fat cells producing more fat due to the sub-optimal cold injury. With optimal cold injury, the fat cells die and that leads to inch loss. It’s a rare phenomenon, and happens in less than 1 per cent of the cryo-lipolysis treatments,” he said.

The doctor added that it mostly happens within 1-2 months after the procedure.

“It’s less likely to happen with FDA-approved good quality cooling machines that deliver uniform cooling to the fat cells. In case it happens, we have to use pressure garments and massage is needed, or sometimes other methods of fat loss like liposuction and injection lipolysis have to be used to correct this,” said Dr Dhawan.

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