Cosmetic procedures like CoolSculpting are sold as safe, convenient beautifications. What are your rights if you’ve been injured or disfigured instead?
Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting technique is touted in their own literature as “FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges” in many body areas, including the hard-to-lose fat deposits under the chin, along the jawline. Patients who have stubborn fat or lax skin on their abdomen, thighs, flanks, back, under-buttocks, or upper arms are told that this non-invasive procedure could help improve their appearance.
For some, the rare side effect of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) does the opposite of what they paid for: rather than shrinking the tissue, instead the area expands, causing a disfigured appearance.
The attorneys at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann have handled personal injury cases for decades, and are particularly aware of how much suffering is involved when our clients no longer recognize themselves. Experiencing discomfort in your own skin, and especially facial disfigurement, is extremely distressing. When these conditions are caused by an elective procedure, that means they could have been prevented.
Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia can develop anywhere from 8-24 weeks after a CoolSculpting or cryolipolysis (“fat freezing”) procedure, in spots where the fatty tissue (adipose) enlarges and hardens. If you’ve experienced this complication, the follow-up treatments and trauma are costs and losses that the law can address. Contact Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann online or by calling (205) 322-8880 for possible representation. For more information on PAH and CoolSculpting cases, read on.
According to Zeltiq’s website, PAH is one of the adverse side effects that can occur as a result of CoolSculpting in 1-10 out of every 10,000 clients. They also acknowledge that PAH requires surgical intervention for correction, a costly and painful undertaking that is not what individuals think they are signing up for when purchasing non-invasive aesthetic treatments of cryolipolysis.
A successful settlement or verdict award in a case of PAH caused by CoolSculpting could include coverage for:
Medical bills for a new, permanent medical condition that requires surgeries to attempt to correct
Lost wages those who had to take time off work to deal with this medical complication, and lost employment for those who work in aesthetic or client-facing industries (in which you must present a certain appearance)
Pain and suffering for the psychological trauma associated with disfiguring injuries—this includes depression, feelings of embarassment that cause you to avoid social events you once loved, and mourning for the face and body you once knew as your own
Punitive damages (aka “punishment” damages) if the technition, staff, or clinic was especially negligent in properly informing you of this potential side effect, failed to screen you for risk factors, or otherwise botched the procedure
Wrongful death expenses if the PAH sufferer died due to surgical complications to fix the condition, or from suicide as the result of depression caused by PAH side effects
Supermodel Linda Evangelista brought attention to PAH when she filed a lawsuit in September of 2021 claiming that she was “brutally disfigured” by the complication. She claims that she felt permanently deformed, dreaded running into old friends, and that it has affected her ability to continue her career and earn an income equivalent to her modeling peers. She is seeking $50 million in damages.
If you are ready to file a lawsuit based on your CoolSculpting injuries, contact Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann online or by calling (205) 322-8880—we’ll handle the investigation, order and file every relevant document, and do any and all negotiating necessary to help you find justice.
Sold as a safer alternative to liposuction, the relatively rare but still very real side effect of PAH can require expensive and painful surgeries to correct. These injuries cause long-lasting emotional devastation, and create a significant reduction of a person’s quality of life.
According to findings published by a multi-doctor research team, the risk of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is approximately 1/20,000 higher in males. However, women are still at risk of the complication, and at this time, no other single unifying risk factor has been identified.
There is also no evidence of spontaneous resolution of PAH, which means that if you experience this complication, it will not go away or reduce over time on its own. Treatment of PAH will likely involve liposuction or abdominoplasty, invasive surgeries that come with their own risk factors, including dangers associated with post-operative infections, anesthesia injury, and more disfiguring scars.
According to the previously cited study, PAH after cryolipolysis occurs at a patient rate of 0.0051% which is 1 out of every 20,000 people who undergo the procedure. While that number is a mere fraction of 1%, the number of CoolSculpting procedures increases each year, and the sessions performed are recommended anywhere between 1-6 per person.
According to data from cryolipolysis equipment manufacturers, that averages to roughly 1 case out of every 4,000 treatment cycles. That’s an incidence rate of 0.025%. There is no way to predict or prevent being one of the unlucky ones, and if you are afflicted with PAH, the cost of treatment can be exponentially larger than the sum you paid for what was sold as a safe, non-surgical procedure.
PAH occurs to about 1 out of every 20,000 patients, and at an incident rate of 1 out of every 4,000 treatment cycles.
The damages caused by PAH are referred to as a “stick of butter effect.” These are solidified lumps of fat that now exist permanently under the skin unless you undergo surgery. If left untreated, those lumps may be highly visible, appearing like gained weight, or unsightly tumor-like formations.
On your body, these formations may be covered up by clothing, but on your chin or jaw, the disfigurement is a constant feature every time you look in the mirror, meet a new person, or move through public spaces. Legally, disfigurement may refer to any injury to the appearance, beauty, or symmetry of a person’s body. The misshapen bulges caused by CoolSculpting and PAH are recognized as deforming and detrimental to your body, overall health, and quality of life.
The CoolSculpting procedure is supposed to freeze and kill fat cells without damaging the surrounding skin or tissues. Without incisions, anesthesia, or other invasive instruments, it’s an attractive-sounding technique. Complications from paradoxical adipose hyperplasia are serious, and the risk of PAH should be explained thoroughly before you agree to the procedure. This is known as “informed consent” in medicine and in law.
Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann is a long-established, award-winning firm with attorneys who are dedicated to personal injury justice. If you have been injured by PAH due to what was sold to you as a safe, low-risk CoolSculpting procedure, your rights may have been violated, and you are entitled to seek fair compensation.
Reach out to our offices via our online contact form or by calling (205) 322-8880 at your earliest convenience. With one call, you may be on your way to obtaining the financial resources you need to recover your losses and access future quality treatment.
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Yes, in some instances. However, PAH will not resolve on its own, and corrective procedures can be costly, painful, and risky as they will likely involve surgical intervention.
Not all PAH sufferers will undergo corrective treatments for health, financial, or personal reasons. Even though those who do get corrective procedures may still have permanent scarring and disfiguring injuries for the rest of their lives.
So far there is no indication that one area of the body is more susceptible to PAH than another, as white or brown adipose tissue has the same nature wherever it resides in the body.
Analysis has been done to investigate whether the size of the hand-piece used to conduct the CoolSculpting treatment makes PAH more or less likely. However, since PAH has occurred with various different sizes of hand-pieces, that hypothesis cannot be confirmed.
Likewise, a genetic component was suggested by one instance in which twins who received cryolipolysis in two separate clinics each reported an occurrence of PAH. However, without further data, no sure assessment can be made for genetic predisposition either.
You may have 1-10+ years to file a case depending on where your injury occurred. This is because the filing deadline (aka “statute of limitations”) for cases of personal injury due to medical procedures and/or product liability varies from state to state.
In Alabama, where Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann is headquartered, the deadline is 2 years from the date of the incident for medical malpractice. The same is also true for product liability claims. Contact us directly at (205) 322-8880 if you are in need of representation right away.
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