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June 29, 2019

CoolSculpting Gone Bad

CoolSculpting Gone Bad By Barbies Beauty Bits


CoolSculpting Gone Bad...Yes, gone really bad as instead of reducing the size of my stomach it made it bigger! Now before I get into this, I want to share that if you are new to Barbie's Beauty Bits, that 99% of the content I provide is positive as I feel opinions are just that and not facts. Hence, when I talk about a product, I am only telling you about the ones I like, the ones I hate, you will rarely hear about those.

However, this is a different circumstance, as I feel it is essential to share with you a side effect of CoolSculpting that I was unaware of, primarily as it is claimed to be rare, but it is not. So, what the heck am I talking about? I am talking about a complication called "paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH)." Where instead of the fat shrinking, in the area that is treated with CoolSculpting, it gets bigger, and over time it gets hard and can be painful. WTF?? Yes, you read correctly, I now have a large permanent bulge on my stomach that resembles the CoolSculpting applicator shape!

CoolSculpting Gone From Bad To Worse Review By Barbies Beauty Bits

CoolSculpting Gone From Bad To Worse; My Entire Experience
If you do not want to read my story, you can skip to "What is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia." If not, continue reading. 

Please note, I mention two doctors, Dr. A, where I had CoolSculpting, Dr. B is the plastic surgeon I went to for a second opinion.

Now, I know you are probably thinking well when you decide to have an elective procedure you are taking risks. Well, in this case, yes and no, as I agreed to promote Dr. A’s  total body bundle, that includes red light therapy first and to finish with CoolSculpting. In turn, I would share my progress on my blog and social media as the company had no marketing or testimonials from anyone.

Before And After For Red Light Therapy And Where My Stomach Was For The Start Of CoolSculpting
The first procedure in my fat reduction journey,  which was red light therapy was amazing. I lost weight, and you can see the results from the image above. You can also see in this picture what my stomach looked like prior to CoolSculpting from the AFTER photo. While that experience was successful and I would highly recommend Red Light Therapy for weight loss, the body contouring with Coolsculpting was a downhill nightmare.

Coolsculpting before and afters by barbies beauty bits
Butter Stick After CoolSculping, This Is Normal

The Risks Of CoolSculpting

For the most part, CoolSculpting has an excellent safety record. During the procedure you will get the butter stick effect, which is supposed to be massaged out, this is normal. After the procedure, most patients experience mild side effects such as redness, tingling, and numbness, which goes away after a few weeks. Mine, however, was much longer.  About the 2nd week in, I still had no feeling in the area in which I had the procedure done, and it was still very red and swollen. Because of the concern, I called Dr. A’s office in which I had the procedure, and they said for some people it takes longer to get the feeling back and for me to wait about two more weeks and check back in.

My Follow Up With The Practice
When I called back, I was able to schedule an appt. With the owner of the practice, he (Dr. A) looked at me and told me, I was fine, and that the area still appeared to be swollen and to check back with him in another month, in which I did.  Two-plus months in and while the numbness eventually went away; I started to notice a bulge, that was getting harder, that too me looked like the CoolSculpting applicator.

Dr. A claimed that sometimes you must have more than one process done to remove the fat. Since he was not the one to do the procedure (a licensed Aesthetician did it) he had no idea what I looked like prior.  So, I told him with all due respect, my stomach is larger than before, and it's not fat, it's very hard, and I did not gain weight. And that I don't think having another CoolSculpting series is what I need. The spot is not soft fat; it is hard and feels like it did after it was frozen (cryolipolysis) during the procedure. And more importantly, the mark is the exact size of the CoolSculpting device, in the exact place it was used.

Dr. A repeatedly told me that if I wanted the bulge to go away, I needed more CoolScultping treatments. Frustrated as Dr. A was not listening, I left and went home. Once I got back, I looked through all my photos to see if I had a before and after to share with him.  I know you are probably thinking; well, didn't the practice have a before and after? NO, they did not, as this is one area there were horrible at.

None the less, the photos I did have were the ones I took of the procedure. And if you compared my current state with the picture you could visibly see the bulge was from the CoolSculpting device and looking back now, it was clearly PAH.

Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia casued from Coolsculpting by barbies Beauty Bits

What Is PAH And Why Can It Happen After CoolSculpting?

I was not aware of PAH. I only found out about it, after my frustrations with my stomach, I decided to go to a plastic surgeon (Dr. B) to get a second opinion. It was at that appointment that I was told it was PAH. I was like what the heck is that?

The Plastic Surgeon explained the technology behind CoolSculpting, which I already knew but will share with you. You see, a CoolSculpting procedure cools fat cells to temperatures that trigger their natural death.  Those cells are then eliminated naturally by the body over the following weeks and months.
The Only Way To Treat PAH Is With Liposuction By Barbies Beauty Bits
During the procedure, a non-surgical applicator delivers precisely controlled cooling to the treatment area to selectively target treated fat cells, slimming you down, and leaving the surrounding tissue unaffected. Usually, this is what happens.  However,  a side effect is that the fat in the treated area, instead of shrinking expands and hardens into an unnaturally shaped lump in response to the extreme cold (WTF, wish someone would have explained this too me).

This is called paradoxical (abnormal) adipose (fat) hyperplasia (unusual increase in a structure), or PAH for short. Instead of the area shrinking, the bulge after CoolSculpting gets larger and usually becomes firmer than surrounding tissues and resembles the shape of the CoolSculpting applicator.

Needless to say, I was frustrated, but that wasn't the worst. Dr. B told me the only way to fix this was with Liposuction. WTH, you mean I must have an invasive procedure now and pay for it out of pocket to fix this?

Click Here To Watch Video

The Only Way To Treat PAH Is With Liposuction

Yep, that is right while PAH is treatable, the treatment of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is with Liposuction, not another CoolSculpting procedure like Dr. A told me. Furthermore, this is not something I can get right away, as I have to wait about nine months until the bulge softens enough to remove safely.

This entire ordeal has been both emotionally and physically draining, especially considering I did the procedure to help market the practice and secondly to address an already bothersome area on my stomach that now appears worse.

Coolsculpting side effects by barbies beauty bits

The Doctor Told Me He Would Not Help Me
After finding out that I had PAH, I proceeded to contact Dr. A directly via email. This was a fail as I got no response. About two weeks later, when I acquired his cell phone number, I called him and left him a voicemail telling him I needed to speak with him. When the doctor finally called me back, he was very nonchalant. He said that he was closing his weight loss practice and couldn't help me. He agreed that if it were truly PAH, I would have to get plastic surgery and have Liposuction done to fix it and that I should make an appointment with a plastic surgeon as he could not help me. I was like, so let me get this right, you are telling me that I have to fork out $8000 plus to be put under anesthesia and have lipo done to fix this, and you have nothing to say about it but, you can't help you're closing your practice. He said yes. And that was the end of our conversation.

The bad side affects of coolsculpting by barbies beauty bits.jpg

Liposuction VS CoolSculpting To Lose Fat
In hindsight, I would not have CoolSculpting done. While it is promoted as a noninvasive procedure, it costs more as most have to do 2-3 treatments and you don't even get the benefit of detailed sculpting.

On the other hand, assisted Liposuction or can end up costing less than some non-surgical alternatives in the long run. A plastic surgeon can determine precisely how much excess fat to remove to achieve the desired results in only one procedure unlike me, who now has to pay twice.  And if there is an issue, even a side effect, most Dr's offer to help fix and rectify the situation. Not tell you, sorry, I can't help you, and by the way, we suck so bad we are closing our practice!

liposuction vs coolsculpting by Barbies Beauty Bits

Takeaway
Do your research on any cosmetic procedure and always ask about possible complications.  While I did do research, I did not read anything on PAH, nor did the practice, tell me this was a possible side effect.  Otherwise, I may have reconsidered the procedure, since I was only about 15 lbs. overweight.

In conclusion, I hope my story will give some insight to know that while CoolSculpting is marketed as a noninvasive way to lose subcutaneous fat. It is costly, and you should way out your options. And lastly, go to a plastic surgeon, not a spa with an aesthetician to perform, as they can't fix any mistakes or assist with adverse side effects. Otherwise, you will end up like me, stuck as because this was a side effect, there isn’t anything legally I can do about.

Need to contact me regarding my experience or want to share your experience? 

Please email me at barbie@barbiesbeautybits.com



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36 comments

  1. I had CoolSculpting done on my upper abdomen and flanks in 2014 and could never find any side effects written anywhere, but this is exactly what happened to me. PAH was just recently discovered last year. I wish I had never done this. Are you contacting the manufacturer?

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  2. Yikes! I've never had anything like that done, but I will keep this in mind. Thanks for the head's up!

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  3. Oh gosh I am so sorry this happened to you. It is amazing the things which can and do go wrong which some people just aren't aware of.

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  4. Oh yikes. I've heard about this, but haven't tried it yet. I'll probably be wary to. I always worry something bad will happen, like here.

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  5. Oh man, I am so glad I read this. I was actually thinking about having this done and now I want to think some more on it.

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  6. I am not very familiar with coolsculpting. It is interesting to learn about it some more. I'm sorry you did not have ideal results.

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  7. This is really sad to hear. I never heard of CoolSculpting before but I guess it's not really a best choice. =Hope everything is going well with you now.

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  8. Thanks for sharing your story. Now more than ever I will try to avoid these kind of treatment. :)

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  9. I'm sorry to hear about what happened, but thank you for sharing your story. I think I'll just stick to doing sit ups. LOL. -LYNNDEE

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  10. First of all thank you for sharing and the information, I will definitely keep this in mind.

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  11. Wow, I have never heard of CoolSculpting before today. I'm so sorry this happened to you, but thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully it will help others who are considering CoolSculpting as well!

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear you had bad results from this treatment. My sister had it done, and it was a waste of money, but thank goodness it didn't make things worse in her case.

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  13. Thanks for this honest story about your experience with Cool Sculpting . You are so right about going to a plastic surgeon rather than a spa for treatments. I’m definitely more knowledgable about this now.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your story and I feel sorry for what you went through. I hope you get better soon!

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  15. Sorry to hear about what happened to you, thanks for sharing your story. I was planning for cool-sculpting as it is invasive. Sounds like it is not the best as it is advertised.

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story I am so sorry this happened to you - but it is good to share such experience so people know what can happen.

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  17. Oh, wow. I had no idea PAH was even a thing. The doctor should ahve told you that was a possibility.

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  18. Oh wow. I have never heard of this! I had no idea this could happen. So sorry you are dealing with this!

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  19. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  20. We have a CoolSculpting company in our area. I've lost 100 pounds over the last three years and was considering this. Not now.

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  21. So sad that you didn't get the results that you wanted.. I don't have plans with such treatment but thanks for sharing.

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  22. Thank you for sharing your story. I haven't heard of cool sculpting before.

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  23. I've never done anything like this before. But it's good if the outcome meets our expectations. Still I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you. Thanks for sharing your experience and for the heads up too.

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  24. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure this will help a lot people that are thinking of doing cool sculpting.

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  25. I am not at all familiar with cool sculpting. Sorry to hear that you did not have ideal results.

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  26. Hello I’m a CoolScultping specialist I’ve been treating for about 7 years now. Although PAH is very rare it is very real. I’m so sorry this happened to you. First I wanted to say thanks for sharing your story I’m sure it has been a struggle since this has all happened. I wanted to let you know that it is CoolSculpting policy that should you have a true case of PAH CoolSculpting pays for your Liposuction procedure. I’m not sure why the original Dr. did not explain this or even know about this. This is why you need to do your research even though most think that going to a Dr for this kind of procedure is best you have to understand that this is not their specialty, most of the time Drs buy a machine to bring in some extra revenue and never follow through with the proper training and protocol. I’ve fixed countless patients treated by Drs. Not all CoolScultping is created equal! That is definitely truth! I hope you were able to talk to CoolSculpting customer service and get reimbursement for your liposuction and all your heart aches. CoolScultping should be done on a treat to complete basis meaning you have a start to finish treatment plan laid out, realistic expectations are drawn, and true sculpting is accomplished. If anyone on here is thinking about getting the treatment don’t be discouraged there are thousands of patients with amazing results out there, just make sure you are going to a reputable clinic and not cutting corners trying to save money and not treating to complete. My practice is CoolConfidence Clinic if ever you need any extra help or advocating you should never have had to go through this alone!!!

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    1. How can I go about this? The place I had it done was a SPA, owned by a Dr. who was not at the spa. The aesthetician did it and they are no longer in practice. The practice is closed. So can I still get help

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    2. Pls contact the manufacturer. I see model Linda Evangelista is suing them and supposedly the mfg is to pay for costs associated with correcting PAH.

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  27. Had the most horrific experience. I look like I am very pregnant and my once slightly plump stomach is now totally disfigured and bumpy. The thing is you don't know if you are predisposed to AH. Saving up for my liposuction. This has been a humiliating and emotionally draining experience

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  28. I've never heard of this before! Yikes! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  29. This happened to me too. And the Drs just blow it off. I look like I gave birth and have a mommy pouch, bad to look fatter.

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  30. I didn’t get PAH after coolsculpt but I spent a lot of money and saw no change. I wouldn’t recommend it.

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  31. Wow just reading this because the model Linda Evangelista had a nightmarish experience with PAH after CoolSculpting that left her in her words "disfigured". She also said she was NOT advised that this was a possibility. Thats terrible. Thank you for your very detailed post about this. I hope you are doing well now.

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  32. Thank you for posting this. I saved up about 5,000 to “trim up” and now I look like I just have birth. My stomach is this gross jiggly fat. I hate myself for making the decision to fix a non existent problem. I can’t believe I was so stupid.

    I obviously wouldn’t recommend this treatment to anyone. I know that some people had positive results because I read their reviews. I’m not one of them. I am posting as anon because I’m just too ashamed.

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  33. I also wish I had read this, I just had the procedure done on my love handles and back fat bra area.
    My back on the left side has become one hard mass, the other shrank a little and the love handles but this one side is becoming as I said one huge mass and as of this morning, it's thickening. To say the least, it's embarrassing me not to mention the emotional pain I feel as well. I'm newly married, after losing my husband of 31 years as if I didn't already have a reason to be self conscious, because I wasn't this young girl any longer, I wanted to try and make myself feel better about areas I struggled with that weren't an issue with my former husband. NOT that this one said anything, I was doing it because I wanted to feel a bit better. Now, it's worse and is continuing to grow.
    I have returned to the plastic surgeon in October, procedure done in July. I was informed this had happened with their old machine once but the now have the new and they will be contacting the maker of it and most likely they will cover the cost. I pray they do... I just wasn't aware of a side effect that could happen. If there's one silver lining in my case it's that ALL areas did not respond this way. That being said, I would never recommend this! I spent 9k to feel better about myself and I am left disfigured and waiting to see if they will fix the mistake.

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    1. Machines with the older devices from what I have seen have caused more issues. It costs medical professionals a lot to provide this service. Not just paying for the machine, they also pay the brand for so many services. So until they use up what they paid for, they usually do not upgrade their equipment. This is what happened to me. At the time I did not realize it. But looking back, they made comments that I was smaller than most patients, they even had difficulty using the applicator on me too. Again, things I dismissed at the time. Looking back those are big red flags.

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