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Linda Evangelista has said she has been left “permanently deformed” after undergoing a cosmetic procedure.
The supermodel, who was one of the most famous models of the 1990s, said she has developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), adding this has “destroyed my livelihood” and sent her into “a cycle of deep depression”, which has led to her becoming a recluse.
PAH is described as a rare and adverse effect of CoolSculpting or cryolipolysis, when fatty tissue grows instead of shrinking in response.
The 56-year-old explianed her absence from the limelight in an Instagram post shared on Thursday.
“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.
“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.
“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, ‘unrecognizable.’
“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.”
Cryolipolysis is a popular fat freezing procedure that cools the fat to a freezing temperature so frozen, dead fat cells can be excreted out of the body through the liver.
The CoolSculpting website says 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 also warns that “rare side effects may also occur”, and “may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area, which may develop 2 to 5 months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction”.
Linda also indicated she was taking legal action, adding: “With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story.
“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.”
During her heyday, Linda was a regular fixture on the catwalk and magazine covers, as well as numerous advertising campaigns.
She also appeared alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington in the famous music video for George Michael’s Freedom! 90.
Zeltiq parent company Allergan has been contacted by HuffPost UK for comment.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.