Linda Evangelista’s Coolsculpting Experience Highlights Importance of Informed Consent

by mera

Leading Auckland based plastic surgeon Dr Katarzyna Mackenzie says the CoolSculpting experience of 1990’s supermodel Linda Evangelista has opened a can of worms around informed consent practises as many of those who perform the procedures may not understand the risks or be able to treat rare complications.

Last week the 1990’s supermodel took to Instagram, claiming that she had been disfigured by the fat-reducing procedure that did the opposite of what it promised. Instead of reducing the amount of fat she had, CoolSculpting increased it, she has claimed.

After treatment, Evangelista said, she developed a condition known as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, or P.A.H., in which the tissue in the treated area grows larger, hardens and stays that way. The gold standard treatment of P.A.H is liposuction. Evangelista has been vocal in saying she was never informed of the risks associated with the procedure and is taking legal action.

It highlights a grey area in the cosmetic industry, as legally informed consent is an interactive process between a medical provider and a patient, where the patient gains the understanding of the condition, how it can be managed, as well as expected risks, side effects, benefits and costs.

Here in New Zealand CoolSculpting is a common procedure as it is less invasive than liposuction surgery, so recovery time is less. It can also be done by a range of professionals from cosmetic nurses to doctors, many of whom don’t understand the risks of rare conditions like P.A.H and don’t have the expertise to treat this complication. As this procedure is not as effective as liposuction and gives mild to moderate improvement, some people are unhappy with the results- which is something many are not aware of.

One of the other main differences between liposuction and CoolSculpting is the volume of fat that can be targeted in one session. For instance, liposuction surgery allows a surgeon to remove a large volume of fat in one surgery. However, CoolSculpting is only able to reduce a fatty area by up to 25 percent of its size at a time, meaning if you have a really large area, it may take you numerous sessions to get all the fat removed.

“I have treated some patients who have had CoolSculpting and have been left very unhappy with the results. Both liposuction and CoolSculpting are not intended to help people lose weight; they are meant for stubborn pockets of fat that are non-responsive to diet and exercise in people who are at their ideal body weight. The only treatment that can sculpt your body and remove stubborn fat is liposuction and some of those I see we’re not made aware of that, or some of the risks involved.” says Dr Katarzyna Mackenzie.

“These clients end up having to spend more money on liposuction to properly treat their concerns. Linda Evangelista’s case has really put the spotlight on this procedure on a global scale, as people need to be made aware of options available, the risks involved and why informed consent is so crucial.”

About Katarzyna Mackenzie Dr Katarzyna Mackenzie MD, PhD, FRACS (Plast) is one of the few female plastic surgeons operating in New Zealand. A native of Poland, she moved to New Zealand with her kiwi husband in 2003 and underwent training in plastic surgery in Christchurch and Auckland. 

In 2010, Dr Mackenzie was awarded PhD by the University of Otago. Her extensive training culminated in the award of full accreditation in Plastic Surgery by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, FRACS (Plast) in 2015.

Dr Mackenzie then trained extensively both in the UK and internationally and undertook a number of prestigious fellowships over three years. Dr Mackenzie was the senior microsurgery and breast reconstruction fellow and then hand surgery BSSH fellow (British Society for the Surgery of Hand) at St Andrew’s Centre, Chelmsford, UK, which is internationally recognised as being one of the leading centres for microsurgical breast reconstruction and hand surgery. 

She won the prestigious microsurgery and breast reconstruction fellowship at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, the largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe. 

Dr Mackenzie then trained with many of the pioneering minds in aesthetic surgery in London. She gained her extensive experience during a world leading aesthetic surgery fellowship at the top London private hospitals and built experience in every aspect of contemporary aesthetic surgery. She now runs her own private practice, Visage Plastic Surgery in Remuera, Auckland specialising in breast augmentation, reduction, lifts; abdominoplasty, blepharoplasty, labiaplasty, lipofilling (fat transfer), liposuction as well as hand surgery and skin cancer surgery.

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