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Patient claims popular medical procedure left her “disfigured” – Is this common?


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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — Kaye Whitley is the happiest when she’s on the dance floor and all she ever wants to do is to look her best.

“I had some belly fat that I wanted to get rid of,” said Whitley.

Whitley paid $5,000 for CoolSculpting at a doctor’s office in Atlanta.

“There are ads everywhere,” Whitley said.

The technology freezes fat cells in areas like the stomach, thighs and arms. And at first, Whitley says it worked, but then a few months later something changed.

“Things started changing and I started having a lot of pain,” Whitley said.

A hard, unnaturally shaped lump formed and Whitley was diagnosed with Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia. Also known as PAH.

“It is so emotionally devastating,” said Louiza Tarassova, a personal injury attorney in Florida who specializes in cosmetic procedure injuries.

Tarassova says some of her clients have had to shell out thousands of dollars for multiple surgeries to get it fixed.

In a lawsuit she claims the manufacturer “deprived consumers of being properly informed about the risk.”

“PAH masses can only be removed with invasive surgery. I’m aware of at least 7,700 reports that the manufacturer has received of PAH,” said Tarassova.

News4 Investigates wanted to know what the chances are of something like this happening to you.

“It’s uncommon to be left with problems after CoolSculpting if the procedure is performed well,” said Nashville plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Biesman.

Dr. Biesman was on the inital research team for CoolSculpting. He says side effects are extremely rare and the risk you take is no different than with other cosmetic procedures.

“We wouldnt be doing these procedures and offering them to patients if the relative risk was unaccetably high,” said Dr. Biesman.

Like any procedure, he says it’s important to ask questions. If you sign a consent form and you’re unclear what something means, ask about it.

Whitley says while she understands there are risks, this wasn’t worth it given what happened and hopes her story will help save others thousands of dollars and uncecessary surgeries.

While CoolSculpting is not FDA approved, it is FDA cleared which is actually common when it comes to medical devices.

News4 reached out to Abbvie, the parent company of CoolScupting, but our multiple requests for an interview went unanswered.

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