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Supermodel Linda Evangelista Opens Up About Being 'Brutally Disfigured' After Cosmetic Procedure Gone Wrong

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Supermodel Linda Evangelista is taking legal action after a cosmetic procedure reportedly went wrong, sending her into a deep depression.

She opened up on Instagram about her fat freezing procedure, called CoolSculpting, and the effects on her mental health.

Evangelista was a top supermodel of the 1990s, but the Canadian fashion star hasn't been seen in public in five years.

In a recent emotional Instagram post, the 56-year-old revealed, "I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised ... and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries."

"CoolSculpting is a safe and effective FDA-approved procedure that, in a non-invasive way, you can actually reduce fat," surgeon and dermatologist Dr. Cameron Rokhsar told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan.

Rokhsar, who performs this fat-freezing method in his Manhattan and Long Island offices, explains FDA-approved devices cool fat to a temperature that destroys it, like frostbite, while leaving skin and other tissues unharmed. It is not done on the face but is often performed on the neck area.

Evangelista did not say where she had the procedure performed.

But CoolSculpting, he says, is not for everyone.

"The amount of improvement you get from CoolSculpting is not anywhere close to a procedure like liposuction, where the surgeon is in control of removing the fat," Rokhsar said.

Evangelista said the procedure increased, not decreased, her fat cells.

No one yet knows why this happens, but experts say Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, or PAH, is found in less than 1% of all CoolSculpting cases.

Evangelista wrote, "PAH ... 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."

Dr. James Bradley, of Northwell Health, says patients like Evangelista need support.

"Her appearance is a great part of that beautiful person and having gone through this, which is affecting her livelihood, her beauty, can have profound effects on the psychosocial aspects of her life, and that is kind of what she is relaying," he said.

Allergan Aesthetics, whose brands include CoolSculpting, has not responded to CBS2's request for comment.

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