Does your stomach look bigger after CoolSculpting? Is the treatment area hardened and suspiciously shaped like the applicator used to freeze your unwanted fat? In your quest for a “new and better you” through the fat-freezing method of cryolipolysis, there can sometimes be a rare but treatable complication known as Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH).
While there is no evidence that PAH poses a threat to physical health, it is a serious side effect that can result in hardened bulges in areas where patients were seeking to slim down and contour. This is obviously not what any patient wants out of a procedure intended to reduce fatty areas, and the disfigurement can be emotionally distressing.
The good news is that Dr. Nicholas Jones is a double-board certified plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery in Atlanta, Georgia, with experience in treating Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia.
Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia is a rare delayed adverse effect following cryolipolysis, popularly known as CoolSculpting.
PAH derives its name from the unexpected, paradoxical result of a treatment intended to freeze, break down, and eliminate fat cells: the overgrowth (hyperplasia) of fatty (adipose) tissue. As a result of this unexpected paradoxical effect, the treatment area becomes enlarged and hardened, usually in the rectangular shape of the CoolSculpting device.
Exactly what causes PAH is not yet completely understood, but it tends to develop anywhere from two to six months after the procedure. While it is not known to have adverse health effects, Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia does not go away without treatment.
The fatty, hardened bulges that form from Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia can look and feel different than the typical deep fat. Treating PAH requires a qualified plastic surgeon skilled in body contouring procedures, like Dr. Nicholas Jones.
Most people affected by Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia require corrective surgery, such as excision or liposuction. While surgery and liposuction are typically the primary options for treating PAH, some possible non-invasive treatments include Kybella injections and laser lipolysis.
Your best options for treating and reversing Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia depend on your medical history, the location of the treatment area, and the severity of the condition.
Anyone with Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia is a candidate for treatment. Which treatment option is best depends on the individual needs of each patient and the severity of the condition.
While liposuction can be an effective method for reversing PAH, patients typically need to wait as long as six months before the hardened fat softens in the affected area enough to be safely removed. If you don’t wait long enough for this to happen, PAH can recur.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, the first step is to confirm the condition and assess the severity of the hardened tissue in the affected areas. Through consultation and a medical exam, Dr. Jones can talk with you about your options and develop a treatment plan that will work best for you.
People who have undergone cryolipolysis can experience side effects such as swelling, bruising, tingling, or numbness in the treatment area after the procedure. These are considered minimal side effects that resolve entirely in a few months. Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia is a rare side effect that can result in the thickening or hardening of the treatment area, where a mass or swelling is often slightly painful to touch.
CoolSculpting is cleared by the FDA to treat visible fat bulges in 9 areas of the body: Under the chin and in the jawline area, in the thigh, flank, abdomen, along with bra fat, underneathe the buttocks, back fat, and the upper arm. Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia can develop in any of these areas, but it is most commonly seen in the abdominal area.
While the causes and risk factors are not entirely known, Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia is a rare side effect seen in less than one percent of the patients undergoing cryolipolysis. PAH is about three times more likely to develop in men than women. Other risk factors include:
Here at Nip & Tuck Plastic Surgery, every patient plan is customized to meet each individual patient’s needs. Typically, patients that have undergone CoolSculpting, there is some scarring beneath the skin, which may cause contour irregularities. This scarring along with PAH makes most patients suitable candidates for VASER liposuction.
The thought process is that the energy source (VASER) via ultrasound energy causes the scars and fat cells to be lysed. After doing so, the fat is removed via suction lipectomy (liposuction), and the skin tightened. This provides multiple benefits including, smoother and tightened skin, less scarring, a faster recovery, and definitive treatment of PAH.
Come visit Dr. Jones and our team and let us help you achieve the spectacular look you deserve!
3280 Howell Mill Road NW Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30327