The Fat-Freezing Procedure Khloe Kardashian Loves May Cause Fat Growth in Rare Cases

Image via Getty
Image via Getty

The popular fat-freezing procedure known as CoolSculpting, which allows celebrities to have non-surgical body contour work done, has been found to have rare hiccups associated with it.

An earlier March 2014 study published in JAMA claimed that cryolipolysis—a method of knife-less cosmetic enhancement where fat cells are frozen and later eliminated from the body—could cause a rare condition known as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, which is essentially fat growth. JAMA reported just 0.0051 percent of cases for its study. It’s rare!

But that percentage could be a misrepresentation, according to a more recent 2015 study done by Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, which, per People, “found that the occurrence of this adverse effect are likely underreported.”

The study concluded that the incidence of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is 0.47 percent or 2 in 422 cryolipolysis treatments – 100 times greater than the device manufacturer’s reported incidence.


While the general public and media may have just discovered CoolSculpting (see: this Fox video segment from earlier this month), Khloe Kardashian is among the famous professed fans of the trendy procedure, which has been covered in the past (this 2014 piece wondered how effective it is) and appears to only be growing in popularity.

In the January 2016 issue of New Beauty, Kardashian told the magazine, “I love lasers and I do a ton of them on my face...I’ve also done CoolSculpting and treatments for the stretch marks on my butt.”

As with any cosmetic procedure, it’s best to approach this one with caution and education, but it should be noted that certain doctors prefer liposuction to CoolSculpting. Plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, told People, “I have heard [from colleagues who use CoolSculpting] that in some cases the fat does increase in volume or the area becomes lumpy or uneven, and that even with repeated applications no discernible result can be seen.”

Dr. 90210's Dr. Robert Rey, who performs CoolSculpting regularly, says most patients won’t need to worry about the so-called rare possibility of fat growth. “It is a very rare occurrence. It appears to be rare enough that the majority of patients should not be concerned. It is non-invasive, does not require anesthesia, and there is no recovery period. It normally has good results, so it is a good alternative to liposuction.”


That said, any patient who does end up with paradoxical adipose hyperplasia would have to undergo liposuction to fix it. Rey says, “As long as the patient is informed of the rare possibility, then I would proceed.”

Culture Editor, Jezebel

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Story time: I had this procedure done in the middle of summer on my thighs. Walking out of my derm’s office with frozen thighs in 98+ degree weather is likely the closest I will ever come to feeling like a literal superhero.