Can a Cosmetic Surgeon Treat PAH?

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Can a cosmetic surgeon treat PAH? The plastic surgery experts at Gabbay Plastic Surgery discuss what paradoxical adipose is, why CoolSculpting causes it, and how you can get your confidence back after PAH.

Can a Cosmetic Surgeon Treat PAH?

Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH): the complication of CoolSculpting that is putting many patients off the treatment forever.

But what is this side effect, and can a cosmetic surgeon treat PAH in patients it has already happened to? Today, we here at Gabbay Plastic Surgery answer these questions–and more.

What Is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH)?

Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) is a rare condition in which fat cells in the body grow rapidly and abnormally, leading to the accumulation of large amounts of fat in certain areas of the body. In the medical industry it is known as the “stick of butter effect”, as it mimics the look and feel of a firm stick of butter under the patient’s skin–and, coincidentally, the shape and length of a CoolSculpting applicator.
It is most commonly seen in the upper extremities but can also occur in areas of the body such as the neck, face, and legs. PAH is a progressive condition and can be associated with other medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Symptoms of PAH include:

  • Lumpy fat deposits
  • Newly-appearing fat in a rectangular shape
  • Bulging fat or swelling of a specific area of the body
  • Joint swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fat deposits that are mobile and more firm that surrounding body tissue
  • Pain or tenderness in the affected area
  • Heightened stress or emotional trauma

It is recommended to seek treatment immediately, even for minor symptoms of potential PAH.

Why Does PAH Happen After CoolSculpting?

Hailed as a non-invasive fat reduction treatment, CoolSculpting was invented in 2005 to painlessly destroy fat cells by freezing said cells using a method called cryolipolysis. Through its advanced technology, CoolSculpting is touted by some plastic surgeons as a way to precisely target fat cells with zero pain or downtime–unlike liposuction or other traditional fat reduction treatments.

CoolSculpting is, in actuality, not without its potential risks–to the point that we here at Gabbay Plastic Surgery do not utilize CoolSculpting for our patients. One of these risks is PAH. It happens when the fat cells that were targeted by cryolipolysis unexpectedly expand and harden post-treatment, resulting in a bulge where the treatment was applied.

PAH generally appears eight-to-24 weeks post-treatment and occurs in 0.2 – 3% of patients who undergo CoolSculpting. The official correlation between cryolipolysis and PAH is still being researched. However, a widely accepted theory is that PAH occurs when the CoolSculpting applicator is set to too high of a temperature when applied to the patient’s skin.

How Can a Cosmetic Surgeon Treat PAH?

Dr. Gabbay utilizes her in-depth understanding of the body and how it responds to treatments like CoolSculpting to design a multi-pronged approach that targets each patient’s unique situation.

Depending on the severity of your PAH, there are different methods to breaking down the hardened fat and restoring both your health and your self-confidence. Still, one of the most common approaches is liposuction performed by a board-certified surgeon like Dr. Gabbay.

Treating PAH as quickly as possible is also imperative to salvaging self-confidence. This was seen in the media when Linda Evangelista, a famous 90s supermodel best known for her work with Versace, did an interview with People Magazine about the negative impact PAH had on her body image. “I tried to fix it myself, thinking I was doing something wrong,” Evangelista, now 56, explained. She said, “I got to where I wasn’t eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind.”

What Are the Alternatives to CoolSculpting?

With more and more patients turning away from CoolSculpting as stories of PAH become more widely shared, we offer a safer, faster, and effective alternative called SculpSure.

Rather than using cold, which can trigger the risk of PAH, it instead utilizes a thermal applicator. It delivers instantaneous safer results for those who want a slimmer, more sculpted look. Its unique applicator also allows for more flexibility in treatment. Additionally, this permits patients to treat a wider range of body areas than CoolSculpting provides.

Have You Been Impacted By PAH? Schedule Your Consultation Today

Body treatments should leave you feeling rejuvenated and self-confident, not self-conscious or in discomfort.

Have you developed PAH in the wake of receiving CoolSculpting? Still, whether eight weeks ago or eighteen years ago, don’t hesitate to schedule your consultation. Dr. Gabbay serves ash one of Beverly Hills’s most premier plastic surgeons. Together, we will craft a personalized treatment plan to eliminate expanded or hardened body fat.

Call us today at (310) 388-9383 or schedule your consultation online today to see the results you deserve.

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Gabbay Plastic Surgery
465 N. Roxbury DriveSuite 1001
Beverly Hills, CA 90210