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So, are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob? Just kidding, I have no idea what that means. My wife tells me it’s a thing.

Anyway, you may have seen a lot of ads lately about something called a “Vampire Facelift.” It’s a catchy name for sure, but is it real? What exactly is this vampire stuff all about? Does it make you hate garlic? Can you still see yourself in the mirror? While I don’t offer this procedure, I’ll explain the science behind vampire procedures to you and we’ll look at them with a critical eye. It’s not as crazy as you might think!

I first heard about a “Vampire Facelift” several years ago when I was at an AAFPRS meeting. A colleague from Los Angeles said it was all the rage out there as an alternative to conventional fillers like Radiesse® and the Restylane® family of products. The process starts with drawing your blood- not with fangs, but with a needle.

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After your blood is drawn, it is placed into a centrifuge. That’s kind of like a salad spinner, but faster and for test tubes. As the blood spins, it separates out into its three main components: red blood cells that carry oxygen; white blood cells that keep you healthy; and plasma, the fluid that surrounds the red and white blood cells.

spun-plasma

Plasma is the part of your blood that has the most volume. It has lots of platelets and helpful proteins in it. Vampire procedures involve applying the plasma to your skin along with a microdermabrasion or microneedling (a “Vampire Facial”) or injecting it in your skin along with some filler (a “Vampire Facelift.”)

Let’s pause for a moment and review: someone draws your blood, spins it around really fast, and then rubs it or injects part of it into your face.

Now, this sounds a little crazy, but it’s not! We’re learning more and more about the benefits of platelet rich plasma as a substance that’s beneficial to wound healing. It improves survival of fat grafts(1), and it may be helpful in orthopedic procedures.(2) You may have heard of professional athletes getting platelet rich plasma injections as an alternative to surgery.

It’s definitely an emerging technology, but its benefits are currently unproven in the field of aesthetic medicine.(3) The studies look good, but they lack controls- scientific ways of determining if a treatment ACTUALLY works.

So, yes, the vampire facelift is definitely a thing. However, the medical literature currently indicates that you can get similar effects from fillers alone without the discomfort and expense of having your blood drawn.

And whether you’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob, we should all agree that we’re on Team Stuff That Actually Works!

If you have more questions about fillers or want to know what they can do for you, fill out the contact form or give us a call. We’d love to see you!

Works Cited:

1) Sommeling CE et al. The use of platelet-rich plasma in plastic surgery: A systematic review. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive, & Aesthetic Surgery (2013) 66: 301-312.

2) Vavken P et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma Reduces Retear Rates After Arthroscopic Repair of Small- and Medium-Sized Rotator Cuff Tears but Is Not Cost-Effective. Am J Sports Med. 2015 Dec;43(12):3071-6.

3) Leo MS et al. Systematic review of the use of platelet-rich plasma in aesthetic dermatology. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Dec;14(4):315-23.