Leave it to the Kardashians to popularize a procedure Allure magazine recently called “overrated”. As a female plastic surgeon practicing in Dallas, I often get asked about the Vampire FaceLift®. With images of Dracula swirling in my head, the questions come flying at me in rapid succession: Does it work? Isn’t it safer than other fillers? And perhaps more importantly, does it have stem cells that can naturally stimulate new skin?
I’ll have to admit that the procedure name alone scared me away. But after getting asked the above questions on a daily basis, especially after Kim Kardashian underwent the procedure, I figured I would research the topic further and figure out what’s true and supported by data.
Proponents of the Vampire FaceLift® say that it combines the science of hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Juvederm® or Restylane®, with your body’s own growth factors to help create new skin (Please see my previous blog titled “Facial Fillers vs. Botulinism toxins” for more information about HA fillers). The Vampire Facelift® Procedure™ involves initially injecting hyaluronic acid fillers to add volume and/or sculpt certain areas of your face. Once this is done, a solution known as plasma rich platelets, or PRP, is injected to help initiate wound healing and the eventual formation of collagen (a key structural protein found in skin). PRP is derived from your own blood and contains platelets, proteins, and growth factors that all contribute towards the wound healing process.
While it would make sense that patients who have delayed or impaired wound healing (i.e. diabetics) could benefit from PRP, the vast majority of patients with normal wound healing will initiate the healing process on their own as soon as they are injected with hyaluronic acid fillers. That is the beauty of the human body…it will initiate the wound healing process as soon as the skin is violated with an injection needle. Furthermore, by combining PRP with hyaluronic acid fillers, who can determine if PRP is really responsible for the younger and plumper appearing skin?? There are no independent studies proving PRP’s cosmetic benefits but one thing is for sure…it’ll easily add about $1000 to the cost of your filler treatment. So until we have hard data showing the benefits of PRP in individuals with normal wound healing, I say it’s best to stick with the proven, FDA-approved wrinkle fillers such as Juvederm®, Restylane®, and Radiesse®. Your face AND wallet will thank you!!!
Cheers to good health,