It seems like just yesterday that the Vampire Facelift, the facial treatment made famous by Kim Kardashian, was the latest, greatest thing in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to make headlines. Now, the cosmetic world is abuzz with news that the same technique involving your own blood, appropriately named the Vampire Breast Lift, can replace a traditional breast lift.
Developed by Fairhope, AL, dermatologist Charles Runels, MD, the nonsurgical procedure involves taking blood from a patient’s arm and putting it into a centrifuge to isolate platelets, which contain natural growth factors. The platelets are then combined with hyaluronic acid fillers and injected back into the breasts. Dr. Runels claims that the Vampire Breast Lift will fix inverted nipples, lift sagging breasts, eliminate stretch marks and improve the overall shape and look of the cleavage—without decreasing breast and nipple sensitivity. The procedure is said to take only 15 minutes and costs about $1,800, depending on location.
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But, does this procedure with an ominous sounding name even work? And is it safe? According to Huntington Beach, CA, plastic surgeon Peter Newen, MD, these miraculous claims may be overly inflated. “My impression is that PRP injections into the breasts may achieve some improvement in the skin, but claims such as increased fatty tissue volume and lifting will not be observable,” says Dr. Newen.
Dr. Runels has stated that the Vampire Breast Lift will last up to one to two years, but these results have not been verified. “The concerns I have with this procedure are that it tends to be performed by non-core physicians and nonsurgical doctors. There is absolutely no data about it yet, nor have there been any studies or findings on either the benefits or clinical risks associated with it,” says Grand Rapids, MI, plastic surgeon Bradley Bengtson, MD.
Although patients may see a temporary improvement, the results do not compare to a traditional breast lift. “This procedure should not be compared with a surgical breast lift or breast augmentation, in which there is a clear, long-lasting improvement. Adding PRP to the breasts can improve the skin, but it won’t make a noticeable difference in breast volume or perkiness,” says Dr. Newen. According to Dr. Bengtson, the really scary thing about the Vampire Breast Lift is what we don’t know about it. “The breast is a cancer-prone organ, and with one in eight women in the U.S. developing breast cancer, you have to wonder, what effect do these injections have on an established cancer? We don’t have an answer to that yet.”