Is the Vampire Breast Lift Safe?

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.”

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  • Sheila Nazarian, M.D., MMM
    Posted on

    I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California. I was very skeptical of this procedure as I am with most new technology. But I tried it on my office staff with their consent and the results are real. I just posted a one month result on my Instagram @drsheilanazarian and I wouldn't have believed it unless I did it with my own hands. Data is emerging using PRP with fat into the breasts and also one study out of Korea showing safety and efficacy. This is a procedure that is great for patients who don't have much sagging but an empty area at the top of their breasts that could use more volume. My best.

  • Naila Malik MD Dallas Texas
    Posted on

    I dont think the Vampire breast lift is an alternative to traditional breast lift for anyone looking for significant increase in the size of the breasts but as a cosmetic PRP treatment provider, I believe that the PRP "breastlift" or the "Vampire breastlift" certainly has a place in the nonsurgical cosmetic medicine for women looking to get a subtle improvement in the shape of breasts, perkier cleavage, improvement in the skin of the breat area, nipple inversion and nipple sensitivity. Regarding the concern of breast cancer, obviously no one with a history of breast cancer is a candidate for PRP. Appropriate patient screening is prudent with any medical procedure.

  • Charles Runels
    Posted on

    Plastic surgeons have been pumping up the breast with PRP (more than what's used in the Vampire Breast LIft®) for over 10 years -- and plenty of data gathered with no data supporting it being dangerous. This is considered so safe that the American College of Plastic Surgeons has a page devoted to the procedure. So, exactly what is it about a procedure that's LESS invasive than what's already being done (the same PRP only less than what's normally used and the woman does not have to suffer with the pain and risks of liposuction) and shone to be safe that bothers you (other than the fact that someone other than a plastic surgeon can easily do it) and it's LESS invasive and costs less than breast implants (which can cause nipple necrosis, infection, rupture, loss of sensation, and encapsulation!?

  • Dawn Veldman
    Posted on

    Thank you for getting opinions from reputable board certified physicians that will not jump on board with the latest procedures without the having sufficient data that the procedure is safe.

  • Dr Brad Bengtson
    Posted on

    As I mentioned in the article, I believe plastic surgeons as a whole are very "Data Driven", what I mean by that is we look at the research data and results very closely comparing the risks and benefits before implementing procedures or products in our patients. This technology has not reached anywhere close to this level yet and until then will be doing procedures that have known outcomes with good predictable track records... DR B

  • El
    Posted on

    Many women think only their own platelets are being reinjected during the procedure, but they need to read carefully: Hyaluronic fillers are added, too. I think Runels glosses over this. I don't want to inject anything other than my own fat back into my breasts. I'd do the procedure if it were only using my own platelets and I could achieve the results they claim.

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