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Dr. Pastrick’s Blog: The Vampire Facelift

October 23rd, 2013 5:29 pm by Gregory H. Pastrick, M.D.

Dr. Pastrick’s Blog: The Vampire Facelift

If you’re into Halloween, then here’s something frightening for you. 

Capitalizing on the rise of pop culture icons Edward Cullen, Jacob Black and Bella Swan in the once-ubiquitous "Twilight" enterprise, the Vampire Facelift was introduced a few years ago as a proprietary procedure touting facial shape restoration, improvement in skin tone and texture, and tissue rejuvenation. Their website claims that the face will grow new collagen, new fatty tissue for smoothness, and new blood vessels for a healthy glow.

The problem is that there is no evidence that it has any long-term benefits in facial aesthetics and there are virtually no clinical studies that prove what they claim.

The Vampire Facelift involves taking a small sample of the patient’s own blood (hence the name), centrifuging it, and removing the platelet-rich-plasma (PRP). The PRP is injected into the face, along with an HA filler like Restylane or Juvederm.

The concept sounds great, as there are studies showing benefits of PRP in wound-healing in other applications such as diabetic ulcers or fractured bones. But, as I mentioned, there's no evidence of that in facial rejuvenation.

One study did show some benefits in the face and neck, but it involved only 23 patients. In the study, patients were injected three times (once a month for three months) and, after three months, the results were “satisfactory.”

Three months is not very long when it comes to facial rejuvenation.

I would argue that I achieve better-than-“satisfactory” results with one treatment of an HA filler (without PRP) and the less-costly treatment lasts six months to a year.

The term “facelift” is misleading in the context in which they use it, as “lifting” implies elevating sagging structures - which occurs during a surgical facelift but not with injections.

“Volumizing” would be more appropriate, but there are plenty of proven volumizers available that plastic surgeons use regularly. Almost all those those that offer the Vampire Facelift are not board-certified plastic surgeons. Typically, they are “cosmetic” physicians who cannot offer their patients a wide variety of legitimate, proven options for improving a person’s appearance, but still want to take your money.

Very scary!

Gregory H. Pastrick, M.D., is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He practices at The Plastic Surgery Center, located at 1 Sheridan Square, Suite 200, Kingsport, Tenn. Check out all of his services at www.theplasticscenter.com or call 423-392-4884.

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