Vampires and Facelifts
By Dr. Caroline Creager, PT, DPT
Just when we thought vampires were becoming rather retro, women across the world are now raving about a procedure called the Vampire Facelift.
I’d like to reassure you it isn’t as bad as it sounds, but I will let you be the judge of that.
This is one subject that should be looked into in great detail, as there are many different procedures being performed, all under the trendy name of being vampire facelifts. However, there is only one registered procedure legally called the Vampire Facelift.
Dr. Charles Runels invented and trademarked this facial procedure that involves a hyaluronic acid-type of cosmetic filler such as Restylane or Juvederm followed by a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment during the same visit.
During this trademarked procedure, the doctor and patient determine what work they think needs to be done. Then the doctor typically numbs the patient’s cleansed face and draws one or two vials of the patient’s own blood to be spun in a centrifuge in order to separate the platelet-rich plasma that will be injected into the face after the filler is injected.
The next step uses a micro-needle procedure that uses a small machine that pokes literally thousands of holes in the desired areas of treatment. Most patients say there is little or no pain involved because of the numbing cream on their face and the small size of the micro-needles.
The platelet-rich blood is then patted into the holes created by the micro-needles. Some doctors will also use some of the platelets to inject into additional areas if they feel it will be of benefit.
What is to be gained from all this poking and blood smearing, you ask? PRP injections work so well for most patients with sports and joint injuries because the PRP gives the body a chance to heal with its own blood that has been given a boost from the centrifuged blood platelets.
It is this same feature that makes the Vampire Facelift a relatively safe procedure, since the patient is receiving his or her own blood. The advantage of using the PRP with this kind of facelift is that the skin has been “injured” with the micro-needles and will heal with extra collagen, etc. from the body’s own system.
Basically, the facial skin is having a conversation with you that goes something like this.
“You hurt me by poking a bunch of holes in me. What are you going to do about it?” says the skin.
“I am giving you some of our own enriched blood to not only heal you but make us stronger and look better with hopefully increased blood flow, collagen and fewer wrinkles,” you respond.
The doctors who are not certified and trained by the people at Vampire Facelift are often using many of the same techniques and following some of the same procedures. However, some disagree with the theory of using micro-needles and simply use injections of the patient’s own platelets, with or without hyaluronic acid-based fillers.
I tried micro-needling without hyaluronic acid, as I believe it is best to separate them into two distinct procedures. I found the treatment to be mildly painful, especially over the facial bones, a bit crazy to leave dried blood on my face for 24 hours after the procedure – but doable and effective, addressing fine lines on my face and along my cheek bone.
Be diligent in your research before consenting to any procedure. Always be sure you know exactly what to expect and how the provider will perform the treatment.
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