If you were watching the E! reality show, Kim and Kourtney Take Miami, on Sunday night, you may have fainted at the sight of blood!
As you can see in the video below, Kim Kardashian had a vampire facial, using her own blood. This is not a new procedure but the way in which the editing team presented the procedure, they were sure to make it look as shocking as possible to the home viewer.
So what is this all about? Using the blood in this way is called “platelet rich plasma” or PRP. To understand PRP, first you need to understand something about facial aging. As we age, we lose volume in our face, giving us a haggard, older appearance. This is due to the loss of collagen and other growth factors. PRP has been used to treat various ailments associated with aging, such as treating tendons around the joints after injury or for restoring volume to the face. So, just as PRP is thought to restore collagen to joint tendons and restore youthful flexibility, PRP can theoretically stimulate collagen growth in the face, thus restoring a youthful, full face.
This is the process: 16cc of blood is taken from the patient (less than a shot glass), mixed with a preservative and placed in a centrifuge to separate the blood into its component parts. The red blood cells are separated from the liquid or plasma portion of the blood. The red blood cells are thrown away and then the plasma with all of its growth factors is placed back onto or into the skin.
In the video above, it’s made to look as though the handheld machine is poking holes in Kim’s face and making her bleed, ending up with a face covered in active bleeding. That’s not what’s happening at all. Her blood was taken, spun down in the centrifuge and then the platelet rich plasma (PRP) was slowly dripped onto her skin (notice the large syringe and needle hovering over her face) while the handheld device massaged the blood onto her face. While the device may have a high frequency massage that hurts a little, it’s not causing her to bleed – that blood is from the syringe. Now, whether applying the PRP directly onto the face increases collagen growth is a point of contention in scientific circles. The evidence is lacking. Whereas, injecting PRP directly into the tissue with a needle has been shown to statistically increase collagen under the microscope. Even though PRP has been shown to increase collagen in a lab, the clinical, real life significance is still up for discussion.
In the video below, you will see a news story highlighting the vampire facelift. In the video, I inject platelet rich plasma (PRP) into a patient’s face to stimulate collagen growth and subsequently increase volume and restore the youthful appearance to the patient’s face. This particular product called Selphyl is supposed to stimulate collage growth and a result that lasts up to 18 months. I don’t think it lasts that long and while some patients are pleased, not everyone has been uniformly happy with the results. Alternatives to increasing volume in the face include using your own fat or Sculptra.
But be sure you seek out a board certified plastic surgeon for any of these procedures. Because a plastic surgeon is trained in all aspects of cosmetic surgery and cosmetic medicine, they can more honestly tell you what’s right for you as opposed to a non-plastic surgeon that may only recommend the only procedure they’re comfortable performing. You can find a board certified plastic surgeon here.
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