Vampire Breast Lift: Alternative to Mastopexy or Fake News?
Vampire Breast Lift vs Traditional Breast Lift Surgery, or Mastopexy
A couple of years ago the vampire breast lift started to receive a lot of media attention as a purported alternative to a traditional breast lift, or mastopexy. Proponents of the procedure cite Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) as the foundational element to its scientific legitimacy. Many of you might recognize the term PRP from back in 2013 when Kim Kardashian posted a blood-clad selfie after receiving a “vampire facial”. Both procedures rely on this concept of injecting plasma-rich blood from one area of the body into the face or breasts.They are also marketed as alternatives to their more intensive surgical counterparts like facelifts or mastopexy. But is a vampire breast lift really comparable to the surgical procedure that it hopes to replicate?
How Does the Vampire Breast Lift Claim to Work?
First, let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of the vampire breast lift. This procedure begins with the extraction of blood from one area of the patient (typically a vein in their arms). A compound called Platelet-Rich Plasma which resides in the blood is then further extracted to create a type of “vampiric” stimulating serum.
Typically, doctors will combine this PRP with a Hyaluronic acid filler, such as Voluma or Juvederm. The goal is to utilize the PRP to active the stem cells residing within the bone marrow. The PPR is meant to form a “scaffold” which is then inhabited by the Hyaluronic acid filler acting as a “dermal substitute” until regular cellular growth is achieved, in part through stem cell stimulation. Essentially, the vampire breast lift is supposed to create a temporary synthetic mold that will hopefully be replaced by natural cell tissue.
Are There Any Medical Studies That Prove the Efficacy of the Vampire Breast Lift?
Not exactly. There is a precedent for the use of PRP as a way to boost the natural growth of skin tissue. However, the vast majority of studies where PRP has been shown as an effective growth factor (GF) do not focus on breast tissue or even facial tissue as the treatment areas. In fact, most of these studies will show high variations of the effectiveness of this particular mechanism when it is performed on different areas of the body.
Basically, the usage of Platelet-Rich Plasma to facilitate tissue growth is scientifically founded. However, the purported claims that this can be combined with Hyaluronic acid to create the same effects as a breast or facelift are somewhat dubious. There simply are not enough studies that demonstrate the results of this type of treatment on these specific areas and for these unique reasons.
Stills, some doctors will claim that the “vampire” approach is a type of miracle alternative to the tried and true surgical treatments. The first problem is, we cannot say for sure whether or not a vampire breast lift will actually work on your body type. The second is that hefty claims founded on trending and 'headline-inducing' topics (i.e. “vampire” treatments) should always be taken with a large grain of salt. The medicinal consumer has historically been an easy prey for the snake oil salesmen. And, the realm of cosmetic enhancements is particularly vulnerable to this type of salesmanship.
What exactly is the vampire breast lift supposed to help with?
The creator of the vampire breast lift is a cosmetic dermatologist named Charles Runels. Runels asserts that his procedure can help with tactile sensations, irregularities and asymmetries, discoloration, loose or baggy skin, etc. We use the “etc.” here because Runels claims proceed further in a very liberal fashion, even into the realm of healing sexual dysfunction in women. Whenever a type of treatment proclaims a "one-size-fits-all” remedy like this, it should be immediately become the target of more intensive scrutiny.
What are the primary concerns in regards to the vampire breast lift?
The primary concerns regarding the vampire breast lift are the types of professionals that are willing to stand by it, the lack of data for its long-term results, and most importantly, the lack of data for its long-term risks. Even though this procedure has been popularized and highlighted in the media for years, there are still no concrete studies that show its risks or its proposed rewards. And, most trusted aesthetic practitioners actively caution against this sort of “off-label” misappropriation of familiar treatment mechanisms, like the vampire procedure's use of PRP.
Does the data measure up?
Much of the data that is associated with the vampire facial or breast lift revert to studies done in orthopedics or other areas of the body. On Runels' site, vampirebreastlift.com, he cites several studies that he suggests are validation for his use PRP. As we mentioned above, PRP has consistently proven to be a useful supplement for tissue growth within body. However, just because something works in one area of the body or in one type of procedure does not mean it will work for everything. Runels' citations do demonstrate valuable medical applications of PRP. They don’t prove any of his breast lift or facelift claims.
According to Dr. William P. Adams, the vampire breast lift is nothing more than a soft-tissue filler with “frills” that simply provide no extra functionality. The worst part is that the actual soft-tissue fillers don’t even offer much on their own. In regards to soft-tissue fillers in the breast area, Adams simply explains that we’ve “been there, done that, and it doesn’t really work.” In order to achieve real and lasting breast enhancements, a more intensive surgical approach is almost always required.
Who is providing these vampire treatments?
Adams, along with The Plastic Surgery Channel, has also advocated against the vampire line of treatments by explaining how they are typically performed by non-surgical doctors or non-core physicians. While these medical professionals might provide valuable treatment within their respective fields, they will almost certainly be unqualified to offer full-fledged cosmetic care.
There is an uptick of doctors attempting to capitalize on the growth in the cosmetic enhancement industry by providing these “one-off” cosmetic treatments without offering the proper procedural evaluation that a board certified plastic surgeon would provide. In her article “Boom Times Continue For Cosmetic Medicine Specialists”, Bonnie Davis writes of the “poorer care concerns” associated with non-core physicians edging their way into the booming cosmetics sector. These concerns involve the non-core physicians' inability to provide their patients with access to a full-range of cosmetic procedures. They also include the non-core physicians lack of foundational knowledge in regards to the varying treatment options for each patient.
Essentially, these doctors are able to perform one or two cosmetic treatments with inherent limitations. Their patients are then led to believe that these one or two treatments are their only options or all that they need. This might actually be the case, however the patient can never really know for sure unless they consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon or aesthetic practitioner.
So what should I do instead of undergo a vampire breast lift?
According to Adams, when it comes to breast treatments, “if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.” If you find yourself in need of some type of rejuvenations, repair, or enhancement of your breasts, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. You should consult with a licensed cosmetic surgeon to determine the full extent of treatment options that fit best with your individual needs and concerns.
Mastopexy: Full Breast Lift, Benelli Lift, Crescent Lift
A traditional breast lift, or mastopexy, is a tried and true solution for the sagging or misshapen qualities caused by aging and other congenital factors. There are three primary types of breast lifts that vary in intensity and invasiveness. They are the Full Breast Lift, the Benelli or Donut Lift, and the Crescent lift.
The full breast lift is reserved for women with larger breasts that are subjected to a significant amount of drooping and nipple displacement. The donut lift provides a bit more perkiness to a woman experiencing nipple displacement with less intense breast sagging. And the least intensive crescent lift will simply perk up the nipple and is best for younger women or those with smaller breasts.
Where should I get a breast lift?
You should contact a certified surgeon to provide a thorough consultation so you can fully understand your specific treatment options. At CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Center and MedSpa in Newport Beach, we pride ourselves in spending as much time as possible determining the unique needs and desires of all of our patients. This allows us to create highly precise treatment plans and ensures a much better outcome for you. You can click on the button below to request a consultation.
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