I am considering the PRP or the vampire facelift. Any suggestions? (photo)

I have had many fraxial laser treatments with great results but am thinking this is the next step. How much more results can I expect from the 10 fraxel treatments/chemical peels.

Doctor Answers 3

The differences between the Vampire Facelift™, PRP, and laser treatments

I’m an oculofacial plastic surgeon and I specialize in facial rejuvenation. I’ve been using platelet-rich plasma as well as performing the Vampire Facelift™ for several years.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is derived from your own blood, which is based on a simple principle of concentrating the platelets and the growth factors. These are the key elements of wound healing that are in your blood. PRP was first used in oral surgery; dentists, oral surgeons or implant specialists were using it to help improve blood supply in bone so that when they are placing the titanium implants to hold a dental implant, it would hold and heal better. It was also embraced in orthopedics for joint healing and in wound healing technology.

In the aesthetic field, we use platelet-rich plasma to improve skin quality through the stimulation of collagen formation and blood supply. Most of our patients report that platelet-rich plasma treatments give the skin a wonderful glow. This is a great distinction of what platelet-rich plasma is able to accomplish compared to fillers.

Laser treatments have a certain amount of skin quality enhancement. This includes variations of erbium lasers such as fraxel and CO2 laser such as the fractional CO2 laser. The basic principle for lasers is the ablation or removal of skin which can also be accomplished with dermabrasion and chemical peels. This will stimulate the skin to create collagen resulting in smoothening and improvement in the fine lines and wrinkles. The thermal aspect of lasers which is not created by chemical peeling causes contraction of the dermis and tightening of the skin. Lasers also stimulate a certain amount of collagen.

While lasers work from the outside the skin, platelet-rich plasma is working from the inside. It stimulates the fatty cell layer under the skin and it also stimulates collagen production. We have been using it successfully for treatment of acne scars and for fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, as a separate development in our practice, we use it in combination with acellular matrix for hair loss and it’s been incredibly successful. Platelet-rich plasma in that respect is more of a vehicle and catalyst for Hair Regeneration.

The vampire facelift has been very popular in terms of its name but at the same time, it has been very controversial because it doesn’t necessarily communicate what it does. The vampire facelift concept was developed by Dr. Charles Renolds whom I’ve met personally and I actually spent time with him to learn about his vision in developing this strangely named procedure. The concept that he introduced was that hyaluronic acid filler such as Restylane does a very nice job of adding volume and that there was a synergy when combined with platelet-rich plasma. The synergistic effect of both materials work best than both materials used separately.

The Vampire Facelift™ uses one syringe with one milliliter of hyaluronic acid filler such as Restylane, Juvederm or Belotero and combined with platelet-rich plasma. It is injected strategically in various areas where there is volume loss such as in the lateral eyebrows, cheek area, tear troughs and in the areas around the corners of the mouth.

As we get older, we lose volume and look “skeletonized”. As a surgeon who does a lot of facelifts, I explain that it is a vertical and posterior elevation of descending soft tissues to lift the cheeks, define the jawline, and contour the neck. For Dr. Runels, a Vampire Facelift™ meant volume expansion in terms of lifting the face not upward but away from the bone so that you get volume.

I think a reason why a lot of my colleagues have a lot of disdain for this terminology is because it implies by the word facelift that there’s actual vertical lifting. My colleagues also have questioned the benefit of PRP because it is often misrepresented as a substitute for fillers. Platelet-rich plasma is not a substitute for fillers. It is something that works very well in conjunction with fillers and it does something very unique that fillers do not do. I hope you will be able to make this decision of whether or not to pursue this new regenerative concept of using platelet-rich plasma to improve the quality of the skin. I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck, and thank you for your question.

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New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

"vampire facelift" not proven by clinical studies

Although there is a fair amount of research on the use of Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP, very little of it is in the area of facial rejuvenation. The idea of the vampire facelift - a trademarked term - is to combine PRP with a dermal filler. There are no published clinical studies that I have been able to find supporting that this is better than fillers alone. 

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Is PRP a good next step?

Great question.  You have a pretty face that is holding its youth very nicely; and I agree that conservative, nonsurgical treatments are probably still the best option for you. If you're interested in trying PRP, a great way to combine it is with "Intensif" radio frequency micro needling - applying the PRP onto the freshly Intensif-treated skin and also, perhaps, placing PRP under the sheet-like sphincteric muscle around the eye called the orbicularis oculi muscle using tiny needle injections. This is a very popular treatment in my practice, and the results are reliable and the downtime is almost nothing.

David Hartman, MD, FACS
Canton Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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