What’s inside the $200K Oscar Gift Bag this year? Well, aside from a year’s worth of unlimited Audi car rentals and an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, vouchers for the “Vampire Breast Lift” are getting the most attention. Discussing this bizarre Oscar perk, The Daily Beast described the Vampire Breast Lift as “the new secret ‘must have’ in Hollywood” using “blood-derived growth factors to revive rounder cleavage without implants.”
As a New York City plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic breast surgery, I hear about everything when it comes to fast and “easy” ways to get bigger and perkier breasts. But I can tell you that the so-called “Vampire” Breast Lift isn’t worth your time or money.
So: What Is It?
In this recent article, CB covers the basics of PRP facials—which are still trending. Basically, the “Vampire” lift is a treatment in which platelets from your own blood are injected into areas of your body where you want to plump and boost collagen. Now the technique is being used on breasts, in what’s being called the “Vampire” Breast Lift.
The Science of PRP & Unintended Effects
It’s known that platelets play an important role in wound healing. So treatment with platelets for patients who have healing issues can be helpful and is used, for example, in orthopaedics. However, one of the ways that platelets work is by releasing growth factors. The concern with the “Vampire” procedure is that the growth factors that are released could have a stimulatory effect on the breast and possibly affect cells that may become cancerous.
Before injecting stimulatory growth factors into the breast, we need to know from scientific studies that this treatment does not cause breast cancer—this is the same reason I don’t support fat transfers to the breast: growth factors may be transferred and could possibly trigger the growth of breast cancer. You have to be extremely careful when injecting anything into the breasts for this reason.
A Closer Look
Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP, has been cleared by the FDA for the healing of skin ulcers and wounds. Platelets contain growth factors that essentially tell the body how to heal itself by increasing production of collagen and stimulating blood flow. During a Vampire facial, some of the patient’s own blood is taken and spun in a centrifuge (a machine that rotates at extremely high speeds to separate out substances of different densities) to separate Platelet-Rich Plasma from the other components of the blood (Plasma is the pale yellow liquid component of blood that holds the blood cells)—but we don’t know yet if these growth factors could also trigger the growth of cancer cells.
Sports, Tiger Woods, and PRP
PRP is nothing new in the sports world. It’s been used by high-profile athletes like Tiger Woods, who received the PRP treatments following knee surgery. Injecting PRP into the wounded areas helps cartilage to become more firm and resilient, plus helps to repair injured tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. PRP is truly amazing when it comes to healing wounds, but it is untested in areas like the breasts, where there are no ‘wounds’ to be healed.
The Bottom Line
Any procedure that isn’t thoroughly tested should be looked at very cautiously. If procedures are not evaluated through rigorous scientific studies, then save your money.
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Dr. Tracy Pfeifer, MD, MS is a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Manhattan and the Hamptons.
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