Tuesday, October 18, 2011

‘Vampire Lift’ Surgery Works to Bolster Collagen Levels, Researchers Say

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By Michelle Fay Cortez - Oct 18, 2011 5:04 AM GMT+0700

The researchers drew blood from four volunteers, separated out platelets and fibrin, a protein that helps with clotting, combined them with calcium chloride and injected the mix in the upper arm. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A mixture of platelets and fibrin that’s extracted from a person’s blood and injected for a cosmetic procedure dubbed the “vampire lift” bolsters collagen and activates cells in connective tissue, researchers said.

Investigators from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary studied the platelet-rich fibrin matrix, sold by closely held Aesthetic Factors of Wayne, New Jersey, in four healthy volunteers. While the technique has U.S. approval for use in orthopedic surgery, some doctors give it as a tissue filler for facial wrinkles, scars and sagging skin.

The researchers drew blood from four volunteers and separated out the platelets, shown to promote wound healing, and fibrin, a protein that helps with clotting. These were combined with calcium chloride and the mix was injected in the upper arm. An analysis of biopsied tissue showed the procedure activated fibroblasts, a key component in connective tissue, led to new collagen deposits and triggered production of new blood vessels.

“We are getting collagen production, but we’re also stimulating blood vessel growth and production of new fat cells,” said Anthony Sclafani, director of facial plastic surgery at New York Eye and Ear, in a telephone interview. “We see the blood vessels and fat cells within a couple of weeks, and at 10 weeks they are still present and look mature.”

The procedure has been dubbed the “vampire facelift” because it uses a person’s blood to fill wrinkles and flesh out the face. Doctors also use it with other cosmetic products and during fat transplants to help the new tissue take hold.

Selphyl System

The study published in the Oct. 17 Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery was funded by Aesthetic Factors. The company sells the system as Selphyl, allowing each patient to be treated with a platelet mix taken from their own blood. The company’s web site gives no information about whether it is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval of the approach for cosmetic purposes.

Sclafani said he has been using the product for three years, with good results. The fibrin creates a lattice that the platelets latch onto, forming something similar to a bruise. Sclafani said a previous study showed significant benefit in patients treated for wrinkles that ran from the nose to the side of the mouth, though it wasn’t clear how the treatment worked.

After 10 weeks, the growth appears to level off and is mature, he said, comparing the injected platelet-rich fibrin matrix with a graft of the patient’s own tissue. While a 60- year-old patient may need repeat care to correct noticeable aging that occurs even after treatment, the product that’s injected isn’t likely to wear off, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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