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Selphyl System: The Vampire Facelift

What is a Vampire Facelift?

Manufactured by Aesthetic Factors, and developed in 2009, Selphyl is a technology which injects the patient’s own blood as a facial filler, to decrease the appearance of lines and wrinkles due to aging.

Selphyl is a nonsurgical procedure, as other injectable fillers, and although it is synonymous with the catchy term Vampire Facelift, it is not actually a facelift, because it does not involve the re-positioning of facial tissues. The patient’s own blood platelets are injected into the skin to lift out wrinkles, or fill in tissue beneath the wrinkles, and can be used with other synthetic fillers.

How does it work?

Selphyl System is actually a revision of Fibrinet, which is used in orthopedics to escalate tissue repair. There is very little data from clinical tests and trials which support the effects of Selphyl to date. It has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic use, and requires filing an amendment with the FDA in order to receive clearance for marketing, however it has been used for this purpose already.

The Selphyl System requires the doctor to draw blood from the patient. The blood is then centrifuged in order to isolate platelet rich plasma (PRP) from other blood components. The platelets are then activated by exposure to calcium chloride, to form the platelet rich fibrin matrix (PRFM), which is the substance injected into the skin in order to induce growth of new collagen, skin tissue, and blood vessels. The injection of PRFM lifts the skin away from the bone, encouraging new blood flow, and adding volume to the skin.

Blood platelets are one type of cells in blood that promote tissue healing. The platelets found in blood accumulate near the site of injury to the skin, and release several growth factors, enabling the skin to heal. These growth factors are embedded and held in place by a matrix, or gel-like substance, and stimulate mulitpotent stem cells to develop into new tissue and blood vessels. Platelet rich fibin matrix (PRFM) has also been used in the medical field to encourage bone growth, to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks, to heal burns, and to foster dental regrowth.

Risks and Benefits

Because the patient’s own blood is used for dermal injections, an allergy test is not required. It does not involve injection of artificial materials like Juvederm, Restylane, and Perlane, decreasing the incidence of lumps. The Selphyl is generally safe to treat nasolabial folds, or sunken cheeks, and is better for loose folds and wrinkles, and thinner skin areas of the face. Selphyl injection fill a space in skin tissue where collagen has been degraded, as opposed to Botox, which inhibits muscle action, and Perlane and Sculptra which may cause granulomas or a lumpy appearance.

Selphyl has not been approved by the FDA for facial cosmetic injection use as of March 2012, and although its manufacturers claim that it can last up to two years, no clinical testing data has been presented to verify such findings. The PRFM gel-like substance is injected using a larger needle, increasing the likelihood of bleeding. Blood injections also tend to cause itching as a side effect, and can also cause a burning sensation, or discoloration. The results of Selphyl injections are gradual, as opposed to immediate results seen with Restylane or Juvederm, and the cost can vary from $1,000 to $2,000 per injection.

What Areas Can be Treated?

  • Glabellar region
  • Forehead lines and wrinkles
  • Periorbital lines
  • Cheek contouring and augmentation
  • Nasolabial folds and creases
  • Smile lines
  • Vermillion border correction
  • Marionette lines
  • Chin augmentation
  • Dermal defect repair such as acne or surgical scars
  • Neck augmentation

Selphyl Injection Procedure

The injection procedure is similar to other dermal fillers approved by the FDA. Selphyl however, is prepared by drawing the patient’s blood, as done with a blood test. The blood platelets are then separated from the red blood cells by means of centrifuge, and the platelets are then blended to form a fibrin mixture, which is the platelet rich fibrin matrix (PRFM) injected into the facial area to be augmented. The area to be corrected will be overfilled by 20%, so initially the area will have more volume than when the excess dissipates. Several weeks after the injection, the fibrin matrix will build within the skin tissue, which yields the final effect.

There is no scientific confirmation of effectiveness to date, yet Selphyl injections are proposed to last from 12 to 24 months. The procedure takes approximately one hour, and is a nonsurgical procedure performed in the doctor’s or plastic surgeon’s office. Dr. Charles Runels named this procedure the “Vampire Facelift” on his website in 2010, and the name sensationalized the procedure. It is not actually a surgical facelift procedure. The name was given, due to the fact that the patient’s own blood is drawn and used for facial dermal injections.

Patients Reviews

There are limited patient reviews shared on Selphyl, due to the fact that it is not yet approved for facial cosmetic use at this time. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists who have administered Selphyl state that some side effects may be swelling and very little bruising, but no down time. It is not recommended for those patients taking blood thinners, are pregnant or nursing, or are not in a good general health.

As with other dermal filler limitations, there is always a risk of infection with any type of injection, and injections should not be administered to facial areas which have open wounds, lesions, or rashes. The specific limitations for Selphyl are not yet defined, yet will be further addressed as the product is approved for use as a facial dermal filler.

The Selphyl injection, known as the Vampire Injection is a relatively new dermal filler which is in the testing and approval process for commercial use by plastic surgeons and dermatologists. It is a new alternative to synthetic, animal, collagen, or artificial ingredients in other facial fillers. With time and expert data collection, it may be a more natural way to treat facial wrinkles, in a more permanent way.

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