WEIRD NEWS
10/29/2011 10:28 am ET Updated Dec 29, 2011

Vampire Facelift: Cosmetic Surgery Procedure Uses Patients' Blood (VIDEO)

Vampires are known for having pale skin and an anemic pallor, so the idea of a "vampire facelift" sounds bloody awful, doesn't it?

Maybe, but a technique known colloquially by that name is starting to suck up attention and take a bite out of other forms of facial rejuvenation.

The technique -- actually a series of techniques -- was invented by Alabama-based Dr. Charles Runels, and requires a doctor -- not Count Dracula -- begins the procedure by drawing a vial of blood from the patient.

That blood is put into a centrifuge to separate out the platelet-rich plasma, or "PRP," which is then injected back into parts of the patient's face.

According to Dr. Jack Berdy, a New York-based doctor of aesthetic medicine who has been doing the so-called "Vampire Facelift" for a year, the plasma fills volume in the face, but also stimulates the body to produce more collagen and elastin.

It also only takes 30 minutes in a doctor's office.

The downside? Well, it's on the high-end of facial rejuvenation injections because, compared to other facial injections, it is more physician-dependent.

Oh, and there's the blood-drawing part.

"It makes some patients queasy," Berdy told HuffPost Weird News. "Some patients can handle being injected, but faint when blood is drawn."

However, patients like 51-year-old Nancy Chira say the Vampire Facelift, despite the spooky name, is allowing them a chance to look better without going through a recovery process that requires them to look like a mummy.

"I don't have to scare my kids by looking scary," she told Fox News. "They won't really know know and, hopefully, it improves over time."

Dr. Norman Rowe, a New York-based plastic surgeon who has been doing the Vampire Facelift for two years, is happy with the results from the technique -- but isn't so fond of the name.

"I hate that they call it that," Rowe laughed to HuffPost Weird News. "The only thing related to vampires is that blood is drawn, but this promotes healing and rejuvenation and that helps reduce wrinkles."

Rowe says the platelets attract the body's stem cells, which then become whatever kinds of cells the targeted area needs.

"If I inject blood into a wrinkle, the stem cells will become skin," he told Fox News.

But while Rowe and Berdy say they have had good results with the technique, which is also being used by orthopedic surgeons to promote bone growth, other experts like Dr. Barry Handler, a San Diego-based plastic surgeon, says the cost of the Vampire Facelift could bleed people's wallets without having a real effect on their face.

"I'd say it adds $500 to the cost to what a normal non-surgical rejuvenation costs, but there's no real proof that it reduces swelling," he told HuffPost Weird News. "This seems to be a product searching for a use. Some people are injecting the plasma into penises and breasts."

However, new advances threaten to drive a stake into the metaphorical heart of the Vampire Facelift, according to Rowe, who says the technique may be in its twlight.

"Since this technique attracts stem cells to the face, I think the future is using the stem cells themselves and cutting out the blood -- which is the middle man at this point."

In the meantime, perhaps someone will invent a "Werewolf Treatment" for curing baldness.

CORRECTION: This version corrects an earlier version of the story that left Dr. Runels name out as the creator of the Vampire Facelift. Runels has a trademark for the term and only doctors who are listed on the VampireFacelift.com website are approved to do his proprietary technique.