You've probably heard of the "vampire facial," but did you know you can get a similar procedure on your breasts? That's right: the vampire breast lift exists, and it's a solid option if you're looking for a non-invasive procedure that gives you a refresh with minimal downtime. “A vampire breast lift is a procedure in which a patient’s own growth factors are injected into the breast to temporarily augment or enlarge the breast and, theoretically, improve skin quality,” explains plastic surgeon Evan Garfein, MD. It can be a good option if you've lost volume and lift over time due to things like breastfeeding and changes in weight, but are looking for something less intense than a full breast augmentation. Ahead, plastic surgeons and med spa professionals tell all about the vampire breast lift, plus one woman shares her experience with the procedure.
Meet the Expert
- Evan Garfein, MD, is a plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic procedures and reconstruction of the face, breasts, and abdomen. He is a founding partner at Tribeca Plastic Surgery, as well as the chief of plastic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center.
- David Shafer, MD, FACS, is a double-board-certified, award-winning plastic surgeon and the founder of the Shafer Clinic in New York City. He combines surgical and non-invasive techniques to help patients achieve natural-looking results.
- Monica Grover, DO, MS, is a double-board-certified gynecologist and the chief medical officer of VSpot Medi Spa, which offers a range of non-invasive treatments focused on women's sexual health.
- Cindy Barshop is the founder of VSpot Medi Spa, through which she aims to revolutionize women's sexual health with a range of services that target various concerns with minimal invasiveness or downtime.
What Is a Vampire Breast Lift?
“The vampire breast lift is a procedure that utilizes the patient's own growth factors through a process called PRP,” says Monica Grover, DO, MS, the chief medical officer of VSpot Medi Spa. “It stands for platelet-rich plasma. The purpose of it is to induce tissue and collagen remodeling within the breast tissue. It helps to bring back firmness and youthfulness, as well as a slight lift.” Grover notes the procedure is especially popular with women who have lost firmness in their breasts, often due to aging or hormonal or postpartum changes.
“The main purpose is to stimulate rejuvenation of the breast, as the PRP is thought to enhance the external or skin appearance of the breast,” says double-board-certified plastic surgeon David Shafer, MD, FACS. “This is a similar effect to popular PRP treatments for the face and décolletage.”
One Patient's Experience
After fluctuating in weight and nursing two kids back-to-back, Jen was looking to boost her bust. “While I am becoming stronger and more confident, I felt that with age and having children, I noticed a lot of change in my breasts overall, and it's something that always hindered me,” the 39-year-old mom of two says. “Kind of as a joke, I always said when I turn 40 I'm gonna get a mommy makeover—I'm gonna get my boobs done because I'm working so hard, but I'm just not where I want to be, as far as my confidence level goes. It's something that I always wanted to do, but I'm terrified of being put under.”
“My breasts had really lost their shape,” Jen says. “I went from always having a fuller cup to breasts that felt a little saggy and sad. I wanted to try something before going under the knife that would make me feel more confident.” Three months after the procedure (which Grover performed), Jen's bra size hasn’t changed, but her breasts fill out the bra cups. Thrilled with the results, she says, “You can tell that my breasts are becoming more dense and filled out.”
Benefits of Vampire Breast Lifts
While the name may sound intimidating, a vampire breast lift is actually one of the easier procedures to get when you're looking to increase your breast volume. Here are a few reasons you might consider it:
- Minimal downtime and recovery: “There's no real downtime with the vampire breast lift,” says VSpot Medi Spa founder Cindy Barshop. “Afterwards, patients literally walk out. It's almost like Botox.”
- Non-invasive: This is what drew Jen to the procedure. Unlike traditional breast augmentation, a vampire breast lift doesn't involve incisions or anesthesia—instead, it uses needles to draw blood and re-inject PRP into the target areas.
- Uses your body's own plasma: “PRP is very en vogue for a variety of reasons—the idea of using one's own proteins to ‘heal’ oneself is intrinsically attractive,” Garfein says. You won't have to worry about deflation or leaks as with implants—instead, the plasma helps your breasts to achieve more fullness on their own.
- Can improve the appearance of skin conditions: “There are numerous factors in PRP that individually and in combination have been shown in various experimental models and some clinical models to improve certain conditions, like scarring and thinning of the dermis,” Garfein tells us. Talk to your provider about your specific concerns to see how this procedure or others can help.
- Less permanent results: If you want to boost your breasts but aren't sure about the permanence of going under the knife, a vampire breast lift is a good way to test-drive your results. “The biggest benefit is that it is temporary and, therefore, gives the patient an approximate idea of what they would look and feel like with a permanent augmentation using either their own fat or a silicone implant,” Garfein says.
Preparing for a Vampire Breast Lift
Another perk of a vampire breast lift is you don't have to do any extensive special prep. “There are no specific precautions or preparations other than having a candid conversation with your plastic surgeon about your goals and expectations to make sure the vampire breast lift will meet what you are seeking,” Shafer says. However, it isn’t for everyone: Shafer tells us that patients with breast disorders, cancer or history of cancer, and those who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding should not have the procedure.
For the best results, Grover says patients should avoid taking anything that constitutes a blood thinner for a non-urgent issue, such as aspirin or supplements like vitamin E or fish oil, as it can increase the chances of bruising. “The day before and the day of, eat generously and don’t have anything that's too dehydrating—such as alcohol or caffeine—because when we take your blood, we want it to be a substantial amount so those growth factors will be concentrated,” she says. “When someone comes in very dehydrated, or they just didn't eat so much the day of or the day before, it's harder to draw their blood as a result.”
What to Expect During a Vampire Breast Lift
The vampire breast lift is a minimally invasive procedure involving needle injections. “The first stage is to withdraw the blood from the patient's vein, such as when you have labs taken,” Shafer says. “The blood is then processed with special solutions and vials in a centrifuge to separate the PRP layers from the other components. The PRP layer is then isolated and injected back into the patient for the area of treatment.”
Before the procedure starts, you'll be numbed topically to minimize discomfort. Once that's done, the actual injections take about 30 minutes. “It's not substantial pain, but there is discomfort because we are injecting the breast tissue,” Grover says. “It's very comparable, in my opinion, to Botox and fillers.”
Vampire Breast Lifts vs. Traditional Breast Lifts
The vampire breast lift is an alternative to undergoing traditional breast lift surgery. “With a traditional breast lift procedure, even if you're not dealing with implants, it’s still an invasive procedure,” Grover says. “A big turnoff for a lot of women is not only the downtime and surgical risks, but [also] the aesthetic aspect of the type of scarring that's formed. There's substantial scarring.”
However, although the risks and time commitment are much lower than a traditional procedure, a vampire breast lift will not give you the same results. “The vampire breast lift is a misnomer as the procedure does not ‘lift’ the breasts,” Shafer says. “The only possible effect is improving the skin quality. True breast lift procedures or mastopexy use surgical excision and tightening to transform the breast shape, location, and position of the nipple and areola. These are just not possible with the vampire breast lift.”
Before moving forward with any sort of breast lift, Garfein advises making sure it’s the right one for you. “As with all cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, the ideal strategy is to fit the solution to the problem,” he says. “If the sagging breast is caused by more skin and less breast volume, the solution is to tighten the skin envelope or augment the breast volume. PRP doesn't really do either in the long term. Patients may get a temporary benefit from the injection of fluid into the breast to ‘reinflate’ the breast volume, but this will not last. In terms of value for the dollar spent, patients with sagging breasts can do better.”
Potential Side Effects
Side effects of a vampire breast lift are few, if any. “Most commonly, a patient can expect minimal swelling and possible bruising,” Shafer says. However, Grover cautions that a very rare complication to keep in mind is pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung. “What can happen is if a needle gets too close to the ribcage, it could create a slight puncture that can then cause air to be leaked from the the lung, and it can get trapped,” she says. “That can cause a lot of discomfort. As long as you have a very skilled injector, [this is unlikely to happen].”
You might experience some pain at the site where the PRP is injected into the breast—if this gets particularly bad or doesn't subside, talk to your provider about how to proceed. Also, “there is always the risk of a hematoma or collection of blood within the breast from unintentional damage to a blood vessel,” Garfein says.
The price of a vampire breast lift varies depending on factors like location and number of injections, but it generally ranges from $2000 to $4000. This is significantly less than the cost of breast augmentation (which ranges from $5000 to $10,000), but the latter can provide more dramatic, permanent results, so you should base your decision on which one best fits your goals.
Just like the procedure itself, post-treatment care for vampire breast lifts is pretty simple. “Avoid any type of anti-inflammatories, such aspirin,” Grover says. “If the patient does have any type of discomfort, they can take Tylenol to help alleviate that. We also request that the patient wear an underwire bra for about five straight days, both day and night, to support the breasts after being injected with all this volume.” She also recommends limiting alcohol for the first 48 hours and avoiding heavy exercise for a week, as both of these can inhibit the repair process.
Keep in mind that the final results will take a while, as your breasts will continue to evolve after the procedure. “The recovery is fast, and patients can generally resume normal activities almost immediately,” Shafer says. “Patients should not expect an immediate or dramatic result. Any immediate improvement can likely be attributed to mild swelling. The long-term effects of the vampire breast lift would be evident over weeks to months after the procedures.” Three months after her procedure, Jen is still seeing changes.
The Final Takeaway
Vampire breast lifts can be a good option for improving the fullness and skin appearance of your breasts, as long as you're realistic about the results. It’s much less invasive than a traditional breast lift, but the results are far less dramatic. “On the one hand, injecting a theoretically innocuous fluid that comes from the patient’s own blood seems to be quite safe,” Garfein says. “On the other hand, since it is not clear that this procedure will result in any significant long-term benefit, one could ask whether spending the money and going through the discomfort is worthwhile. If a patient wants fuller or larger breasts or has ptosis of the breast, this is probably not the best value. If a patient wishes to undergo a relatively innocuous procedure to ‘try on’ a larger breast size, this may fit the bill.”
It’s also important to note that the results won’t last forever, so you'll want to be prepared for upkeep or a more permanent procedure down the line. “The body will continue to age, and the vampire breast lift is definitely not a permanent fix or change to the breast,” Shafer says. “The procedure should be viewed as a temporary improvement and incorporated into other rejuvenation procedures for more dramatic and sustained effects.”
A major perk of the vampire breast lift is the natural-looking results. “Some women will come in wanting a very substantial lift, and that's when I refer them to surgery,” Grover says. “But a lot of women come in for natural-looking results. They don't actually want anything that mimics or looks like an implant or any type of surgery. The aesthetic has changed over the years, so they're willing to take something that’s not so obvious that anything's been done.”
For Jen, undergoing a vampire breast lift was well worth it, and it was the right treatment for her. “I'm very active, I'm a mom to two, I have a full-time job, and the zero downtime was important,” she says. “When you look at a breast augmentation, you're out of commission for a significant time. I think injection is the future—it's kind of like hacking your way to new boobs. [By using PRP], you're not putting anything foreign into your body. I think it's a really amazing, non-invasive procedure. It's like an optimization versus a significant change. Now, I feel much more confident.”