Dr. Charles Runels Talks to Cosmetic Surgery Today About His New Designer Procedure – The Vampire Breast Lift™
We recently got a chance to speak with the creator of the Vampire Facelift, Dr. Charles Runels. He speaks candidly on the differences between a simple Selphyl injection and his designer cosmetic procedure the Vampire Facelift. We here at CosmeticSurgeryToday are also the first to report on his NEW procedure, the Vampire Breast Lift!
Click the play button below to hear the interview, or browse through the transcript below.
Sharon Odom (SO): Hi everybody! It’s Sharon Odom from CosmeticSurgeryToday.com. As you know, a few months ago, we did a scoop on the Vampire Facelift™. As a result, we are now in contact with the designer of the [Vampire Facelift™] procedure, Dr. Charles Runels. Dr. Runels, are you there?
Charles Runels (CR): Yes. Hi Ms. Odom, thank you for having me. I’m so honored to be here. I know you have a lot of readers and listeners, and I want to tell you about my new designer procedure, the Vampire Breast Lift™. But first, I just want to tell you thank you for having me.
SO: Well, thank you for being here. It’s very exciting to understand that we are getting a scoop on a brand new procedure, and that we’re the first to report on it. So I am very excited!
CR: Well thank you. I think it’s something that is going to fill a need that has not been addressed yet, in the appearance and the shape of the breast and the way it is sculpted, in a way that’s quick and easy and less risky. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about this idea, about what I think about when I think of a designer procedure. Is that OK? Can we just go over that and what I was thinking when I created the Vampire Facelift™?
SO: Yes, what is a designer procedure exactly?
CR: The way I thought about this is that I think there is an underestimation about what’s really required to create a more beautiful appearance. Especially in the face, where just a millimeter or two can make a huge difference.
I remember as a child watching an interview on television with this famous model. I was just a little kid, so I don’t even remember what her name was, I just knew she was literally on the cover of one of my mother’s magazines. And someone asked her in the interview about her beauty. She was humble enough and wise enough to say something that has stuck in my brain for 40 years, she said, “The only difference between me and most women is just a few millimeters here and there.”
That is so true on the face. So what I had seen happen with too many women and men is that when they have a filler or a procedure done, rather than have a millimeter or two changed to enhance what’s natural about their face, they have too much changed. The problem might be better. Like a fold or a wrinkle may have improved, but now they have an appearance that can look foreign to their face, at best. And at worst, can look foreign to this planet!
CR: (Laughs) And so the idea was, instead of thinking about folds and wrinkles, to back off and just think, how can I design… instead having someone just coming in and ask for BOTOX. That’s like walking into a restaurant and saying, “Get me a hamburger.” Would you mean a Big Mac? Or do you mean a… I mean, what do you mean by that? Or do you mean a gourmet meal? What are you looking for?
Well, I wanted it where someone walked into a cosmetic physician’s office and asked for something, instead of asking for a tool, they would understand and ask for a particular way of thinking about their face. So, I’ve looked at, and actually combined at least two tools, and in some people, three tools, using a hyaluronic acid filler like Juvederm or Restylane, combining it with a platelet rich plasma or growth factor derived from the blood, and sometimes with BOTOX.
Doing that in a way so it enhances a woman or a man’s face, and brings it back to the way it looked when they were younger, and perhaps de-emphasizes things that are less attractive about their face. There’s a way to think about that, create that, and teach it. I created this designer procedure in the same way, again, as when you walk in and ask for a cotton shirt. Do you mean a cotton t-shirt, or do you mean a Calvin Klein designer shirt?
I wanted a way that people could know whether they walked in a doctor’s office in New York City or Southern California or anywhere in between, or in another country, if they visited a physician that I taught these ideas to that they would know they would get this result. Does that mean that they are going to be smarter than the physician next door? Not necessarily, but they will at least know this person they are seeing is going to be thinking about it in the same way.
SO: I see. Let me ask you a question about the Vampire Facelift™. We’ve heard so many people talking about it all over the country, were these people trained by you?
CR: Some were, some were not. It’s interesting, this trademark (™) /service mark (®) idea is something that people are used to in other businesses, but the physician and the medical community is not as used to it. We see it in weight loss programs, like MediFast or Weight Watchers. You know when you walk in; certain things are going to happen no matter where you are in the country.
CR: With cosmetic procedures, it’s not so standardized. A similar thing happened, it’s an odd comparison, but it’s a good one, but think about what happened when Roller Blades first came out. Where other people started making skates that were in a line instead of four wheels like a car, and wanted to call them roller blades. But they weren’t the same thing. They didn’t work as well, or sometimes they worked better, but they didn’t work the same as the Roller Blade. Roller Blades said, “No, you can’t use our name, you have to call yours ‘inline skates’.”
The same thing happened when I saw platelet rich plasma and growth factors and how powerful they were to improve the face. I thought I need to use this as part of a trade secret or the way that I’m thinking about the face, combining Leonardo all the way up to present computer analysis of the face and what makes it beautiful. I need to think about how to combine this with other things that I know like the fillers and the BOTOX into something that works. I deemed the procedure the Vampire Facelift™.
Unfortunately, just like with Roller Blades, the press picked it up, and some physicians thought it was synonymous with using growth factors in the face and got reported that way. The New York Times covered the story, the Doctors show covered the story, Kelly and Regis…it’s been all over. Sometimes they got it right and sometimes they didn’t, which is a common problem with the trademark. But, I was the first to use it, I defined it, and it’s taking some education of some physicians that you can use platelet rich plasma and growth factors in the face, but you can’t use my name because you can confuse people.
It’s such a small world, somebody can go on a blog and see where someone in another state got the Vampire Facelift™ (where someone uses my name inappropriately), and they may have gotten something that’s not what I do. Some people are using growth factors combined with a laser and calling that the Vampire Facelift™, some are combining it with fat and calling it the Vampire Facelift™, some are just using a little bit in one area and calling it that. None of those are the Vampire Facelift™.
They may be wonderful procedures in some people, but it’s not what I meant in the Vampire Facelift™. If someone gets a result that’s not as good as what I would have achieved, then it’s confusing. Whether it’s good or bad, it could be that it works better than what I had in mind. I want it to be that it works to everyone’s benefit, so the patients know exactly what to expect, and the physicians who are doing the procedure, they will have more people coming because it has a reputation, it’s a brand name. Just like any other brand name, whether it’s a type of pizza or a type of designer dress.
That’s the idea behind it. The physicians and practitioners that are there are all expert injectors who have either come to see me, or they are already good. It’s like putting music in front of a concert pianist. They may already know how to play the piano, but I wrote them a new score. In the same way, some of the people there were expert injectors already, I just had to explain how to combine these and think about the face. Others were adequate but came to personally train with me to become better than adequate. So everyone [listed on my site] has my stamp of approval.
SO: Excellent! I’m happy to help get the word out.
CR: Thank you.
SO: And also very excited to get the word out on the newest procedure. Actually, it’s two procedures, correct?
CR: Yes! And I’m so happy that [we spoke], the timing is perfect because there are so many people, because they’re busy or they’re working, and they can’t afford to be away from work for six weeks, two weeks, or even one week because of surgery. Or it’s a money problem, or it’s because they don’t want to be as aggressive with their bodies, they want to be gentler with their body. A lot of people are opting NOT to have surgery.
My favorite compliment is for a patient to tell me they went home and nobody knew they had had anything done. They just all knew that they looked more beautiful for some reason. I love it when a woman tells me she went home and her lover said, you look gorgeous, did you get new hair? Did you get new make up?
SO: (laughs) Right!
CR: To me, that’s a compliment! If they go home, and their lover says, what did you do to your cheek, what did you do to your mouth, that’s no good to me.
SO: When it’s obvious that they’ve had something done…
CR: Yes, and so in the same way I thought there was a need. I had a lot of women coming to me saying, I like my breasts, but I just need a little more cleavage or they’re starting to fall a little bit, if I just had a little more volume here. Well, I already do laser liposuction; I can take fat from the abdomen, and inject it into the breast. That’s a very safe procedure. But, you’re out of commission for at least a few days, and it’s more aggressive than most people want or need.
I thought why can’t you do the same thing with the breasts that you’re doing with the face? In Europe, they’re already using hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane, just injecting it into the breast and augmenting the breast without any surgery at all. The downside to that is that if you do a lot of injecting there, sometimes you can have some nodule formation and then it’s a more aggressive procedure. I wasn’t after that. I just wanted to take the same ideas that I had for the face, and how to look at the breasts, and do the same thing that a good bra would do. Add a little more cleavage in the center, add a little more volume in the upper part of the breast, not really thinking about size. And I call it the Vampire Breast Lift™ for the same reason; I’m getting growth hormones out of the blood like the mythological figure of the vampire which uses blood for a more youthful appearance.
And breast lift, as in not changing size or augmenting, just giving the appearance of a more youthful, healthy breast. The good part about the Vampire Breast Lift™ is unlike the surgical procedure which can cause decreased sensation; the nipple actually rejuvenates because you get better blood flow. You’re activating unipubsin cells, which causes growth of new, healthy tissue. Just like it causes a better appearance, just like that rosy glow that children have in the face, you get the same look to the breast. Nipples become healthier, loss of sensation from breast feeding or breast augmentation can come back, the stretch marks improve, it just looks like a healthier breast.
It’s around the edges of an implant; it’s around the edges of someone who has not had an implant. That’s the Vampire Breast Lift™. It takes about 30 minutes including centrifuging the blood, person’s talking with you, use a needle that’s a very thing gauge needle just like you would use to give Juvederm in the lips, and a topical anesthetic so there’s no severe pain. The person looks beautiful that night because the volume’s there, and it improves over the next three months as the new blood vessels and the new collagen and fat gets healthier and juicier like when the woman was [younger].
SO: Let me ask you about the process. Do you use the exact same process for the Vampire Facelift™ as Vampire Breast Lift™? Is the process the same and you just inject it into a different place? How is it different?
CR: The processing of the blood is the same. I’ll even use small amounts of Juvederm with the growth factors derived from the blood. The only difference is that it’s not so much millimeters. In the face you’re sculpting shapes that are critical millimeters. Especially around the mouth, cheeks and eyes. With the breast, it requires more of the blood product. It’s still not a huge amount drawn, it’s about 4 tablespoons. It’s still more than you would use in the face, and you’re creating a roundness instead of sculpting a shape, so it takes more volume. But the way I process the blood is the same.
You take blood the way you normally would if you were having a blood test to check your cholesterol, or something. Then I run it through a centrifuge for a particular length of time. Take the serum part out that has the platelets in and leave the red cells behind. Activate them with calcium chloride, it’s just like salt with calcium, it’s in Smart Water, an electrolyte, that’s normally mostly inside the cell. When I put it around the platelets, they think a cell has been damaged, and they release all these growth factors. Essentially, I’m creating that yellow goo that everybody remembers…when you scraped your knee as a child, and you look at the scab and picked at it, even though your mother told you not too, and you looked around the edge of it, do you remember that yellow goo?
SO: Yea, I remember that gold stuff!
CR: Yea, everybody remembers that! Well that yellow goo is what I’m making. That is platelet rich fiber matrix. If you just make the growth factors in there liquid, well they just wash away. Our creator knew to put that in some sort of yellow thing, and it holds the growth factors there, and that brings in all these unipotent stem cells. It’s like bringing in seeds that can grow new, healthy tissue, improving blood flow. That’s why you get a rosy glow after the Vampire Facelift™ and the Vampire Breast Lift™.
Pretty much anything you can do to the face, works on the breast. You can use your Retin A there, you can use your cosmetics there. The reverse is true, if you smoke, in the same way that will age your face, it will age your breasts. It’s a little bit different, but the idea of doing this in such a way that you’re shaping and creating beauty, rather than just changing size. Beauty has four things involved: shape, size, color, and texture.
You can get $10 worth of cosmetics at the drugstore, and change color and texture. You can give the illusion of changing shape. But if I want to truly change shape and change color and texture, with a cosmetic procedure, you’re going to spend. The Vampire Facelift™ costs between $1,500 – $2,000 at most places. It better be a lot better than $10 worth of cosmetics at the drugstore!
SO: For sure.
CR: It is because you’re getting not just a change in shape, or the illusion in change in shape, you’re getting real change in shape, both in the breast and face as thought about from the standpoint of an artist. Along with that, the blood vessel growth, you get a change in color and texture and the skin literally looks younger, because it is! You have new growth. Chronologically I have not de-aged you. You still were born on the same day.
SO: That’s too bad! (Laughs)
CR: (Laughs) I’ll think of that one!
SO: People would line up around the block for that one! Let me ask you this… Who is the ideal candidate for the Vampire Breast Lift™?
CR: The ideal candidate is not someone who needs to change size dramatically. The ideal candidate is a woman between the ages of 30-55. On the other hand, I have seen some 80 year old women who have taken really good care of themselves, and their breasts look like an 18 year olds!
SO: How old were these women, did you say? 80? Eight zero?!
CR: I saw a lady in the ER who fell off of her house while she was repairing the roof, and she had breasts that looked like an 18 year old. When I saw people like that, I would interview them, and ask how’d you stay so gorgeous? Invariably, they would say, I stay around young people, I have something I want to do, they were walkers, or they had some higher power that they felt connected to and they did not smoke. Those were the things that came from everybody.
Back to ideal candidates… It’s not just 35-55, but for most people, by the time they get around 60 or 70, it may be that there’s more loss of volume. It may be that they need a fat transfer along with it, or they need an implant along with it, or a true surgical lift. They’ve had those procedures and maybe they want to augment or shape, or they had their procedure a few years ago and the edge of their implant is showing through, or it’s shifted. So I can change things and reshape them so they don’t need another implant or I can put it off. They’re thinking, ‘I’m not happy but I’m not really ready to have a surgical augmentation yet,’ I can bring it back out so they are happy with it for longer.
SO: Can you get a touch up? How long do the results last until they need to get something else done?
CR: I’ve only started doing this about a year ago, but my prediction is going to be about what it is in the face. If you look at Juvederm, it’s good for a year in most parts of the face, sometimes longer. If you look at the PRP, it starts to fade. It’s not like it goes all the way away. Even with the hyaluronic acid, it produces new collagen growth. Most people are starting to see it fade around 9 months to 18 months.
It’s sort of like sprucing up your garden. I like to think of the health of your face like a garden. You don’t just do a one-time thing and say, ‘OK, I’m done, I don’t want to think about it’. No, you’re sort of tending it. My patients get that idea. They’re tending their health, tending to their beauty. They listen to you, they read the health magazines, reading the beauty magazines, and they’re not overboard, making themselves look like they come from another planet.
But they are doing little things all along instead of waiting until things are gone and having to do something drastic. In the same way, with these procedures, probably it will need some touching up, like the woman on VampireBreastLift.com. She had 3 children, she had no sensation, she could not get her nipples to ping up, they were just kind of there.
CR: After the [Vampire Breast Lift™], the sensation came back, the roundness came back. In a year, sensation was still there, and they were still better than before we did the procedure. But, it had started to fade some, so we touched it up. It may look a different way when you’re 80 than when you were 20, but there’s still a way to bring out some beauty and help it blossom more.
And with these new ideas like using growth factors and these new ways of thinking… Now we have peptides, we have new ways of using Retin A, new ideas in nutrition, new ideas in hormonal replacement, all of it comes together to make this way of nurturing and bringing out the best beauty, not just keeping things from falling apart. Of course, that’s going to happen, it depends on what level of health and beauty people are looking for. This idea of, ‘I’m just going to age gracefully.’… Who says that with their house? You’re just not going to paint it? Let it fall down? That’s not aging gracefully! That’s aging tragically.
But if you think about it as maintenance, as a nurturing, from the inside out… When I do a BOTOX party, I flat out say, OK, we can have this BOTOX party, but some of you, I will trick into getting healthier than you are. By the time they come see me a few times for BOTOX, and they’ve heard me tell them how much more beautiful their skin and their breasts are going to be if they quit smoking. Then six months later, they hear me talk about walking… And by the end of two years, their whole life is different and everybody on their block has started walking. It really is a nurturing.
Health is beauty. The most beautiful thing… think of any body type, any race, any color, any place on this planet…think of them as healthy, and automatically you think of beauty. They are so inter-related. That’s why I like these procedures, the Vampire Facelift™ and the Vampire Breast Lift™. They are getting more to the core of what beauty is about, all the way down to the stem cells, generating new tissue. It’s phenomenal what we’re seeing these days.
SO: OK, what can go wrong?
CR: So far, there’s never been an allergic reaction, but there is a needle. I suppose if I were in a drunken state… I don’t drink alcohol, another thing that can help keep you young… I suppose I could puncture an implant, I could cause an infection. But all those things are rare things. The good thing is there are actually growth factors there to help fight an infection. I use a local anesthetic, but you could have some pain. I don’t have people yelling and moaning in pain, but they feel the needle go in.
You can use these procedures to bring an inverted nipple back out, sometimes for about a week, the woman will actually produce breast milk. Not a lot, but if you squeeze the nipple, you can get a few drops of breast milk because you’ve activated those cells. To me, that’s fascinating!
SO: It is.
CR: Those growth factors are that powerful that she’ll get a little breast milk. If someone had am implant, and their doctor was very careless, he could certainly puncture the implant and make it deflate. The physician can push [the implant] a little out of the way. It’s a big target, which makes it easy to miss. So it would be hard [to puncture an implant], but it is possible. There’s never been fibrosis from the growth factor, there have never been nodular formations, or allergic reactions because it’s your blood. But those are the main side effects.
SO: Interesting. Now that we’ve talked about the Vampire Breast Lift™, and we’ve got everyone more interested in it, how do they get more information? If someone was in Houston, Dallas, New York, how would they go about getting this since it’s so new?
CR: As I said earlier, I’m excited about it, I’ve just released it. I’ve been thinking about and designing this procedure for the past year, but I just released it this week. I have a group of physicians I’ve already trained with the Vampire Facelift™, and some of them are interested and some are not. Others are calling and being trained, and so this group will grow very quickly. The [physicians] will be listed at http://www.VampireBreastLift.com very soon.
SO: Excellent! I know I promised to keep this short and be respectful of your time, is there anything else you’d like to say about the Vampire Breast Lift™ or the Vampire Facelift™ or the Vampire Nipple Lift? Or any of your other procedures?
CR: The main thing is just to come back to the idea that, I think if I want to do one thing before I leave this planet, it would be that health is like grabbing an awkward piece of furniture. Say it’s a table that’s shaped oddly…how do you pick that thing up? Health and beauty is the same way.
People look at their body and they think about all the things that are going wrong, where do you start? What do you do first? If I could do one thing before I leave this planet, I would like people to get the idea that it’s all inter-related. Health, beauty, spiritual, physical, mental…it’s all inter-related. And just grab something and start with the easiest thing. Then culture it.
Be persistent, be consistent, and do something. Then do the next thing, whatever that is that feels easy to you. With time…it’s amazing, I’ve seen so many people change their life and change their appearance and maintain these amazing healthy lifestyles into old age and still looking gorgeous. If I could do one thing, that would be it: Think about the whole thing.
SO: Excellent. Now where can people get more information about you? I know you mentioned VampireFacelift.com and VampireBreastLift.com, is there another website?
CR: My main website, which if it looks homemade it sort of is, I just use it like a blog to talk to my patients is http://www.TempleRepair.com. As in your body being a temple.
SO: Great! Thank you very much for talking to me, this has been very enlightening for me as well. I really didn’t know you could use fillers in the breast! This is the first I’ve ever heard of it since I talked to you. I just thought they went in the face. I didn’t think about them going in the breast. This has been great and I really appreciate it. I hope that you’ll come back and do a follow up interview with any of your other procedures!
CR: Anytime. CosmeticSurgeryToday.com is beautiful, and I’m glad you thought my procedures were worth sharing with your readers.
SO: Thank you! Thank you very much.