Dracula therapy: Fighting ageing with your own blood

Count Dracula as portrayed by Béla Lugosi in 1931's Dracula

New Delhi : For ages, blood sucking has been the preserve of vampires, but medical science has now put ‘dracula therapy’ to good use – to fight ageing. A test tube full of your own blood could be used to get rid of wrinkles, say doctors.

“Dracula therapy, as the name suggests, is a therapy that uses blood. We extract nearly 15-20 ml (a test tube) of blood from the person’s body, and after processing it with growth hormones in a laboratory, the blood is injected on the person’s face,” A.S. Bath, senior consultant and head of department of plastic and cosmetic surgery at BLK Super Speciality Hospital here, said.

Platelet rich plasma (a component of blood) is extracted from the blood, after which drugs are used to release a growth factor in it. The fresh solution is then injected on the face using micro-needles after applying local anaesthesia.

“The concept is that your own blood with additions of growth hormones will help stimulate the growth of fresh cells, DNA repair, heal scars and treat wrinkled skin without any chemicals or surgical procedure. And that too there are just three sittings required without any hospitalisation,” Bath explained.

Apart from being non-invasive, the technique also reduces the chances of allergic reactions; as the body gets back its own blood, allergic reactions are not there.

Introduced in Britain by London-based French cosmetic doctor, Daniel Sister, the technique has found many enthusiasts in India, say doctors. Women who had been opting for botox and laser therapy now have a painless technique to vouch for, feel experts.

“We have conducted eight such therapies in the last three months. Botox paralyses the facial muscles to stop wrinkles. But with dracula therapy, your own blood is used to replenish the damaged skin cells, making the skin look baby-soft and natural,” said Datinderjeet Singh Tulla, consultant at the department of plastic and cosmetic surgery at the same hospital.

A single sitting for the therapy costs around Rs.25,000. And the trend is catching up among women in their 30s who have the urge to look their best in the social space.

“It would be wrong to say that it’s just a trend in the West to try cosmetic surgery. In urban India, people now want to fight ageing and score with looks wherever possible,” Tulla says, adding that his clients have ranged from a hospital nurse to a documentary filmmaker.

“More middle-aged women want to try this technique,” Tulla said.

But some precautions are needed with the technique that is touted to be the generation next of plastic surgery, experts believe.

“Surely it is a promising technique. But knowing that we have Indians willing to experiment with looks, people should check that the clinics where blood is processed is certified and has a hygienic laboratory,” advises Bath.

The laboratory should have sterile and aseptic conditions, a licensed blood bank for preparing the serum should be involved in the process, and the surgeons performing the technique should also be certified.

The blood has to be fresh and processed for plasma within hours; otherwise the chances of infection are also there.

“Since we don’t have strict licensed norms for clinics in India, the technique is likely to be used for commercial purposes in times to come. After the age of 18, anybody could try it,” Bath added.

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