Dracula dicks: the truth behind penis vampire facials

Does injecting blood into your penis really make it bigger?

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Hero image in post

Does injecting blood into your penis really make it bigger?

By Patrick Heardman11 Aug 2023
8 mins read time
8 mins read time

A needle draws roughly three teaspoons’ worth of blood from a vein in your arm. This blood is then sealed in a vial, placed in a centrifuge which spins with enough force to separate the plasma - a yellowy liquid - from the red blood cells - red, obviously. Where these two substances meet is a fuzzy orange sweet spot, known as platelet rich plasma, or PRP. It’s this that’s then injected into your penis, several times.

What is the P-Shot?

This process has become known as the “vampire facial for the penis” and it’s been a thing in the US for years, where it’s been reported that rich men in the Hamptons are flocking to their local clinics to get the injection - known as the Priapus shot, or P-shot - in the hopes of plumping up their members this summer.

Why would someone choose the P-Shot?

One patient recounted how the shot has increased his confidence: “The parties are better. I wear shorter bathing suits, definitely tighter. But I’m not trying to expose my bulge... I’m very single this summer - this is a game-changer. It’s way different than what it was.”

Many men suffer from small penis anxiety of one form or another, with one study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, finding that as high as 30 percent of men worry about the size of their penis, regardless of how big or small it actually is. Another study, published in Springer Nature found that nearly half of men wished their penis was larger. Essentially, as long as there’s men to be measured, there’s men who wish their schlong was longer.

Dr Norman Rowe, a New York plastic surgeon who has ordained himself “The Penis Doctor”, told woo: “During the summer there is a definite increase in men seeking the procedure so that they look great in their bathing suits. It's a combination of wanting to look great, wanting to boost their confidence and wanting to please their partner.”

He added: “There are two shots that you can give to a patient. One is a filler based product [hyaluronic acid, the same substance used in lip and other dermal fillers], which increases the size of the penis which can increase gratification. The other is the P-shot which helps people to increase their stamina and prolong ejaculation. It uses platelet rich plasma with the P-shot which most certainly can increase sexual performance.”

But does the blood pumped into a man’s penis truly account for his reported improvement in performance and bulge, or is it all in his head? Does the P-shot really increase penis size, or does it merely increase the size of private practitioner’s bank accounts? The P-shot takes its name from Priapus, the Greek God of fertility, which is perhaps appropriate given that the science available in support of it seems to also be based on myth.

Where did the P-shot come from?

Back in 2010, internal medicine physician Dr Charles Runels was struck by the healing potential of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in various injuries that had caused excessive tissue damage or poor blood supply. After much research, Dr Runels became so sure that it could be used as a way of improving sexual function he injected his own penis with PRP before trying the treatment on anyone else. After trying out the same technique on his lover’s clitoris (she ended up having what he called “very strong, ejaculatory orgasms. The passion, the thunder, the sounds that she was making”), he trademarked the procedure in 2011. It was then rolled out to his patients and later to other certified doctors in the US, who charge thousands of dollars for each session.

One such practitioner is cosmetic surgeon and aesthetic wellness expert Dr Ed Zimmerman, “the dick doc on TikTok”, who administers the P-shot at his Las Vegas clinic. Once a student and now a teacher of this procedure, he tells his 2.4 million followers that his shots give patients “better erections, more sensitivity, and even a little bit of girth.”

But a recent study, published in the Journal of Urology in May 2023, found that for men with erectile dysfunction (ED) the shot shows a similar level of efficacy as a placebo. Men with mild to moderate ED were randomly assigned to have two injections, one month apart, of either the P-shot or a placebo. Men from both groups reported a small improvement in performance, but the difference between those who actually received PRP and those who had a placebo was not significantly different.

“PRP does not seem to be effective in treating men with ED, at least as a monotherapy,” said Dr Ranjith Ramasamy, the senior author of the study and an associate professor of clinical urology and the director of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the University of Miami in Florida.

“I think maybe future studies can look at PRP for select patient populations, but at least in men with mild to moderate ED, with several different underlying diagnoses, we think PRP doesn't make a big difference,” he added.

There can be a lot of difference in patient testimony. Sam, who works in healthcare and is from Philadelphia, told woo that he spent $4,000 on P-shots, and reported “a slight improvement in sensation” and a significant improvement in his ability “to get an erection rapidly”. However, it did nothing for him in the size department. “The only benefit I would recommend someone get the P-shot for is if they were suffering from decreased erection quality,” he added.

James, 28, who wanted to try the P-shot to treat his erectile dysfunction, told woo: “It did nothing for me. The urologist told me I can try the shot because his clinic sells it, so he wanted to make money, it’s a business. But it didn’t do anything for me, not even one percent improvement."

Despite the absence of clinical trial data for the P-shot, the treatment is widely available in urban centres throughout the US, administered by the hundreds of doctors licensed by the Cellular Medical Association. However, the American Urological Association (AUA) and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America both issued statements in May 2022 suggesting that the PRP is currently an “investigational treatment” that should not be administered in exchange for payment.

“Many providers have begun to market this treatment and charge high fees, with no guarantee that it helps,” Dr Sriram Eleswarapu, Assistant Clinical Professor of Urology at the University of California, told medical news website Medscape after he published a study investigating the availability of the P-shot in the US. He added: “Unfortunately, men are desperate for cures and are willing to pay for therapies with no proven benefit”.

Dr Eleswarapu issued a warning about the prevalence of the shot, saying that doctors and other healthcare workers should be mindful of the potential medical harm and financial toxicity it could cause, adding “Guidelines-conformant, evidence-based care should take precedence while investigational therapies like PRP are being studied in clinical trials”.

He is not alone in his criticism of the P-shot. Dr Premal Patel is an Assistant Professor within the Section of Urology at the University of Manitoba and founder of Men’s Health Clinic Manitoba. In a video posted to the TikTok linked to his clinic, he says that “there really is no data to support the use of the P-shot for clinical use for erectile dysfunction… As all national organisations have shown, the P-shot really should not be used clinically.”

Dr Patel’s clinic offers other experimental treatments for ED such as shockwave therapy, a non-invasive procedure that delivers acoustic waves to painful spots and damaged tissues to promote the regeneration of blood vessels and nerves. However this treatment is still in its infancy and also has limited data, with some of it due to come from an NHS trial.

While many clinics in the US and the UK offer the P-shot - it can cost from £950-£1200 here, there is currently no medical consensus on its effectiveness and a very limited amount of data pointing to any true benefits. There are people for whom money is no object, such as Hamptons bachelors, who are willing and able to try experimental treatments in search of an ego boost. However there are also many men without the financial means, but with anxieties about their penis size, who could be taken advantage of by a treatment with little evidence in support of it.

Dr Patel urges patients to be diligent when seeking treatment: “Make sure that when you’re looking for therapies that they’re rooted in science”.

See a GP or go to a sexual health clinic if erection problems keep happening. it might be a sign of a health condition that can be treated.