I don’t like the way my hands look. Is there anything that can be done to improve the aged appearance?
With the exception of the head and neck, our hands are typically the most visible part of our bodies to the public eye. There is a lot of attention given to treatment modalities that aim to reverse the effects of aging in the face, as well as other areas like the breasts, arms, abdomen, etc. Due to sun exposure and the loss of soft tissue volume over time, our hands age and demonstrate the effects of aging as much as anywhere else on the human body. With advances in surgical techniques, there are options available to patients that can reverse some of these effects of aging.
What is it that makes my hands look older?
Similar to the face, hands display the effects of aging through loss of soft tissue volume and skin changes from chronic sun exposure. As we age, the soft tissue in our hands begins to shrink. As the soft tissue shrinks, the “cushion” effect it had been creating for the veins and tendons in the back of the hand is lost, leaving a harsher and more skeletonized appearance. Also, with chronic sun exposure, pigmentary changes begin to arise which also gives a more aged appearance.
What can be done to reverse these changes?
As there are two potential causes for and aged appearance, there are two aging hands treatments. First, restoring volume in the back of the hands can help blunt the appearance of veins and tendons, which leaves a much more youthful appearance. This can be accomplished with the injection of fillers, which are temporary, or fat taken from a different part of the body, which is permanent. Second, some of the pigmentary changes can be treated with topical therapy like chemical peels and laser therapy.
Where is the fat taken from and how do you get it? Can it be performed at the same time as another surgery?
Typically, fat is taken from the abdomen or inner thigh region. It can be harvested from anywhere in the body where fatty deposits reside. It is harvested through liposuction with small cannulas, which are blunt stainless steel tubes. Fat grafting to the hands is a relatively quick procedure that can be performed at the same time as another surgery like a facelift, or performed as an adjunct to liposuction on another part of the body.
Are the effects of fat grafting to the hands permanent?
Over the past decade, many advances have been made in techniques involved with processing fat for placement into other areas of the body. With state of the art techniques, the majority of the fat injected into the hands will survive and stay forever, as long as the patient’s weight remains stable. This is one of the main benefits to performing fat grafting to the hands as opposed to injecting synthetic soft tissue fillers, which last for about a year or so.
How do I know if I am a good candidate for fat transfer to the hands?
If you are bothered by the appearance of your hands due to prominent veins or tendons and/or feel as though your hands have a “hollow” or “deflated” appearance, you may be a good candidate for fat grafting to the hands. If there is any question, the best thing to do is to schedule a consultation with a qualified surgeon and discuss your aging hands treatment options.