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 skeletal
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 an aged appearance, there are two
solutions. First, restoring volume in the back of the hands can help blunt
the visibility of veins and tendons, which leaves a much more youthful
contour. 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 removed 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 treatment options.