Aging and sun damage can cause loss of soft tissue and premature aging in the hand. The skin becomes looser and the sun causes wrinkling, thinning and spotting of the skin. Hand rejuvenation uses several techniques to resolve the issues of atrophy, skin wrinkling and discoloration of the aging hand. These procedures can fill in the contour, decrease wrinkling, prominent veins, and some color changes.
Am I a good candidate for hand rejuvenation?
Hand rejuvenation is a good option if you feel your hands could benefit from:
- Less prominent veins and tendons
- Less wrinkling of the skin and more volume
- Improved skin tone and color
By using a combination of different procedures, your plastic surgeon can help you regain a youthful look. Patients with poor circulation from vascular disease, diabetes, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS and smoking may not get as much of the graft volume (if using fat transfer technique) to take as other patients.
Your consultation with an ASAPS plastic surgeon
After taking a full medical history and answering important questions regarding your health, your surgeon will examine your hands for skin type, texture, thickness and any problem areas. After communicating your concerns and expectations, a procedure plan will be made and several options will be discussed.
Your hand rejuvenation options
There are many approaches to creating a youthful look for your hands since the treatment is dependent on the patient’s needs.
If age or hereditary factors have caused your hands to look “bony” or “veiny,” then a filler or autologous fat transfer may be needed to add volume. Your surgeon might use fillers like polylactic acid or hyaluronic acid. Another option is fat injection (fat transfer or autologous fat grafting), which also involves a liposuction procedure to remove fat from another part of the body and inject it into the hand.
Chemical peels, IPL and laser skin resurfacing may be used for fine wrinkles, skin discoloration, sun damage or age spots. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) or skin lightening creams can also help pigmentation or brown spots on the skin.
Sclerotherapy or a laser vein treatment may be used to treat noticeable or protruding veins. Skin resection might be necessary for extremely loose skin without contour irregularities.
How should I prepare?
If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you stop smoking well in advance of the surgery. Smoking can affect your ability to heal. Certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding such as Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and some vitamins/homeopathic regimens should be discontinued prior to arm lift surgery.
Your Hand Rejuvenation experience
Your specific experience will be determined by the number of procedures required to meet your cosmetic goals. Many of the procedures might require multiple treatments to get the best results. It is not uncommon to have separate treatments to allow the skin to heal or the swelling to dissipate before moving on to the next.
Fillers will require multiple injections throughout the hand to fill in areas with deficient volume. For fat transfer, a patient’s own fat is harvested from a donor site elsewhere in the body using liposuction and injected into the back of the hand. Sclerotherapy involves injecting unsightly spider veins with a solution that causes the vein to collapse.
Skin rejuvenation on the hand is also relatively pain-free and will either require a laser/light therapy or a chemical peel. If there is skin that needs to be removed or excised, may be performed under general anesthetic, or local anesthetic, with sedation. It is important that the facility where the procedure is performed is an accredited facility appropriate to the type of anesthesia you require.
Hand Rejuvenation Recovery Process
The hands are swollen and bruised after the surgery. The donor site for fat harvesting may be sore and bruised as well. The hands will feel tight and stiff due to swelling and overcorrection. Directly after treatment you may notice:
The injections plus postoperative swelling will make the hands look very puffy. Depending on the procedure, you can regain normal activities within hours or several days. In both cases, you will have to follow some post-treatment care, such as applying ice, staying out of the sun and keeping your hands clean.
Except for possible surgical skin removal, the risk of scarring is small. Even for fat injection, only small puncture incisions are used, which usually fade quickly. While infection is very rare, there is a greater risk of scarring if you experience an infection.
Results of hand rejuvenation
After any swelling or redness from the hand rejuvenation procedures have resolved, you will notice more youthful looking hands. The appearance of the skin should be filled-out and smooth, with little or no brown spots or veins.
How long will it last?
It is important to avoid prolonged sun exposure and to take precautions like wearing gloves and moisturizing the skin regularly to extend the life of your hand rejuvenation results.
Temporary fillers usually last from 3 months to one year. Fat transfer and skin resections are usually stable from five to seven years. Injections may be repeated when necessary.
Results of skin tightening will depend on the type of treatment used. All resurfacing techniques can be difficult and/or risky to repeat. Patients with a history of impaired healing, such as diabetes, ongoing sun exposure, and smoking (or exposure to second hand smoke) will see both a lower initial result and a less lasting result.
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