Many patients are not aware of the hand being one of the main victims of aging. As we age, the hand loses the fat under the skin, which results in tendons and vessels under the skin becoming more pronounced. Sun damage may also cause age spots on the skin, accentuating the aging of the hand.
Fortunately, options are available to rejuvenate the hands. The lost fat can be replaced by commercial fillers present (such as Restylane), or by the patient’s own fat. I prefer the patient’s own fat, since I am replacing what is lost. Furthermore, although usually two to three procedures may be necessary, the remaining fat is permanent after each procedure, eventually resulting in a stable correction.
The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia, similar to going to your dentist. Fat is harvested usually from the abdomen (the area of the skin below the belly button), and then injected into the hand. You should refrain from excessive use of your hands for one week. Some swelling and bruising will be present, which usually is resolved by 7-14 days.
One or two additional touch-up procedures may be necessary until the correction is stable. The touch-up procedures are performed 3-6 months apart, depending on the amount of fat remaining after each procedure.
Any medication which increases the risk of bruising (aspirin, motrin, coumadin, etc.) must be discontinued (unless medically deemed necessary by your physician) two weeks before the surgery.
The aging spots on the hand can be improved by chemical peels or laser (I prefer the Mixto or fractional CO2 lasers). The laser procedure can be done with topical anesthesia.
As we age, we tend to focus on the face. Don’t forget your hands! Next time you see an older person who has had a face lift; look at their hands and judge for yourself.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 10 years of experience. His office is centrally located in Orange County, in the city of Santa Ana.
To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.