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What is hand rejuvenation?

Published onApril 22, 2015 by
Up close on woman's hands

Turning back the hands of time

Hand rejuvenation refers to a set of techniques designed to restore your hands to their more youthful appearance.  Your hands are the most continuously exposed area of your body to sunlight with the exception of your face.  With this constant exposure to sunlight comes changes in the skin quality and texture of the hands.  Most people are focused on rejuvenating their faces, whether through surgical or non-surgical methods.  The hands, however, are often neglected.  It is often said that the hands betray the true age of somebody.  Up until recently, little could be done to improve the appearance of the hands.  With recent advances in plastic surgery, hand rejuvenation techniques can restore your hands to a more youthful appearance.

Your hands are one of the first areas of your body to show signs of aging.  Factors which contribute to an older looking hand include sunlight, aging, and perhaps most importantly the loss of volume.  A youthful hand is full, plump, unwrinkled, and devoid of pigment changes and splotches.  Furthermore, the youthful hand does not have clearly visible tendons and veins.  In contrast, an older appearing hand looks skeletal due to the loss of volume.  Sun damage is often manifest in the form of dark spots and pigment changes.  Veins and tendons are easily visible.  The older hand appears thin and frail.

With a greater understanding of the causes of aging, plastic surgeons understand that one of the most important contributing factors to aging is the loss of volume.  Restoring volume to the backs of the hands during hand rejuvenation procedures is paramount in order to achieve a more youthful appearance to the hands.  There are many hand rejuvenation techniques that are available, and often more than one technique is required to provide an optimal outcome in restoring a youthful look to the hands.

Methods of hand rejuvenation

The most common method for restoring volume during hand rejuvenation is the injection of dermal fillers to the back of the hands.  There are many dermal fillers on the market, each of which has its own particular characteristics.  Hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, and Belotero, attract and bind large amounts of water within the skin and provide a very smooth appearance and texture to the skin.  Other volumizing agents, such as Radiesse, are composed of calcium hydroxyapatite and induce the formation of collagen within the skin.  Injections with dermal fillers can be performed in the office setting.  The hands are numbed up with a local anesthetic.  The filler is then injected into the back of the hands and massaged so that there is a uniform distribution and coverage of underlying structures.  Most dermal fillers are temporary, though, and results typically last 9-12 months, necessitating repeat injections after the filler wears out.

Fat grafting, or fat transfer, is another hand rejuvenation technique whereby fat is harvested from one area of your body by liposuction and then reinjected into another part of your body.  Typical donor sites include the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks.  After the fat is retrieved, it is then separated from the blood and other body fluids and then processed before is it reinjected into the back of the hands.  Fat grafting usually provides more permanent results, however surgery is required in order to perform hand rejuvenation by this method.

Following hand rejuvenation with either dermal fillers or fat grafting, your hands may be swollen, bruised, and slightly uncomfortable.  These symptoms typically last between 24-48 hours.  Despite this, most patients are extremely pleased with the results of their hand rejuvenation after the treatment sessions.

Once the volume of the hands are restored, consideration is given to methods to improve the quality and appearance of the skin.  If there are any small veins that are prominent on the back of the hands, sclerotherapy can be effective for treating these small blood vessels.  In sclerotherapy a small amount of a liquid agent is injected into the lining of the veins, irritating the inner wall of the blood vessels which causes them to narrow and finally seal down.  A chemical peel or microdermabrasion might be required to remove the outer layer of skin and improve the appearance of the skin.  During a chemical peel, a thin layer of a chemical such as glycolic acid or trichloracetic acid is applied to the back of the hand for a predetermined period of time before it is neutralized.  With microdermabrasion, a small instrument is used to peel away the top layers of the skin.  With each method, the damaged outer layers of skin are removed, exposing the inner layers of skin which are devoid of sun damage and wrinkles.  Laser treatment can also be used to remove any dark splotches or pigment changes from the skin.

There are multiple methods used in hand rejuvenation, and often more than one technique is required when treating the hands.  This often neglected part of the body can now be treated using similar methods as with facial rejuvenation procedures.  The end result of hand rejuvenation is a restoration of your hands to a softer, fuller, more youthful look that does not belie your true age.

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