Facelifts have been working wonders for aging clients over the past several decades. However, a more youthful face may not be enough if telltale signs of aging are still evident in the neck and hands.
Injection therapy and lifts can help eradicate the dreaded “turkey neck,” but what can a person do about withered, wrinkled hands? Now surgeons are using a refined fat transfer technique that provides excellent outcomes for patients with this common concern.
Patients want younger hands
Plastic surgeons are seeing an increasing demand for procedures to turn back the clock and rejuvenate the hands, according to a new report in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “Our facial rejuvenation patients are increasingly aware of the dichotomy between the youthful face and the aged hands,” comments Dr. Rod J. Rohrich from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
A June 2006 study found that people were able to accurately estimate a woman’s true age just by looking at the hands. Prominent veins most gave away the hands of the elderly, researchers found, although wrinkles and lost volume were two other noteworthy characteristics. Study participants remarked that nail polish and jewelry helped make hands appear younger in addition to alterations to improve the physical appearance.
“A primary motivation to have plastic surgery is to look and feel better, often by seeking a younger looking appearance. However, looking younger after your facelift or eyelid surgery can conflict with aged hands that simply do not match the face,” said Roxanne Guy, MD, ASPS president-elect. “After the face, hands are the second most visible, telltale sign of one’s age. If your goal is to look more youthful or you are bothered by the appearance of your hands, you may seriously want to consider hand rejuvenation.”
Currently, only about five percent of facelift patients add hand rejuvenation onto their procedures, but this number is estimated to increase dramatically as newer rejuvenation techniques are promoted to all facelift surgery candidates. Other options include laser treatments and chemical peels to reduce the appearance of age spots, fat injections for lost volume, and laser ablation for veins.
Fat transfer techniques hold the answer
Fat transfer involves removing a small amount of fat tissue from one part of the body and adding it elsewhere to add volume and improve long-term results. This increasingly popular practice is most commonly used in facelift surgeries and breast enhancements, but surgeons find that it can also be used in hand rejuvenation.
Previously, surgeons were concerned about the time-intensiveness of fat grafting and the final appearance, but Dr. Rohrich and colleagues describe a new “minimal access” technique that yields satisfying results. About 40 to 50 milliliters of thigh fat tissue is harvested and injected into the back of the hand through a few small incisions. The fat is gently massaged into a smooth contour so it masks the appearance of prominent bones and veins.
This fat transfer hand grafting technique only adds 15-20 minutes to the total procedure time for patients undergoing facelift surgery say researchers, and the results last for at least six months. Though safety and efficacy have been well demonstrated in clinical studies, the true longevity of the treatment requires longer, larger studies for assessment.
Hand rejuvenation in New York City
Dr. B. Aviva Preminger is an experienced, Ivy League educated, board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City. Her commitment to ongoing training and education has kept her abreast of all the latest advances in aesthetic improvements, including fat transfer techniques to produce younger-looking hands.
She invites New Yorkers who are interested in facelifts, hand rejuvenation and other anti-aging skin treatments to schedule a personal one-on-one consultation to learn more.