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Plastic Surgery Gives the Bony-fingered a Hand

Plastic Surgery Gives the Bony-fingered a Hand


Soft, fair hands were once considered beautiful because of the upper-class luxury they represented. Today, a variety of surgical procedures have been used to stretch, firm, and lift away every sign of aging, but the most telling areas for discerning a person’s age – their hands – have been largely neglected by the cosmetic surgery industry. It’s difficult to cheat the effects of time here, where skin is thin and fragile yet takes a beating every day from chemicals and the elements, but plastic surgeons have begun to try to eliminate these signs of age. Soon, it may be difficult to tell a 50-year-old and a 30-year-old apart.

Fat transfers – Aging hands often have a bony or “veiny” appearance. The solution? Inject fat to recreate the appearance of the slender, smooth hands of one’s youth. Fat injections usually use fat removed from the tummy, thighs, hips, or butt – wherever patients feel they could use a little less. Afterwards, the fat is injected into the hands. Some fat will be absorbed into the body, but most surgeons believe that up to 50 percent of the injected fat will stay in the patient’s hands, keeping them soft and youthful for years to come.

Injectables – “Hand lifts” can also be completed using injectable fillers such as Restylane®, which are more commonly used to fill in lines and grooves in the face. Over the course of several sessions, the cosmetic surgeon injects the filler material into the hands. Approximately 25 to 30 injections are administered during each hand lift session. Hands bounce back after several sessions, appearing softer, firmer, and plumper than before.

Laser treatments – Hands speckled with age spots can be cleaned up with laser treatments designed especially for this purpose. Lasers such as the Fraxel™ laser can eliminate overpigmented cells which cause the appearance of age spots without damaging surrounding skin. As with injectable hand lifts, several treatments will be necessary to achieve the best results.

Peels – Many dermatologists are turning their focus from the face to the hands, offering chemical peels to treat the skin on this often-neglected area of the body. Chemical peels cause the surface of the skin to peel off, revealing the newer, fresher skin underneath. Many patients have successfully nixed age spots on their hands though chemical peels. However, peels cannot keep skin from sagging, nor can they add volume to sunken-looking hands.

Though going under the knife to keep your hands looking young may seem a bit extreme, many of those undergoing this procedure claim the appearance of their hands is primarily important to them. After all, most people look at their hands just as much as they look at their faces. Real or perceived “hand flaws” can become an inescapable mark of age – well, inescapable until now.

But until hand surgery hits the mainstream, hands can remain one of the barometers by which we all measure age. Need to know how old someone is? For now, check the hands.

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