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Can Fat Grafting Restore the Appearance of Aged Hands?

Hand rejuvenation is one of the most difficult challenges in cosmetic surgery. But could autologous fat grafting be the answer? According to a new article in the Cosmetic Surgery Times, at least one plastic and reconstructive surgeon argues that fat grafting can provide “long-term skin thickening and rejuvenating functions far beyond its initial filling effect.”

Four Questions About Fat Grafting for Hands

1. Why is hand rejuvenation so difficult?

The human hand is one of the most complicated parts of your body. It has many small bones, muscles, and tendons, which all need to work together. As well, your hands are extremely important in your everyday life. Imagine trying to perform everyday tasks without the use of your hands!
For these reasons, surgeons avoid performing surgery on the hands unless it is absolutely necessary. Cosmetic surgeons who want to restore the appearance of the patient’s hands have to use nonsurgical methods, such as dermal fillers.

2. Why dermal fillers for hand rejuvenation?

Dermal fillers such as Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane, and Sculptra are often used for hand rejuvenation. They are able to restore volume that can be lost during the aging process, as well as fill in deeper lines and wrinkles. However, according to Sydney R. Coleman, MD, fat grafting offers much greater benefits than dermal fillers.

3. What is fat grafting and how does it work?

Fat grafting is a surgical procedure that involves extracting fat from one part of the body, such as the tummy, typically through liposuction. The fat is specially treated, then injected to add volume into another part of the body. Facial fat grafting is a popular procedure that adds volume to hollow cheeks and sunken lips.

4. How can fat grafting rejuvenate the appearance of the hands?

Human body fat contains special stem cells that can repair tissues, improve blood supply, and prevent scarring. Some studies have indicated that injecting fat under normal skin may thicken the skin. According to Dr. Coleman, this creates a more natural appearance, with results that last much longer than dermal fillers. Since the hands of younger people have thicker skin than older hands, any really effective and rejuvenation treatment must begin with restoring the thickness of skin on the hands.

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