Hands are one of the telltale signs of aging become apparent. Even if you have taken steps to keep your face and neck looking youthful, sun-damaged, veiny, thin, wrinkled hands can make you look older than you are. There are a number of effective procedures to rejuvenate your hands, improving the quality and texture of your skin, and reduce the wrinkling and prominent veins.
When to Consider Hand Rejuvenation
- If your hands have prominent veins and tendons because of volume loss
- If you have wrinkles and thin skin
- If you have age spots
- If you would benefit from improved skin tone and color
- A number of options are available for rejuvenating your hands
- After treatment your hands will be smoother and fuller and your veins will be less prominent.
- Your hands will have a more youthful appearance
- Multiple procedures might be required to obtain the best results
- Hands may be swollen, bruised and stiff after a treatment.
- If you have a history of impaired healing, from diabetes, ongoing sun exposure and smoking you will see a less dramatic initial result and a shorter lasting result
These are the top three pros and cons to consider when thinking of hand rejuvenation. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with Dr. Jensen.
How is a hand rejuvenation procedure performed?
Whether you desire volume replacement, correction of age spots or lessening of lines and wrinkles, Dr. Jensen has a few treatment options to choose from.
Volume replacement to treat prominent bones, tendons or veins:
Fillers (such as polylactic acid or hyaluronic acid)
- The filler is injected into the hand at multiple locations.
- It is placed in layers at multiple levels to reshape and augment the hands. This can leave a slight bluish hue to the skin
Fat injections (fat transfer or autologous fat grafting)
- Fat is harvested using liposuction from areas of your body with excess tissue, such as the abdomen, hips, back or thighs.
- The fat is then purified for grafting and re-injected into your hands.
- The fat is grafted in layers at multiple levels to ensure that a smooth, linear deposit of fatty tissue is left to fill and augment the hands.
- The liposuction incisions are closed with tape.
If you have poor circulation from vascular disease, diabetes, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS or smoking you may not get as good a result as other patients.
Laser vein treatment
- Laser treatment is typically used to treat small blood vessels (1-3 mm in diameter).
- A laser is passed over your skin and the laser light is absorbed by the blood, causing the vessels to collapse and be absorbed by the body.
- There is little downtime.
Treatment for fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, sun damage, or irregular pigmentation:
Superficial chemical peels
- A chemical solution is applied to your hands with a sponge.
- Dr. Jensen decides how long to leave the solution on your hands by carefully observing any changes in the appearance of your skin.
- No covering or ointment is necessary and you can expect little downtime.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) and photodynamic therapy (PDT)
- Your eyes will be covered for protection.
- The hand piece is placed directly over the treatment area and light waves are emitted.
- After a series of treatments, the spots and discolorations on your hands will be begin to disappear.
- Recovery from IPL is similar to recovering from mild sunburn.
Laser skin resurfacing
- Your eyes will be covered for protection.
- A hand piece is passed over your skin and the laser emits a very brief pulse of high intensity light that damages the upper layers of your skin.
- As your skin heals, healthier, younger looking tissue emerges.
What will my hand rejuvenation incisions and scars be like?
If you have fat injections, the liposuction incisions to harvest the fat are tiny and just large enough to allow the cannula, to go under the skin and remove the fat. The incisions used for injecting the fat into the hand regions are even smaller.
How do I prepare for a hand rejuvenation procedure?
Dr. Jensen and his staff will provide you with thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery. If you are having laser skin resurfacing or a chemical peel, you may be placed on a treatment program during which you will apply Retin-A and a skin bleaching cream. You may also be given certain oral medications that you should take as prescribed.
Prior to your procedure, Dr. Jensen will ask you to:
- Stop smoking at least four weeks prior to surgery to promote better healing
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications which can cause increased bleeding
- Avoid excessive sun exposure. Too much sun up to 2 months before the procedure can cause permanent increased pigmentation in the treated areas. Discuss sun protection and acceptable sun exposure with Dr. Jensen.
- Hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
Hand rejuvenation is performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for a responsible person to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you if you’ve had sedation for at least the first night following surgery.
What can I expect on the day of hand rejuvenation surgery?
Your hand rejuvenation surgery will be performed in our office-based surgical suite. Most hand rejuvenation procedures take at least thirty minutes to complete but may take longer.
- Medications are administered for your comfort during and after the procedure.
- Local anesthesia or intravenous sedation may be used depending on the procedure.
- Throughout the procedure, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Dr. Jensen will follow the treatment plan discussed with you before treatment.
- After your procedure is completed, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will continue to be closely monitored.
You will be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and Dr. Jensen have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery.
Dr. Jensen will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions from the recovery room nurse about your postsurgical care, including information about:
- Normal symptoms that you should expect
- Potential signs of complication
Immediately after hand rejuvenation
Immediately after surgery your hands will be bruised, swollen, and tender. If you had fat grafting, the donor site for fat harvesting may be tender and bruised as well. We recommend that you apply ice to your hands, stay out of the sun, and keep your hands clean.
Once the anesthesia wears off, you may have some discomfort. Contact our office to find out if your pain, bruising and swelling are normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame after hand rejuvenation
The first two weeks
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by our staff. This will include information about wearing compression garments, taking an antibiotic and the level and type of activity that is appropriate. Our staff will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Depending on the procedure, you can usually regain normal activities within hours or several days.
- Bruising, tenderness, and swelling gradually disappear
- Hands appear more youthful, filled-out and smooth, with little or no brown spots or veins.
Week two to eight
- Your skin may still be pink or bruised
- Your skin tone will begin to blend naturally without depigmentation
- If you had a more superficial treatment Dr. Jensen may recommend a repeat procedure to enhance your results
Fortunately, significant complications from hand rejuvenation are rare. Your specific risks for hand rejuvenation will be discussed during your pre-operative consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma
- Infection or bleeding
- Loss of sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures
Other risks specific to hand rejuvenation are outlined below:
- Slow healing
- Abnormal healing and/or unanticipated color changes or skin pigmentation from chemical peels
- Fat reabsorption
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of our staff, both before and after your hand rejuvenation surgery.