The hands are one of the most visible parts of your body, as they’re typically not covered by clothing. Because they are often exposed to the elements, they may show signs of aging earlier than other locations on your body.
If your hands have signs of aging or other appearance-related issues, structural fat grafting might be an option. The procedure involves manually harvesting of fat from one area of your body via liposuction and placing it elsewhere.
There is no one true candidate for fat grafting because the procedure can address many conditions.
Those who pursue the procedure for their hands are looking for a more youthful appearance because of:
Structural fat grafting for hands can be a delicate procedure because youthful-looking hands look full, not fat. The goal is to make the skin look and feel thicker, obscuring veins and tendons but not hiding them completely.
Before the procedure, you will have a consultation with the surgical team. If possible, bring photos of your hands from when you were younger. This will help your doctor compare your hands’ former appearance to their current state and plan the procedure.
During your consultation, your doctor will review your medical history with you, share important information about the procedure, and discuss your goals. A team member will take photos of your hands. Your doctor will review the photos with you. Together, you will create a blueprint for your procedure.
You also will meet with team members to go over pre-procedure details, including any special instructions, and schedule your surgery.
Structural fat grafting begins with the harvesting of fat from one or more locations on your body. Your surgical team will use colored pens to mark the donor and graft sites to ensure an accurate procedure.
Your doctor will harvest the fat manually, using liposuction. The fat then goes through a centrifuge, removing unwanted components like blood, oil, and water. This refines and concentrates the fat for better placement on your hands.
To place the refined fat, your doctor will make about seven or eight small entrance sites around the back of your hand. Your doctor will then place the fat, sculpting it into a smooth, uniform layer for an ideal appearance.
In most cases, structural fat grafting takes place under general anesthesia. In more minor cases, doctors can use local anesthesia with sedation.
Recovery from structural fat grafting varies, depending on factors like the amount of fat harvested and number of areas used for donation. In more minor cases, recovery can happen more quickly.
There likely will be bruising, swelling, and soreness in both the donation and graft sites after the surgery. How quickly it fades depends on the specifics of your procedure. Swelling and bruising can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to completely go away. Donor sites tend to have more swelling than graft sites.
Fat can be an unstable tissue, so there is a chance the transplanted fat will not survive after the procedure.
When the procedure is successful, a patient will have fuller, younger-looking hands. They should continue to improve in appearance for years as your body accepts the transplanted fat, and the fat gets connected to a blood supply.
While complications are rare with fat grafting, there are potential complications and side effects. They include: