Hand Rejuvenation: Fat Transfer vs Fillers

Cosmetic procedures are becoming far more common and acceptable these days. In fact, it’s one of the most reliable ways to reverse the signs of aging and obtain a more youthful appearance. However, when talking about cosmetic procedures, many people only focus on facial rejuvenation. It’s understandable since it’s usually the first thing someone sees when they meet you. However, other areas of your body are also subject to aging and it’s important to take a holistic approach when reversing the signs and effects of aging.

This is why hand rejuvenation has become a much more common procedure offered by cosmetic surgeons around the world. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at what hand rejuvenation is and compare the two most common techniques: fat transfers and fillers.

What is hand rejuvenation?

Hand rejuvenation is a fairly general term that covers many different procedures aimed at reducing the signs of aging on your hands.

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The most common signs of aging on the hand include wrinkles, dark spots and a loss of elasticity. Hand rejuvenation wasn’t a very popular procedure among the public, but they have become increasingly more common due to the holistic approach people are now taking to combat the signs of aging. In fact, many patients now combine different treatments for a full-body anti-aging package.

There are several techniques for hand rejuvenation but the two most common ones are fat transfers and dermal fillers such as Radiesse®.

How does fat transfer work?

A fat transfer involves purifying and injecting fat from the patient’s body. Through liposuction, fat is first removed from a donor area such as the stomach or the thighs. It’s then processed and purified so that it’s ready to be re-injected into the body. For hand rejuvenation, the fat is inserted into the back of the hand through a small needle. The fat is then quickly re-absorbed into the body, giving your hands a smoother complexion and getting rid of dark spots and sagging skin.

The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery approves of the use of fat transfer for aging hands. Since the filler is taken from the patient’s own body, there is little chance for the re-inserted fat to cause an allergic reaction. The results are consistently soft and natural-looking hands, and they can last for several years before the process needs to be done again. Fat transfers are regularly used for other rejuvenation procedures given their safety and consistently great results.

The procedure takes around an hour and is usually done in an office setting under topical and local anesthesia. The fat removal process takes up to 15 minutes including the processing and cleaning. It then takes another 15 to 25 minutes to inject the fat into the hands. The targeted area may look overfilled at first, but this is to account for the fat being absorbed back into the body.

How do fillers work?

Dermal fillers such as Voluma® and Radiesse® are injected into the hands to smooth out wrinkles and reverse the effects of aging. They have similar effects to a fat transfer procedure but can be done faster, since they don’t require you to have a liposuction to obtain donor fat. Additionally, dermal fillers are ready to use by a certified surgeon, so they don’t need to be purified or processed before being injected. 

Fillers such as Radiesse® are made from calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) microspheres that are suspended in an aqueous gel carrier. Once it has been injected, it immediately smoothens the skin and adds volume to the hands. It then stimulates the body to produce higher levels of natural collagen to prolong the anti-aging effect. Over time, the gel is slowly absorbed by the body which metabolises the CaHA microspheres. This leaves behind just your naturally-produced collagen, making it a safe and simple procedure that offers semi-permanent effects.

While the procedure itself is similar, patients that use fillers are often encouraged to do different hand exercises to help the gel spread around. It also doesn’t require anesthesia but you may request a topical numbing cream to reduce any potential discomfort during the injection. A potential side effect to Radiesse® is swelling or small bruises at the injection site, but these are naturally resolved over the next few days. Since fillers are considered semi-permanent, most patients need to get them every year or two to maintain the effect.

Should I use fat transfer or fillers?

The ideal procedure for you will generally depend on your circumstances and the results that you expect.

If longevity is a concern, then a fat transfer is usually the best method of hand rejuvenation as the results are permanent. Though your hands will continue to age naturally, you can expect the results to last several years before the effect starts to diminish. However, do keep in mind that the immediate results you see aren’t finalized as your body will start to absorb some of the fat. After a week to a month, the results should stabilize.

If cost is a concern then fillers are typically the best option. Though the effect only lasts around a year or two, subsequent fillers will reduce the number of injections you need to reverse the effects of aging on your hands. This generally works out to be cheaper, even in the long run, though your mileage will vary.

In terms of final results, a fat transfer tends to be superior. However, this is offset by the complex procedure and cost. Fat transfers will require general anesthesia, the procedure is longer and it takes around two to three weeks for the results to settle. The end result is often superior to fillers, but some may be put off by the complicated procedure. If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to make your hands appear more youthful, then fillers are often the preferred choice.

For both fat transfer and fillers, there is minimal recovery involved so you can expect to get back to your regular lifestyle immediately.

Rejuvenate your hands with the experts

If you are interested in rejuvenating your hands, contact the experts at VIDA Wellness and Beauty now! Our board-certified plastic surgeons can walk you through the entire process and solve all your doubts. For younger, healthier looking hands, call VIDA at +1(619) 738-2144 and schedule your free virtual consultation today. 

Dr. De La Fuente

Dr. De La Fuente is our board-certified Dermatologist practicing at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Cosmetic Dermatology, Laser treatment & Non-invasive procedures, Medical Dermatology and Surgical Dermatology. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Dermatology, Mexican Board of Dermatology, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, American Academy of Dermatology.