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If your face and figure don't reveal your age, why should your hands?

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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( 60 year old woman in 2005 who takes care of herself, more closely resembles a 45 year old woman. Even the word grandmother conjures a much different image than it used to with celebrities such as Joan Collins, Priscilla Presley, Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch all claiming the title. The most well-preserved soccer mom, career woman, or celebrity wont truly fool the world (or her plastic surgeon) if aged hands give away her age. Even a world famous beauty such as Farrah Fawcett, long known for her fabulous figure, teeth and hair, has complained in the media about her bony, sun damaged hands. Whats a woman to do? Put excess body fat to good use, and filler up!

Dr. Dennis Hurwitz is a board certified Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon. He has long heard the pleas of unbelievably young looking women in their 40s 50s and 60s begging the question, is there anything you can do about these old looking hands? Oddly, enough, the solution comes from what most women dread most - their own body fat. As Dr. Hurwitz explains, fat is an ideal filler substance that is naturally occurring in our body. The cells are very small and fragile and kept alive by a very delicate, but important, network of blood vessels. After age 50 the hands begin to look aged and the vessels and veins become more apparent. In addition, hollowing, lines, wrinkles and general loss of volume occurs resulting in bony, aged looking hands. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done as a preventive measure as women who experience this type of aging are likely to be genetically predisposed.

In the medical world, the fat-injection procedure is known as autologous fat transplantation or microlipoinjection. It involves extracting fat cells from the patient's abdomen, thighs, buttocks or elsewhere and reinjecting them into the hands. After both the donor and recipient sites are cleansed and treated with a local anesthetic, the fat is withdrawn using a syringe and a blunt cannula (the same instrument used in liposuction). The fat is then prepared which means separating the blood and liquid from the fat to ensure that (the fat) is pure. Dr. Hurwitz is careful not to traumatize the fat by exposing it to air which would damage the live cells. The fat is then transferred to a smaller syringe to allow the doctor to have more control over where the injections are placed. In addition, to enable a smooth result, the doctor gives micro-injections so that the fat is evenly dispersed and so that each cell can connect to the blood vessels to guarantee survival. Because the area is numb, the injections are painless. There is no need for any bandage or surgical dressing. As with collagen, "overfilling" is necessary to allow for fat absorption in the weeks following treatment.

Many patients are able to resume normal activity immediately. Patients can expect some minimal swelling, bruising or mild redness in both the donor and recipient sites. Dr. Hurwitz recommends that patients stay out of the sun until the redness and bruising subsides usually in about 48 hours. In the meantime, makeup with sunblock can be used to help conceal bruises and thwart additional sun damage.

Although the duration of the fat injections varies significantly from patient to patient, some patients have reported results lasting a year or more. In general, some of the new volume will dissipate after 6 months, therefore, repeated injections may be necessary to maintain the new youthful appearance of the hands. For those who have sun damage in the form of age spots and discoloration, Dr. Hurwitz favors intense pulsed light therapy, from the Vasculite for age spots.

Unlike facelifts that require a long recovery time, withdrawal from social activities and work, micro-lip fat grafting delivers instant results with almost no down time. Hands go from bony to buff in one hour. Now only your birth certificate will betray your true age.

© Health News 2004 All Rights Reserved.

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