Surgical Handlift

Surgical Handlift

Patient Information


Surgical handlift is an innovative procedure that reduces wrinkles and rejuvenates the hands. This technique receives high patient satisfaction for yielding low scar visibility, in terms of diameter, texture, and pigmentation.  A surgical handlift is ideal for people over 50 years of age, who seek more prominent rejuvenation effects on the hands than a conservative treatment would provide. This procedure may be performed alone or in combination with other nonsurgical hand rejuvenation treatments. Effective combined treatments include fat grafting or injectable fillers to restore volume, and chemical peeling or laser rejuvenation treatment to improve skin texture and reduce age marks. With these treatments, your hands will reverse time and look years younger.

Procedural Technique

During your consultation appointment, Dr. Tran will examine your hands and discuss with you on your desired outcome and the best procedure for you. If he determined that you are a good candidate for a surgical handlift, your procedure will follow these steps.

The nondominant hand will be operated on first to help with post-operative mobility and scar treatment. The dominant hand will be operated next within 2-4 months. Surgical handlift is a moderately-invasive outpatient procedure performed under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia. To avoid overcorrection, your wrist will be placed in a functional position (a loose fist with your palm side facing downward) to ensure an ideal amount of excess skin is removed. Your surgeon will then make an s-shaped incision horizontally around the distal border of the caput ulnae. The excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin will be strategically sutured in place. The wound will heal after a period of time to then almost invisibly hide in plain sight on the wrist.

Recovery Timeline

      • Post-operative follow-up at 4 days, 10 days, 3 weeks, every 3 months for up to 20 months
      • Immediately after surgery, it is important for you to perform active finger movements and keep the hand and arm elevated to limit swelling
      • Minimal pain experienced can often be resolved with over-the-counter analgesic medication for the first few days after surgery
      • Your wrist will be placed in a splint to ensure absolutely no movement of the wrist for the first 10 days after surgery
      • After splint removal, perform gentle massage over the entire dorsum of hand for 4 weeks to enhance lymphatic drainage
      • Your doctor will apply compression dressing and have you wear a garment for 2 months
      • You must apply sunscreen (UV protection) on scar for at least 2 months
      • After 6 months, your surgeon will test for skin laxity at your follow-up visit


Surgical handlift is a safe and effective hand rejuvenation procedure with long lasting effects. Studies have concluded significant decrease in excess skin reduction between 60% to 75%. Oppose to popular belief, tighter skin actually reduced the appearance of vein prominence and tendon visibly. Increased distance of wrinkles due to the stretching effect also makes the hands look younger. Minor puffiness is not uncommon and often resolved between 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. Moreover, patients have reported no compromise in range of motion after the healing-process was completed. Most patient recovered quickly and were able to resume light weightbearing activities after 2 weeks of the procedure. It should be noted that the scars heal better in patients with lighter skin and those who follow a strict no-smoking lifestyle during the healing process. Overall, surgical handlift is a great option for low scar visibility with prominent rejuvenating effects.



Handle, M., Bonfatti-Ribeiro, L., Barcaro-Machado, & B., Pitanguy, I. (2011). Minimal-Scar Handlift: A New Surgical Approach, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 31(8), 953–962. doi:10.1177/1090820×11424280