Original Article By Macaela Mackenzie.Restylane, a hyaluronic acid filler, just received FDA approval for use on hands, making it the first injectable of its kind to receive FDA approval for use outside the face.
Following a study of 89 patients, Restylane Lyft got the stamp of approval to treat age-related volume loss in the back of the hands. "Fat volume loss and atrophy of the intrinsic muscles of the hand due to aging often leads to overly prominent metacarpal bones, tendons and veins," Joshua Zuckerman, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. Translation: as you age, hands can start to look skeletal or boney.
Fillers act as an instant plumper. "I perform a subcutaneous injection, which is fully underneath the skin but above the connective tissue that covers tendons, bones, vessels, and nerves," Zuckerman explains. "Dermal fillers work well in this area, and my patients are generally very excited about the instant improvement in the appearance of their hands." In the company's study on efficacy and safety for FDA approval of Restylane Lyft, patients showed volume improvement in the hands for up to six months. Side effects (swelling, tenderness, itching) were predominantly mild and temporary.
Restoring volume to the back of the hands is just one in a seemingly endless list of uses for hyaluronic acid fillers, which are typically used for plumping lips, softening wrinkles, and contouring the face. They're even being used to recreate the flattering tweaks created by Instagram filters. Elsewhere on the body, hyaluronic acid fillers are becoming alternatives to surgery, offering temporary reshaping effects for non-surgical nose jobs, non-surgical butt lifts -- even nipples.
Most of these uses aren't technically FDA-approved. "Off-label use of dermal fillers is relatively common, and licensed physicians have wide latitude as to what they can do in their office," Zuckerman explains. "Other common off-label uses include temples, tear troughs, cheek augmentation, and chin augmentation," Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, tells Allure. Even though the use of fillers on the body is increasingly common, Restylane Lyft is the first hyaluronic acid dermal filler to actually be evaluated and approved by the FDA for use on an area other than the face.
Lack of FDA approval doesn't necessarily mean that fillers aren't safe to use in other areas of the body, Zuckerman says. "The mechanism that most injectables and dermal fillers work by is well understood, so off-label use is generally safe," he explains. But because the effects of the injectable on the anatomy of that particular area may have not been studied, it's even more important to see a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for off-label uses. "It is key to undergo off-label treatment with someone who knows the anatomy of the area," Zuckerman says. "A physician with surgical training all over the body is safest."