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An Experimental Model for Improving Fat Graft Viability and Purity

Piasecki, Justin H. M.D.; Gutowski, Karol A. M.D.; Lahvis, Garet P. Ph.D.; Moreno, Katherine I. B.S.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: April 15th, 2007 - Volume 119 - Issue 5 - p 1571-1583
doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000256062.74324.1c

Background: Autologous fat is an excellent soft-tissue filler, given its abundance, ease of harvest, and natural appearance. However, graft longevity is unpredictable and is reported in the literature to be between 3 months and 8 years.

Methods: A genetically identical, age- and sex-matched mouse experiment was used to develop a model. Inguinal fat pads were subjected to different harvest and preparatory techniques. Primary endpoints—viability and purity—were assessed with the trypan blue viability assay and component counting with a hemocytometer.

Results: Viability and purity were highest after excisional harvest versus blunt or needle harvest, presumably secondary to differences in cellular trauma. Saline wash or centrifugation after harvest produced modest but statistically significant improvements in viability and purity. However, if grafts harvested in any fashion were treated with an initial collagenase digestion followed by an idealized centrifugation regimen and a single wash step, viability and purity were consistently 96 percent and 93 percent, respectively.

Conclusions: Using an in vitro murine model, the authors have systematically developed a clinically practical model for creating a pure single-cell suspension of viable adipocytes that is reproducible, regardless of tissue harvest method.

Madison, Wis.

From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Received for publication September 22, 2005; accepted January 10, 2006.

Presented at the Midwest Association of Plastic Surgeons Conference, in Chicago, Illinois, April of 2005.

Justin H. Piasecki, M.D., 600 Highland Avenue, G5/358 CSC, Madison, Wis. 53792,

©2007American Society of Plastic Surgeons