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Autologous Fat Grafts Harvested and Refined by the Coleman Technique: A Comparative Study

Pu, Lee L. Q. M.D., Ph.D.; Coleman, Sydney R. M.D.; Cui, Xiangdong M.D.; Ferguson, Robert E. H. Jr M.D.; Vasconez, Henry C. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 2008 - Volume 122 - Issue 3 - p 932-937
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181811ff0

Background: The viability of fat grafts obtained by even a well-established technique remains poorly studied and unknown. This study was designed to determine the viability of fat grafts harvested and refined by the Coleman technique.

Methods: Sixteen adult white women were enrolled in this study. In group 1 (n = 8), fat grafts were harvested and processed with the Coleman technique by a single surgeon from the abdomen of each patient according to his standardized method. In group 2 (n = 8), fat grafts were harvested with the conventional liposuction by another surgeon. After centrifugation, the resulting middle layer of tissue was collected. All fat graft samples were analyzed for the following studies: trypan blue vital staining for viable adipocyte counts, glycerol-3-phophatase dehydrogenase assay, and routine histologic examination.

Results: The higher viable adipocyte counts were found in group 1 compared with group 2 (4.11 ± 1.11 versus 2.57 ± 0.56 × 106 cells/ml; p < 0.004). The level of glycerol-3-phophatase dehydrogenase activity was significantly higher in group 1 compared with group 2 (0.66 ± 0.09 versus 0.34 ± 0.13 U/ml; p < 0.0001). Histologic examination showed normal structure of fragmented fatty tissues in both groups.

Conclusions: Although fat grafts obtained by both methods maintain normal histologic structure, the Coleman technique yields a greater number of viable adipocytes and sustains a more optimal level of cellular function within fat grafts and should be considered superior to conventional liposuction as a preferred method of choice for fat graft harvesting.

Sacramento, Calif.; New York, N.Y.; and Lexington, Ky.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California, Davis, the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, and the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Kentucky.

Received for publication December 11, 2007; accepted February 26, 2008.

Presented at the 14th International Congress of the International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, in Berlin, Germany, June 26 through 30, 2007; and at the 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Baltimore, Maryland, October 26 through 31, 2007.

Disclosure:Dr. Sydney R. Coleman is an unpaid consultant and has stock options for Cytori Therapeutics and Juniper Medical. He is also an unpaid consultant for Beacon Medical and receives royalties from instruments sold by Mentor and from books sold by Quality Medical Publishing. None of the other authors has any commercial associations or financial interests in any of the drugs, products, or instruments used in this study.

Lee L. Q. Pu, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California, Davis, 2221 Stockton Boulevard, Suite 2123, Sacramento, Calif. 95817,

©2008American Society of Plastic Surgeons