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Human Fat Grafting Alleviates Radiation Skin Damage in a Murine Model

Sultan, Steven M. M.D.; Stern, Carrie S. M.D.; Allen, Robert J. Jr. M.D.; Thanik, Vishal D. M.D.; Chang, Christopher C. M.D.; Nguyen, Phuong D. M.D.; Canizares, Orlando M.D.; Szpalski, Caroline M.D.; Saadeh, Pierre B. M.D.; Warren, Stephen M. M.D.; Coleman, Sydney R. M.D.; Hazen, Alexes M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 2011 - Volume 128 - Issue 2 - p 363-372
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31821e6e90
Experimental: Original Articles

Background: Autogenous fat grafting has been observed to alleviate the sequelae of chronic radiodermatitis. To date, no study has replicated this finding in an animal model.

Methods: The dorsa of adult wild-type FVB mice were shaved and depilated. The dorsal skin was then distracted away from the body and irradiated (45 Gy). Four weeks after irradiation, 1.5-cc fat or sham grafts were placed in the dorsal subcutaneous space. Gross results were analyzed photometrically. The animals were euthanized at 4 and 8 weeks after fat or sham grafting and their dorsal skin was processed for histologic analysis.

Results: Hyperpigmentation and ulceration were grossly improved in fat-grafted mice compared with sham-grafted controls. This improvement manifested histologically in a number of ways. For example, epidermal thickness measurements demonstrated decreased thickness in fat-grafted animals at both time points (20.6 ± 1.5 μm versus 55.2 ± 5.6 μm, p = 0.004; 17.6 ± 1.1 μm versus 36.3 ± 6.1 μm, p = 0.039). Picrosirius red staining demonstrated a diminished scar index in fat-treated animals at both time points as well (0.54 ± 0.05 versus 0.74 ± 0.07, p = 0.034; and 0.55 ± 0.06 versus 0.93 ± 0.07, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Fat grafting attenuates inflammation in acute radiodermatitis and slows the progression of fibrosis in chronic radiodermatitis.

New York, N.Y.

From the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Laboratories, New York University Medical Center.

Received for publication November 17, 2010; accepted January 27, 2011.

Presented in part at the 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons, in Manchester, United Kingdom, June 27 through 29, 2010, and the 79th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 1 through 5, 2010.

Disclosure:This project received funding from the National Endowment for Plastic Surgery. Dr. Coleman receives royalties and is a paid consultant for Mentor. He is a paid consultant for the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. No financial support or benefits have been received by any other coauthor, by any member of their immediate family, or by any individual or entity with whom or with which they have a significant relationship from any commercial source that is related directly or indirectly to the scientific work reported on in this article.

Alexes Hazen, M.D., New York University Medical Center, Tisch Hospital, 530 First Avenue, Suite 8Y, New York, N.Y. 10016,

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons