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Adipose Stromal Vascular Fraction Isolation: A Head-to-Head Comparison of Four Commercial Cell Separation Systems

Aronowitz, Joel A. M.D.; Ellenhorn, Joshua D. I. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: December 2013 - Volume 132 - Issue 6 - p 932e–939e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182a80652
Experimental: Original Articles

Background: Supplementation of fat grafts with stromal vascular fraction cells is an emerging technique used to improve graft reliability. A variety of systems for isolating stromal vascular fraction cells are commercially available. The lack of performance data obtained operating the systems in a standardized environment prevents objective assessment of performance. This prospective, blinded study compared performance of four commercially available stromal vascular fraction isolation systems when operated in a clinical outpatient surgery environment.

Methods: Four different systems were compared: (1) PNC’s Multi Station, (2) CHA Biotech Cha-Station, (3) Cytori Celution 800/CRS System, and (4) Medi-Khan’s Lipokit with MaxStem. Identical lipoaspirate samples from five separate volunteer donors were used to evaluate system process time, viable cell yield, composition, residual enzyme, and operating costs.

Results: The mean processing time ranged from 88 to 115 minutes. The highest mean number of viable nucleated cells was obtained using the Celution System (2.41 × 105 cells/g) followed by the Multi Station (1.07 × 105 cells/g). Lipokit and Cha-Station systems yielded nearly a log fewer nucleated cells (0.35 × 105 cells/g and 0.05 × 105 cells/g, respectively). The Celution System also yielded significantly more endothelial cells, CD34+/CD31 cells, and adipose-derived stem cells (colony-forming unit–fibroblast). Residual enzyme levels observed with the Multi Station, Cha-Station, and Lipokit, respectively, averaged 5.1-, 13.0-, and 57-fold higher than that observed with the Celution System.

Conclusions: Although all systems generated measurable amounts of stromal vascular fraction, significant variability exists in the number, identity, and safety profiles of recovered viable cells. Side-by-side clinical trials will be required to establish the relevance of these differences.

Los Angeles, Calif.

From the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine; the John Wayne Cancer Center; and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Received for publication March 16, 2013; accepted June 4, 2013.

Disclosure: A CHA Biotech Cha-Station machine and a Cytori Celution device were loaned for this study at no charge by the respective manufacturers. Some reagents and disposable supplies were also provided at no cost.

Joel A. Aronowitz, M.D., University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8635 West 3rd Street, Suite 1090W, Los Angeles, Calif. 90048,

©2013American Society of Plastic Surgeons