The effect of processing technique on fat graft survival

Orlando Canizares, Jennifer E. Thomson, Robert J. Allen, Edward H. Davidson, John P. Tutela, Pierre B. Saadeh, Stephen M. Warren, Alexes Hazen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Wide variations in fat graft survival have been reported. The authors hypothesize that treating the adipose tissue on Telfa gauze creates a processed lipoaspirate with a more functional adipokine profile that improves fat graft survival. Methods: Suction-assisted lipoaspirate was harvested from humans and was either processed by centrifugation, rolled on Telfa gauze, or left unprocessed. Progenitor cell populations were quantified and characterized by flow cytometry. Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase assay was used to measure the functional adipocytes. The lipoaspirates were grafted into (n = 45) wild-type mice and harvested to assess fat graft persistence. Vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor-BB secretions were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. Results: Centrifuged lipoaspirate had a greater number of progenitor cells per gram of tissue than Telfa-processed and unprocessed lipoaspirate. However, Telfa-processed lipoaspirate had a greater number of functional adipocytes (0.104 U/ ml) than centrifuged (0.080 U/ml) and unprocessed lipoaspirate (0.083 U/ml) on glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase assay (p < 0.05). After 10 weeks of grafting, it had greater fat graft persistence (70.9 ± 6.2 percent) than centrifuged (56.7 ± 5.5 percent) and unprocessed lipoaspirate (42.2 ± 2.7 percent) (p < 0.05). It also maintained a greater secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor-BB at weeks 1 and 2 than centrifuged and unprocessed lipoaspirate. Furthermore, CD31 staining demonstrated an increase in vascular density of the Telfa-processed lipoaspirate at week 2 compared with the centrifuged lipoaspirate (37 ± 1 percent and 14 ± 4 percent per high-power field; p < 0.05). Conclusions: Lipoaspirate processing technique has a significant impact on fat graft survival rate. Increasing the number of functional adipocytes by processing the fat on Telfa gauze may augment the secretion of angiogenic and mito-genic adipokines within the graft, thereby improving its survivability. (Plast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-943
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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