Predictors of Autologous Free Fat Graft Retention in the Management of Craniofacial Contour Deformities

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Autologous free fat graft outcomes are not always predictable, and variables that can potentially influence fat graft retention are still not well understood or investigated. The purposes of this study were to assess fat graft retention in the management of craniofacial contour deformities and to identify possible predictive factors of this retention.


A prospective analysis was conducted using consecutive patients with unilateral craniofacial contour deformities who underwent autologous free fat grafting between 2012 and 2015. Standardized ultrasonographic craniofacial soft-tissue thickness measurements were adopted to determine the fat graft retention. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify independent predictors of 12-month postoperative fat graft retention.


One hundred forty-two patients were enrolled. There was significant (all p < 0.05) and progressive reduction in fat graft retention within the first 3 postoperative months, and the retained fat graft was maintained (all p > 0.05) from 3 to 12 months postoperatively, with a 12-month fat graft retention rate of 67.7 percent. Age, Parry-Romberg syndrome, previous craniofacial bone surgery, grafted volume, and forehead unit were independently negative (all p < 0.05) predictors of fat graft retention, whereas cheek unit was an independently positive (all p < 0.05) predictor of retention.


Craniofacial fat graft retention is achievable but remains somewhat unpredictable, with age, Parry-Romberg syndrome, previous bone surgical intervention, grafted volume, and recipient sites affecting retention.


Risk, III.

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