Review: Proposed Methods to Improve the Survival of Adipose Tissue in Autologous Fat Grafting

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Summary:In 2009, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Task Force on Autologous Fat Grafting (AFG) determined that autologous fat grafting was a safe procedure with a relatively low rate of complications. This consensus opinion unleashed a wave of popularity as plastic surgeons discovered the procedures' efficacy in a wide variety of cosmetic and reconstructive indications. Frequently reported cosmetic applications include soft-tissue augmentation of breast, buttocks, hips, face, and hands, whereas reconstructive applications include adjunct for breast reconstruction contour problems, plantar fat pad improvement, and correction of various posttraumatic and surgical contour deformities. Recognition of other regenerative effects of fat grafting expanded the use AFG for improvement of hypertrophic scar tissue, postradiation sequelae, lipodystrophy, hyperpigmentation, senile skin changes, and actinic damage. The popularity of AFG is supported by a remarkably low risk of complications, minimal scars, and readily available donor sites. Despite recognition of the advantages of AFG, there still is no consensus regarding optimal techniques of harvest, graft preparation, and injection. Further, the yield of permanent volume falls within a very wide range. In this article, we review the basic science of fat grafting, proposed methods offered to improve engraftment, and reported outcomes of AFG procedures.

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