Three-dimensional Volumetric Analysis of 3 Fat-Processing Techniques for Facial Fat Grafting: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Importance

Autologous fat grafting has revolutionized the field of facial soft-tissue augmentation, despite a lack of standardization. Objective data are needed to arrive at consensus regarding the best technique for optimal volume retention.

Objective

To compare 3 fat-processing techniques with 3-dimensional (3-D) technology to explore the optimal fat-processing technique for improving the volume retention of grafted fat.

Design, Setting, and Participants

From September 2015 to December 2016, patients with facial asymmetry were treated by initial facial fat grafting at the Plastic Surgery Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College. Sixty-three patients (21 per group) were randomized to 1 of 3 fat-processing techniques: sedimentation, centrifugation, and cotton pad filtration. Patients underwent 3-D scanning preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Patients who did not complete preoperative or postoperative follow-up and 3-D imaging were excluded from the analysis.

Intervention

Autologous fat grafting to correct facial asymmetry.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The percentage volume maintenance of each fat-processing technique was measured with 3-D software and analyzed with variance analysis.

Results

Of the 63 randomized patients, 30 (7 men, 23 women; mean [SD] age at surgery, 22.2 [8.0] years) completed follow-up. The mean (SD) percentage volume maintenance of the 3 groups at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively was, respectively, 49% (4%), 45% (3%), 43% (3%), and 41% (3%) for the cotton pad filtration group; 41% (3%), 38% (4%), 36% (4%), and 34% (3%) for the centrifugation group; and 37% (4%), 34% (4%), 31% (3%), and 31% (3%) for sedimentation group. The variance analysis showed that the cotton pad filtration group demonstrated a statistically significant higher percentage volume maintenance in comparison with the centrifugation and sedimentation groups.

Conclusions and Relevance

The use of 3-D technology provides an objective and accurate way to evaluate different fat-processing techniques. Autologous fat processed by cotton pad filtration had a significant higher volume retention than did that processed by centrifugation and sedimentation technique.

Trial Registration

chictr.org.cn Identifier: ChiCTR-IOR-14005599

Level of Evidence

1.

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