A prospective pilot study comparing rate of processing techniques in autologous fat grafting

Summer E. Hanson, Patrick B. Garvey, Edward I. Chang, Gregory Reece, Jun Liu, Charles E. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Autologous fat grafting (AFG) is increasing in popularity to address a variety of defects. There is interest in developing techniques to harvest, process, and inject fat to improve clinical outcomes as well as operative efficiency. Objectives The purpose of this pilot study is to compare the rate of graft processing of two commercially available systems for graft preparation. Methods Twenty consecutive cases using an active filtration system (system-AF) were observed followed by 20 consecutive cases using a passive filtration system (system-PF) to compare efficiency rate. Fat processing rate was quantified in milliliters/minute. Results Forty patients underwent AFG with no differences in patient characteristics between the groups. There was 1 incidence of palpable fat necrosis per group (5%). For all patients, this was the first fat grafting procedure; 20% of patients (n = 4 per group) had additional fat grafting. Overall, the rate of adipose tissue preparation was significantly higher with system-AF compared to system-PF (19.8 mL/min vs 5.3 mL/min, P ≤ 0.001). The resulting percent of graftable fat was comparable (AF: 41% vs PF: 42%; P = 0.83). Conclusions Time and motion studies such as this provide a means to systematically document each of the steps involved in fat grafting in a reliable fashion. The authors demonstrate a significantly higher rate of lipoaspirate processing using an active filtration system compared to a passive system. Further large-scale studies of the efficacy and cost analysis of AFG are a necessary component of determining best practices in the field. Level of Evidence: 2

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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