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Effect, Feasibility, and Clinical Relevance of Cell Enrichment in Large Volume Fat Grafting: A Systematic Review

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Large volume fat grafting is limited by unpredictable volume loss; therefore, methods of improving graft retention have been developed. Fat graft enrichment with either stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells or adipose tissue-derived stem/stromal cells (ASCs) has been investigated in several animal and human studies, and significantly improved graft retention has been reported. Improvement of graft retention and the feasibility of these techniques are equally important in evaluating the clinical relevance of cell enrichment. We conducted a systematic search of PubMed to identify studies on fat graft enrichment that used either SVF cells or ASCs, and only studies reporting volume assessment were included. A total of 38 articles (15 human and 23 animal) were included to investigate the effects of cell enrichment on graft retention as well as the feasibility and clinical relevance of cell-enriched fat grafting. Improvements in graft retention, the SVF to fat (SVF:fat) ratio, and the ASC concentration used for enrichment were emphasized. We proposed an increased retention rate greater than 1.5-fold relative to nonenriched grafts and a maximum SVF:fat ratio of 1:1 as the thresholds for clinical relevance and feasibility, respectively. Nine studies fulfilled these criteria, whereof 6 used ASCs for enrichment. We found no convincing evidence of a clinically relevant effect of SVF enrichment in humans. ASC enrichment has shown promising results in enhancing graft retention, but additional clinical trials are needed to substantiate this claim and also determine the optimal concentration of SVF cells/ASCs for enrichment.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue numbersuppl_3
Pages (from-to)S46-S58
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52367460