News Release

Two different fat graft techniques have similar effects on facial skin

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Wolters Kluwer Health

March 30, 2015 - Two approaches to fat grafting--injection of fat cells versus fat-derived stem cells--have similar effects in reversing the cellular-level signs of aging skin, reports a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Since the facial rejuvenation results are the same, the simpler approach using fat cells plus the "stromal vascular fraction" has advantages over the more time-consuming stem cell fat technique. Dr. Gino Rigotti of Clinica San Francesco, Verona, Italy, directed a research team consisting of Luiz Charles-de-Sá and Natale Ferreira Gontijo-de-Amorim from Clinica Performa, Rio de Janeiro; and Andrea Sbarbati, Donatella Benati, and Paolo Bernardi from the Anatomy and Histology Institute, University of Verona.

Fat Grafts vs Stem Cells for Facial Rejuvenation

The experimental study compared the two approaches to fat grafting for regeneration of the facial skin. In these procedures, a small amount of the patient's own fat is obtained by liposuction from another part of the body, such as the abdomen. After processing, the fat is grafted (transplanted) to the treated area, such as the face.

The study included six middle-aged patients who were candidates for facelift surgery. All underwent fat grafting to a small area in front of the ear.

One group of patients received fat-derived stem cells. Isolated and grown from the patients' fat, these specialized cells have the potential to develop into several different types of tissue. The other group underwent injection of fat cells along with the stromal vascular fraction (SVF)--a rich mix of cell types, including stem cells.

Before and three months after fat grafting, samples of skin from the treated area were obtained for in-depth examination, including electron microscopy for ultrastructural-level detail.

After injection of fat cells plus SVF, the skin samples showed reduced degeneration of the skin's elastic fiber network, or "elastosis"--a key characteristic of aging skin. These findings were confirmed by ultrastructural examination, which demonstrated the reabsorption of the elastosis and the development of relatively "young" elastic fibers.

In patients undergoing stem cell injection, the skin changes were essentially identical. "This result seems to suggest that the effect of a fat graft is, at least in part, due to its stem cell component," Dr Rigotti and coauthors write.

The researchers also found "suggestive" evidence that the rejuvenating effects of fat grafting are related to new formation of microscopic blood vessels. Further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis, however. Dr. Rigotti comments, "In any case, this is the first study presenting clinical evidence showing skin rejuvenation after fat grafting and highlighting the anatomical and structural changes that are the basis of this rejuvenation."

Both fat grafting approaches "appear very promising for facial anti-aging surgical techniques," the researchers conclude. Given the similar results, the researchers believe that fat cells plus SVF are preferable to stem cell injection. That's because the fat processing step is less expensive and faster--avoiding the need for stem cell expansion means the fat cells can be harvested, processed, and injected on the same day.


Click here to read "Antiaging Treatment of the Facial Skin by Fat Graft and Adipose-Derived Stem Cells."

Article: "Antiaging Treatment of the Facial Skin by Fat Graft and Adipose-Derived Stem Cells" (doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001123)

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® is published by Wolters Kluwer.

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

For more than 60 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® ( has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair, and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. You can learn more and visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons at or and

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer is a global leader in professional information services. Professionals in the areas of legal, business, tax, accounting, finance, audit, risk, compliance and healthcare rely on Wolters Kluwer's market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions to manage their business efficiently, deliver results to their clients, and succeed in an ever more dynamic world.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2014 annual revenues of €3.7 billion. The group serves customers in over 170 countries, and employs over 19,000 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

For more information about our products and organization, visit, follow @WKHealth or @Wolters_Kluwer on Twitter, like us on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, or follow WoltersKluwerComms on YouTube.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.