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Experience with fat grafting as soft-tissue filler shows regenerative effects on aged, damaged skin

Article-Experience with fat grafting as soft-tissue filler shows regenerative effects on aged, damaged skin

Key iconKey Points

  • Sydney R. Coleman, M.D., established regenerative effects of fat grafting in laboratory experiments
  • Lab animals receiving fat grafts had an increase in normal vascularity and reductions in epidermal thickening and the scar index

Dr. Coleman
Autologous fat grafting is a safe, effective and durable technique for soft-tissue augmentation, but more importantly, the fat grafts also have regenerative activity that has implications for restoring aged and damaged skin to a healthier condition, says Sydney R. Coleman, M.D.

"Fat grafts are much more than fillers that add volume and recreate fullness. They also stimulate tissue repair and rejuvenate skin quality, and my observations are that these benefits are progressive and long-lasting," says Dr. Coleman, clinical assistant professor, department of plastic surgery, New York University Medical Center, New York.

Noting that the regenerative properties of fat grafting were first described in the literature about a century ago, Dr. Coleman says his interest in this aspect of the practice was raised when a patient of his who received a 1 cc fat graft to augment a defect in the nose benefited with resolution of a long-standing scar.

Patients receiving autologous fat grafts into different areas of the face as a cosmetic procedure for volume restoration also developed ain pore size and wrinkles, he says. Another patient had remarkable improvement of chemical peeling-induced scarring on the hands and forearms, and fat injection around the coccyx to provide cushioning in a patient with idiopathic lipodystrophy benefited with healing of a longstanding ulcer over her coccyx. Another patient who had undergone radical local excision and radiation therapy for rhabdomyosarcoma of the masseter showed improvement in skin quality and regrowth of beard hair after receiving a series of three fat injections.

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