Influence of decantation, washing and centrifugation on adipocyte and mesenchymal stem cell content of aspirated adipose tissue: A comparative study

  • Alexandra Condé-Green
    Corresponding author. Department of Plastic Surgery, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Carlos Chagas Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Ivo Pitanguy Institute, Rua Dona Mariana #65 Rio de Janeiro 22280-020 RJ Brazil. Tel.: +55 21 8275 1649; fax: +55 21 2286 4991.
    Department of Plastic Surgery, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Carlos Chagas Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Ivo Pitanguy Institute, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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  • Natale Ferreira Gontijo de Amorim
    Department of Plastic Surgery, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Carlos Chagas Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Ivo Pitanguy Institute, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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  • Ivo Pitanguy
    Department of Plastic Surgery, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the Carlos Chagas Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Ivo Pitanguy Institute, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

    Brazilian National Academy of Medicine, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Published:August 13, 2009DOI:



      In the last decade, controversy has arisen regarding the influence of fat harvesting, processing and injection techniques on adipose tissue graft. The aim of this study is to compare the influence of three widely used fat processing techniques in plastic surgery on the viability and number of adipocytes and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) of aspirated fat.


      A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted in 20 adult healthy female patients in whom material obtained by liposuction of the lower abdomen was separated and processed by decantation, washing or centrifugation. The morphology and quantity of adipocytes were determined by histological analysis. The viability and number of MSCs in the middle layer of each lipoaspirate and the pellet derived from centrifuged samples were obtained by multi-colour flow cytometry.


      Cell count per high-powered field of intact nucleated adipocytes was significantly greater in decanted lipoaspirates, whereas centrifuged samples showed a greater majority of altered adipocytes. MSC concentration was significantly higher in washed lipoaspirates compared to decanted and centrifuged samples. However, the pellet collected at the bottom of the centrifuged samples showed the highest concentration of MSCs.


      Based on the theory of cell survival stating the importance of adipocytes' integrity for graft survival and the theory claiming the importance of regenerative MSCs in the maintenance and stabilisation of fat transplant, washing may turn out to be the best processing technique for adipose tissue graft take. While eliminating most contaminants during the process, it preserved and maintained the quantity, integrity and viability of the most important components of aspirated adipose tissue.


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