Research Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 10, P1403-1409, October 2012

Vascularised fat flaps lose 44% of their weight 24 weeks after transplantation



      Microsurgical transfer of the vascularised fat flaps has become a well-established method for soft-tissue augmentation because it has been believed to provide the restoration of symmetry without atrophy. Yet little has been reported on the long-term fate of the vascularised fat flaps. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the postoperative changes that occur in the vascularised fat flaps after transplantation.


      The superficial epigastric fat flaps based on the superficial inferior epigastric vessels in rats were used for this study. Postoperative changes were analysed by comparing pre- and postoperative weight, histological examination and fluorescent angiography.


      The weight of vascularised fat flaps was 56 ± 18% of the original weight (corrected for body weight gain) 24 weeks after transplantation. In histological examinations, the vascularised fat flaps had almost normal appearances throughout the experimental period. Apoptosis of adipocytes was detected in the vascularised fat flaps using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated deoxy-uridine triphosphate (dUTP)-biotin nick end-labelling (TUNEL) method during the first 4 weeks after transplantation.


      The vascularised fat flaps reduced in weight by about 44% over a period of 24 weeks after transplantation. Apoptosis may partly explain the weight loss.


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