BACKGROUND. The injection of autologous free fat obtained by suction-assisted lipectomy for the correction of soft tissue defects is a common procedure in plastic surgery. However, unpredictable partial absorption of the injected fat often necessitates repeated procedures. OBJECTIVE. To examine the role of frozen storage as a means of preserving the fat obtained by suction-assisted lipectomy for repeated procedures. METHODS. Human adipose tissue obtained by suction-assisted lipectomy was stored in a domestic refrigerator at -18°C for 2 weeks. After thawing, the fat was injected into nude mice. In the control group, the fat was injected immediately after the harvesting procedure. Grafts were dissected out and compared 15 weeks postinjection. RESULTS. Injected fat survived in both study and control groups. No significant differences were found between fat graft weight and volume, or in any of the histologic parameters examined. CONCLUSION. Fat obtained by suction-assisted lipectomy may be preserved for future use by freezing.
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