Fat injections: Fresh versus frozen

November 30, 2011

Fat injections: Fresh versus frozen
Fat injections: Fresh versus frozen

A Florida plastic surgeon's opening of a "fat bank" in which his patients can store fat to use as a filler in later procedures has some within the medical community debating whether previously frozen fat works as well as freshly harvested fat.

"We put the patient to sleep once. Do the [liposuction]. Get the fat out once and have as much as we need for later injections," the plastic surgeon told the Orlando Sentinel.

Once it is removed, the fat is drained and cleaned before being frozen at a temperature of minus 192 degrees Celsius. It's stored in a fat storage facility dubbed "The Liquid Gold Center." If it is needed to serve as a filler in a surgery, it is defrosted first and then injected.

But some surgeons are questioning whether previously frozen fat is as safe and effective as fresh fat.

"I think the argument that you can get equivalent results from frozen fat compared to fresh fat, I think that's a difficult argument to make with the science," a separate Florida-based plastic surgeon told WPBF News. "I think the verdict is still out as to the optimum way to preserve the fat, and certainly it's well understood that fresh fat tends to retain viability of the transferred fat cells and stem cells probably better than when the fat has been processed through a cryogenic preservation freezing process, then thawed again."

Individuals are encouraged to speak with a licensed, board-certified plastic surgeon to determine whether fresh or frozen fat is best for them.

According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), fat is a safe, long-lasting and natural-appearing filler that can be used to replace volume in areas where it is diminished. It is commonly used for areas of the body including the face, lips and hands.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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