Plastic Surgery Research Council

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Improved Fat Graft Retention with Nanofiber-Hydrogel Tissue Scaffold in an In-Vivo Murine Model
Deepa Bhat, MD1, Bart Kachniarz, MD MBA2, Michelle Seu, BS2, Xiaowei Li, PhD2, Russell Martin, PhD2, Brian Cho, MD2, Sashank Reddy, MD PhD2, Hai Quan Mao, PhD2, Justin Sacks, MD MBA2.
1Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA, 2Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

PURPOSE: Autologous fat grafting is an important adjunct to soft-tissue reconstruction. However, it is associated with multiple complications including poor volume retention. There currently exist no tissue scaffold materials that aid in human fat graft retention. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that our novel nanofiber-hydrogel composite serves as a tissue scaffold that improves fat graft retention and promotes enhanced graft vascularization.
METHODS: The following groups were studied: 100% lipoaspirate, 50% lipoaspirate/50% composite, 50% lipoaspirate/50% hydrogel, 75% lipoaspirate/25% composite, and 100% composite (n=15 per group). 500uL of material was subcutaneously injected into both flanks of Foxn1nu NU/J male mice. Mice were imaged using MRI at post-operative day (POD) 2, 28, 56, and 84 to assess graft volume. Grafts were explanted on days 7, 28, and 84. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed on explanted grafts to evaluate vascularization. Microfilament perfusion was performed on mice and imaged via computed-tomographic scans to further assess microvasculature of grafts.
RESULTS: Composite-containing groups demonstrated the highest volume retention on POD84 (Figure 1). On IHC, groups containing the nanofiber-hydrogel composite demonstrated superior rates of angiogenesis and blood vessel ingrowth into the graft as compared to other groups (Figure 1). Results of microfilament perfusion show superior vascularity of composite-containing grafts.
CONCLUSION: Both groups containing lipoaspirate/composite exhibited superior volume retention at POD 84 as well as higher degrees of angiogenesis compared to solely lipoaspirate or lipoaspirate/hydrogel combination. This has important clinical implications, as improved fat graft retention would save patients the morbidity of undergoing multiple surgical procedures.


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