Background: Fat grafting is a common procedure in plastic surgery but associated with unpredictable graft retention. Adipose tissue (AT) "product" quality is affected by the methods used for harvest, processing and transfer, which vary widely amongst surgeons. Currently, there is no method available to accurately assess the quality of AT. Objectives: In this study, we present a novel method for the assessment of AT product quality through direct measurements of oxygen consumption rate (OCR). OCR has exhibited potential in predicting outcomes following pancreatic islet transplant. Our study aim was to reapportion existing technology for its use with AT preparations and to confirm that these measurements are feasible. Methods: OCR was successfully measured for en bloc and postprocessed AT using a stirred microchamber system. OCR was then normalized to DNA content (OCR/DNA), which represents the AT product quality. Results: Mean (±SE) OCR/DNA values for fresh en bloc and post-processed AT were 149.8 (± 9.1) and 61.1 (± 6.1) nmol/min/mg DNA, respectively. These preliminary data suggest that: (1) OCR and OCR/DNA measurements of AT harvested using conventional protocol are feasible; and (2) standard AT processing results in a decrease in overall AT product quality. Conclusions: OCR measurements of AT using existing technology can be done and enables accurate, real-time, quantitative assessment of the quality of AT product prior to transfer. The availability and further validation of this type of assay could enable optimization of fat grafting protocol by providing a tool for the more detailed study of procedural variables that affect AT product quality.
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© 2017 The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Inc.