Background: Despite a perceived interest in autologous fat transfer, there is no consensus as to the best technique or the level of success. The purpose of the present study was to determine the national trends in techniques for harvest, preparation, and application of autologous fat, as well as the success perceived by practitioners.
Methods: Comprehensive surveys were sent to 650 randomly selected members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The survey was aimed at determining whether autologous fat transfer is a commonly performed procedure and, if so, the specific methods involved and the subjective perception of short- and long-term results.
Results: The results of the national consensus survey from 508 surgeons (78 percent return rate) showed the following: (1) autologous fat transfer is a relatively common procedure (57 percent perform >10 annually), but few perform it in high volume (only 23 percent perform >30 annually); (2) techniques for harvest, preparation, and injection rarely deviate from methods discussed in the literature (microcannula, 54 percent; centrifugation, 75 percent; injection in nasolabial fold > lips > nasojugal folds); (3) most physicians believe that at least some graft survival is clinically evident (93 percent); and (4) patients are pleased with the short-term results (good to excellent, 84 percent), despite a lower rate of long-term patient satisfaction (fair to good, 80 percent).
Conclusion: Currently, plastic surgeons across the country report a uniformity of autologous fat grafting techniques with acceptable patient satisfaction.