Objective: To evaluate changes in dermal characteristics with subdermal fat grafting of cutaneous scars.
Design: Prospective cohort.
Methods: Fourteen patients with various scar types were treated with subdermal fat grafting over 30 months. Dermal elasticity, vascularity, pigmentation, patient perception and satisfaction, and observer assessment of scar characteristics were evaluated preoperatively and 1 year after treatment with validated objective and subjective measures.
Results: Significant improvements were observed in dermal elasticity, patient and observer perception of scar thickness, patient perception of stiffness, and observer perception of relief and pliability (P < 0.05). A trend toward significance was seen in observer assessment of height as evaluated by the Vancouver Scar Scale (P < 0.1). No significant differences were seen in quantitatively and qualitatively measured vascularity and pigmentation (P > 0.1). No significant difference in pain, pruritus, and irregularity were reported (P > 0.1).
Conclusion: Although fat grafting represents a subdermal process, it appears to improve certain quantitative and qualitative dermal characteristics. Fat grafting does not appear to affect skin color, vascularity, or patient symptoms.