Background: Although fat grafting can address many soft-tissue deficits, results remain inconsistent. In this study, the authors compared physical properties of fat following injection using an automated, low-shear device or the modified Coleman technique.
Methods: Lipoaspirate was obtained from nine patients and processed for injection using either a modified Coleman technique or an automated, low-shear device. Fat was passed through a 2-mm cannula and compared with minimally processed fat. A rheometer was used to measure the storage modulus and shear rate at which tissues began to lose their solid-like properties. Viscosity was also measured, and gross properties of treatment groups were evaluated qualitatively with a glass slide test.
Results: Fat injected through an automated, low-shear device closely matched physical properties of minimally processed fat. The storage modulus (G') of fat for the device group was greater than for the modified Coleman group, and the onset of breakdown was delayed. Similarly, viscosity measurement of fat from the automated device closely matched minimally processed fat and was greater than that of othe modified Coleman group.
Conclusions: The physical properties of lipoaspirate processed using an automated, low-shear device with a 2-mm cannula preserved the intactness of fat more than the modified Coleman technique. The authors' rheologic data demonstrate less damage using an automated device compared with the modified Coleman technique and potentially support its use for improved fat graft integrity.