Supplementation of Facial Fat Grafting to Increase Volume Retention: A Systematic Review

Aesthet Surg J. 2022 Dec 14;42(12):NP711-NP727. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjac122.


Background: For decades, facial fat grafting has been used in clinical practice for volume restoration. The main challenge of this technique is variable volume retention. The addition of supplements to augment fat grafts and increase volume retention has been reported in recent years.

Objectives: The aim of this systematic review was to investigate which supplements increase volume retention in facial fat grafting as assessed by volumetric outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Methods: Embase, Medline, Ovid, Web of Science Core Collection, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Google Scholar were searched up to November 30, 2020. Only studies assessing volume after facial fat grafting with supplementation in human subjects were included. Outcomes of interest were volume or patient satisfaction. The quality of the studies was assessed with the Effective Public Health Practice Project tool.

Results: After duplicates were removed 3724 studies were screened by title and abstract. After reading 95 full-text articles, 27 studies were eligible and included for comparison. Supplementation comprised of platelet-rich plasma, platelet-rich fibrin, adipose tissue-derived stromal cells or bone marrow-derived stromal cells, cellular or tissue stromal vascular fraction, or nanofat. In 13 out of 22 studies the supplemented group showed improved volumetric retention and 5 out of 16 studies showed greater satisfaction. The scientific quality of the studies was rated as weak for 20 of 27 studies, moderate for 6 of 27 studies, and strong for 1 study.

Conclusions: It remains unclear if additives contribute to facial fat graft retention and there is a need to standardize methodology.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue* / transplantation
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Face / surgery
  • Graft Survival*
  • Humans
  • Stromal Cells / transplantation