Does stromal vascular fraction (SVF) affect the retention of grafted fat in patients who have undergone breast augmentation by cell-assisted lipotransfer (CAL)?

Noting that CAL may achieve a more natural breast contour than silicone implants and avoid certain complications associated with implants, the authors write that few studies of CAL have looked at long-term volume changes, effects on breast parenchymal tissue and the effect of SVF on graft survival.

In an effort to supplement CAL literature researchers — from CHA University School of Medicine and Yonsei University College of Medicine, South Korea — undertook a one-year prospective study of five patients who underwent CAL, with the objective of determining changes in breast volume, effects on parenchymal tissue and the impact of SVF on graft survival.

Following preoperative radiologic examination, the five patients underwent primary augmentation mammaplasty by CAL to both breasts. SVF was characterized, and changes in breast volume were determined from MRI readings at three months and one year post-op.

Scans were reviewed for breast changes by a breast-imaging specialist. Additionally, an average of 23% of grafted fat in volume was harvested from each patient to isolate SVF cells.

The authors found that one year after CAL, breast volume decreased to 47% of initial post-op volume. The only parenchymal change was small oil cysts. There was no correlation found in the ratio of SVF cell count to grafted fat volume.

Differences in patterns of breast-volume decrease were observed between older women who had breastfed and younger women who had not.

“The addition of SVF cells did not appear to improve the retention of grafted fat in these patients,” the authors write. “Skin tension may be an important factor influencing the absorption pattern of grafted fat.”

The study was published in the February 2016 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.