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Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer for Facial Lipoatrophy: Efficacy of Clinical Use of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kotaro Yoshimura, MD, Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Tokyo School of Medicine; 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND Lipoinjection is a promising treatment, but its efficacy in recontouring facial lipoatrophy remains to be established.

OBJECTIVE The objective was to evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of lipoinjection and supplementation of adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ASCs) to adipose grafts.

METHODS To overcome drawbacks of autologous lipoinjection, we have developed a novel strategy called cell-assisted lipotransfer (CAL). In CAL, stromal vascular fraction containing ASCs was freshly isolated from half of an aspirated fat sample and attached to the other half of aspirated fat sample with the fat acting as a scaffold. This process converts relatively ASC-poor aspirated fat into ASC-rich fat. We performed conventional lipoinjection (non-CAL; n=3) or CAL (n=3) on six patients with facial lipoatrophy due to lupus profundus or Parry-Romberg syndrome.

RESULTS All patients obtained improvement in facial contour, but the CAL group had a better clinical improvement score than did the non-CAL patients, although the difference did not reach statistical significance (p=.11). Adipose necrosis was found in one non-CAL case who took perioperative oral corticosteroids.

CONCLUSION Our results suggest that CAL is both effective and safe and potentially superior to conventional lipoinjection for facial recontouring.