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January 1991

What Happens to Transplanted Fat?

Author Affiliations

Denver, Colo

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(1):24-25. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870130030010

Ever since the first use of human autotransplanted fat was described in 1889, surgeons and basic scientists alike have tried to understand whether the transposed fat survives or is merely replaced with another type of tissue. Understanding how transplanted fat survives requires a knowledge of the complex biochemistry and physiology of fat cells and the hormones that affect them. A recent review of free fat grafting1 has nicely summarized our understanding of fat survival theories and our present understanding of the preadipocyte, those adipocyte precursors that differentiate into mature fat cells.

In the first 4 days after free fat transplantation, there is a host inflammatory response characterized by infiltration of polymorphonuclear cells, plasma cells, lymphocytes, and eosinophils. On the fourth day, anastomoses occur between the graft vessels and the host red blood supply. After 1 to 2 weeks, two types of cells are seen: the proliferating adipose cells of the