UMMS Affiliation

Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Animal Experimentation and Research | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Plastic Surgery | Surgery


As the popularity of fat grafting research increases, animal models are being used as the source of pre-clinical experimental information for discovery and to enhance techniques. To date, animal models used in this research have not been compared to provide a standardized model. We analyzed publications from 1968-2015 to compare published accounts of animal models in fat grafting research. Data collected included: species used, graft characteristics (donor tissue, recipient area, amount injected, injection technique), time of sacrifice and quantification methods. Mice were most commonly used (56% of studies), with the "athymic nude" strain utilized most frequently (44%). Autologous fat was the most common source of grafted tissue (52%). Subcutaneous dorsum was the most common recipient site (51%). On average, 0.80+/-0.60 mL of fat was grafted. A single bolus technique was used in 57% of studies. Fat volume assessment was typically completed at the end of the study, occurring at less than 1 week to one year. Graft volume was quantified by weight (63%), usually in conjunction with another analysis. The results demonstrate the current heterogeneity of animal models in this research. We propose that the research community reach a consensus to allow better comparison of techniques and results. One example is the model used in our laboratory and others; this model is described in detail. Eventually, larger animal models may better translate to the human condition but, given increased financial costs and animal facility capability, should be explored when data obtained from small animal studies is exhausted or inconclusive.


Adipose tissue, Fat grafting, Models, animal, Research, Research design

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © 2017 Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Arch Plast Surg. 2017 Sep;44(5):361-369. doi: 10.5999/aps.2017.44.5.361. Epub 2017 Sep 15. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of plastic surgery

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License