Patient FAQ: Adipose Tissue/Concentrated Adipose Tissue

What is adipose tissue?

Adipose tissue, or fat, is a medical term for loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes (cells that store fat). Its main role is to store energy, although it also cushions and insulates the body.

What is concentrated adipose tissue?

Concentrated adipose tissue is created when fat is removed (aspirated) from your own body and spun in a centrifuge to remove waste and create a graft rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). This autologous (meaning “from your own body”) graft is ready to be injected into the application site.

What are the benefits of adipose and concentrated adipose tissue?

Adipose tissue contains a significant concentration of MSCs and is used as an MSC-rich scaffold that may aid in tissue regeneration.45,46

When used as a filler, adipose tissue is an autologous biologic. Because the tissue comes from your own body, using concentrated adipose tissue reduces the risk of infection or immune reaction that can be associated with synthetic fillers and other products.

What is concentrated adipose tissue used to treat?  

There is a wide range of treatment applications for concentrated adipose tissue, including:

  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Arthroscopic surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • General surgery
  • Gynecological surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Urological surgery

How could concentrated adipose tissue be used clinically?

For aesthetic procedures, a physician injects concentrated adipose tissue as a filler, primarily in the face and hands, to add volume. For orthopedic procedures, physicians may use concentrated adipose tissue as a stem-cell-rich scaffold to aid in tissue regeneration.  

What is the procedure like?

The collection of adipose tissue is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in your physician’s office using local anesthesia. However, if concentrated adipose tissue is to be used as part of a surgical treatment, the adipose tissue will be collected and prepared at the time of your surgery.

Adipose tissue collection and preparation includes several key steps:

  • Your clinician begins by cleaning, draping and anesthetizing the area where the adipose tissue will be drawn from—usually the lower abdomen.
  • After the area is numb, a syringe is used to gently aspirate a small volume of fat tissue. Most commonly, 20 mL to 60 mL is needed.
  • The adipose tissue from the syringe is placed into a medical device designed to concentrate the collection while you wait.
  • The area of your body where the concentrated adipose tissue is needed is anesthetized, and the concentrated adipose tissue is delivered. 

Unless you are undergoing surgery, this is generally an outpatient procedure.

Is the use of concentrated adipose tissue safe? 

The use of concentrated adipose tissue is a safe, clinically accepted procedure.
*This device should be used with extreme caution in patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, circulatory diseases or obesity.

How can I find a physician who treats patients with concentrated adipose tissue? 

Click here to find a physician who offers concentrated adipose tissue treatments. 

Is the procedure covered by insurance?

Please consult your insurance company to verify coverage. Every payer has different guidelines for reimbursement, but generally PRP procedures are not reimbursed. There is reimbursement for some of the expenses associated with concentrated bone marrow  and concentrated adipose tissue procedures, but the physician or hospital must follow applicable coding and reimbursement guidelines from the payer. This means that some or all of the costs associated with the procedures using these autografts may need to be covered by the patient at the time of treatment.