BIOLOGY – An Ongoing Series – Part 3
What Is Adipose Tissue?
Adipose tissue, or fat, is an anatomical term for loose connective tissue composed of fat cells (adipocytes). Its main role is to store energy in the form of fat; it also cushions and insulates your body.
Adipose tissue provides a 3-D scaffold rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are stem cells found throughout the body at all stages of development and are believed to be responsible for growth, wound healing and replacing cells that are lost through the daily wear and tear because this material must be aborbed back into the body.
Adipose tissue is the body’s richest source of MSCs and provides two distinct advantages over other sources of stem cells:
- Adipose-derived MSCs can be easily harvested by liposuction under local anesthesia.
- It is possible to acquire a large number of cells from any type of fat tissue in the body.45,46
What Is a Fat-Grafting Procedure?
A fat-grafting procedure, or autologous (obtained from your own body) fat transplant, transfers tissue from areas in which you have excess fat—such as the thighs or belly—and injects it into areas that may be lacking in volume or in need of repair.
The quality of adipose graft material is an important consideration prior to any fat-graft procedure. One of the drawbacks of traditional fat-grafting procedures is the loss of graft volume post-transplant. The presence of excess fluid, oils and lipids contributes to graft volume loss, because this fluid must be resorbed by the body. Studies indicate that highly refined graft material may result in improved clinical outcomes.
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