Amputation-site soft-tissue restoration using adipose stem cell therapy

Debra A. Bourne, R. Dallin Thomas, Jacqueline Bliley, Gretchen Haas, Aaron Wyse, Albert Donnenberg, Vera S. Donnenberg, Ian Chow, Rory Cooper, Sydney Coleman, Kacey Marra, Paul F. Pasquina, J. Peter Rubin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Soft-tissue deficits in amputation stumps can lead to significant pain and disability. An emerging treatment option is stem cell-enriched fat grafting. This is the first study assessing the potential for this treatment modality in lower extremity amputation sites. In this prospective cohort study, five injured military personnel suffering from pain and limited function at amputation sites were recruited. Fat grafting enriched with stromal vascular fraction was performed at amputation sites to provide additional subcutaneous tissue padding over bony structures. Outcomes measures included complications, demographic data, physical examination, cellular subpopulations, cell viability, graft volume retention, pain, Lower Extremity Functional Scale, Functional Mobility Assessment, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, and rates of depression. Follow-up was 2 years. There were no significant complications. Volume retention was 61.5 ± 24.0 percent. Overall cell viability of the stromal vascular fraction was significantly correlated with volume retention (p = 0.016). There was no significant correlation between percentage of adipose-derived stem cells or number of cells in the stromal vascular fraction and volume retention. There was a nonsignificant trend toward improvement in pain scores (3.0 ± 2.5 to 1.2 ± 1.6; p = 0.180 at 2 years). There were no significant changes in disability indexes. Results from this pilot study demonstrate that stromal vascular fraction-enriched fat grafting is a safe, novel modality for the treatment of symptomatic soft-tissue defects in traumatic lower extremity amputations. Volume retention can be anticipated at slightly over 60 percent. Further studies are needed to assess efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1352
Number of pages4
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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