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Background: Fat grafting is a commonly performed procedure not only for augmenting the soft tissue but also for regeneration in esthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

However, unpredictable fat survival rate because of high resorption rate is remained as the main problem. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of pretreatment of the recipient site to the fat survival using fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser.

Methods: The rats were divided to 2 groups. Inguinal fat pads of rats were transplanted to the dorsum without pretreatment in the control group. The study group was preconditioned by fractional CO2 laser to the recipient site 1 week before fat graft.

The pulse energy was set to 100 mJ. Transplanted fat tissues were harvested at postoperative days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 28 and were analyzed morphologically, histologically, and immunohistochemically.

Results: Weight and volume in the control group was more decreased than in the study group at postoperative day 28. Histological evaluation showed less inflammation, less fibrosis, less vacuolization, and better integrity of adipocytes. Immunohistologically, microvessel density in the study group was higher than in the control group (P < 0.05) at postoperative day 1. Survival rate in the study group was higher than in the control group at postoperative days 1, 3, 7, and 14 (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Pretreatment of recipient site using fractional CO2 laser helped vascularization in the early stage in fat graft and solved the ischemic condition, so it improved fat survival rate.

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