Vacuum-Assisted Adipose Tissue Suction Technique (VAST) to Optimize Fat Harvesting

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Nowadays, fat grafting is a widespread technique that is commonly used in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The classical fat-harvesting method in which a 10-cc syringe and a 3.0-mm cannula are used, may be time-consuming when a large quantity of adipose tissue is required. We describe a novel technique to optimize fat harvesting, the vacuum-assisted adipose tissue suction technique (VAST), in which disposable sterile components are used. This study compares the adipose tissue harvesting speed and the adipocyte volume between the VAST and the 10-cc-syringe technique.


From May 2010 to May 2012, a total of 32 patients who had structural fat grafting for breast reconstruction were enrolled in this prospective study. In 16 patients (control group) fat was harvested by the classical 10-cc-syringe technique, and in the other 16 patients (VAST group) fat was harvested by the VAST. Adipose tissue was harvested from the abdomen area in all patients. The volume of harvested adipose tissue was noted every minute during the operative procedure. The operative harvesting speed was calculated for each patient after 5 min. The volume harvested in 5 min was centrifuged, and the remaining adipocyte volume was noted after centrifugation. The operative harvesting speed and the remaining adipocyte rate were compared in both groups.


The average volume of harvested adipose tissue was 18.1 ml in the control group and 156.2 ml in the VAST group (p < 0.001). The average harvesting speed was 3.6 ml/min in the control group using a 10-cc syringe and 31.2 ml/min in the VAST group (p < 0.001). The average remaining adipocyte volume, after centrifugation, was 13.5 ml in the control group, and 118.2 ml in the VAST group (p < 0.001). The average remaining adipocyte rate, after centrifugation, was 74.3 % in the control group and 75.4 % in the VAST group (p = 0.27).


Adipose tissue harvesting can be optimized safely by using the VAST before structural fat grafting. Its quickness, low cost, and efficiency make us choose this method in breast reconstruction when a significant volume of adipocytes is required.

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The authors thank very much Claire Duflos, MD, from the Department of Biostatistics of Montpellier University Hospital for the methodology and the statistical analysis of data.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Author information

Correspondence to Benoit Ayestaray.

Electronic supplementary material

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Video: Intraoperative video which demonstrates the vacuum-assisted adipose tissue suction technique. The VAST enables a fast and safe adipose tissue harvesting into a 600-ml bottle of a high-vacuum drainage system. The adipose tissue is easily harvested into a 10-cc syringe by simple aspiration. (WMV 21247 kb)

Video: Intraoperative video which demonstrates the vacuum-assisted adipose tissue suction technique. The VAST enables a fast and safe adipose tissue harvesting into a 600-ml bottle of a high-vacuum drainage system. The adipose tissue is easily harvested into a 10-cc syringe by simple aspiration. (WMV 21247 kb)

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Ayestaray, B., Georgescu, D., Baron, M. et al. Vacuum-Assisted Adipose Tissue Suction Technique (VAST) to Optimize Fat Harvesting. Aesth Plast Surg 37, 816–821 (2013).

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  • Adipose tissue
  • Fat grafting
  • Fat harvesting
  • Adipocytes
  • Negative pressure
  • Breast reconstruction