, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 807–817 | Cite as

Wet milling of large quantities of human excision adipose tissue for the isolation of stromal vascular fraction cells

  • Nadia Menzi
  • Rik Osinga
  • Atanas Todorov
  • Dirk Johannes Schaefer
  • Ivan MartinEmail author
  • Arnaud Scherberich


The isolation of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells from excised human adipose tissue, for clinical or research purposes, implies the tedious and time consuming process of manual mincing prior to enzymatic digestion. Since no efficient alternative technique to this current standard procedure has been proposed so far, the aim of this study was to test a milling procedure, using two simple, inexpensive and commercially available manual meat grinders, to process large amounts of adipose tissue. The procedure was assessed on adipose tissue resections from seven human donors and compared to manual mincing with scalpels. The processed adipose tissues were digested and the resulting SVF cells compared in terms of number, clonogenicity and differentiation capacity. After 10 min of processing, either device tested yielded on average sixfold more processed material for subsequent cell isolation than manual mincing. The isolation yield of SVF cells (isolated cells per ml of adipose tissue), their viability, phenotype, clonogenicity and osteogenic/adipogenic differentiation capacity, tested by production of mineralized matrix and lipid vacuoles, respectively, were comparable. This new method is practical and inexpensive and represents an efficient alternative to the current standard for large scale adipose tissue resection processing. A device based on the milling principle could be embedded within a streamlined system for isolation and clinical use of SVF cells from adipose tissue excision.


Adipose tissue derived stem cells Mesenchymal stem cells Stromal vascular fraction Mechanical device Isolation Human adipose tissue 



This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF Grant No. 310030-138519, to A.S. and I.M.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the local ethical committee (Ethikkommission beider Basel [EKBB], Ref. 78/07 extended in 2009). All seven donors gave written informed consent.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 9888 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MP4 14188 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital BaselUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, Aesthetic and Hand SurgeryUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of BaselAllschwilSwitzerland

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