A new randomized, controlled trial has demonstrated beneficial effects of administering adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction (ADSVF) into the hands of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).

The trial, published in Plos One, found that ADSVF administration reduced pain and digital ulceration in the treated patients.

“The hand is affected in 47 to 97% of SSc cases,” the authors wrote. “We designed this controlled clinical trial with the hypothesis that the administration of ADSVF plus fat micrografts and conventional medical treatment will be a safe and reproducible technique to improve clinical manifestations and deformities in the hands of patients SSc better than only medical treatment.”

The research team conducted an open-label, single center, randomized controlled trial on 20 patients with SSc in Mexico City. The patients were randomized 1:1 into the control or treatment groups, and an ADSVF mix with micrografts was surgically administered into the most affected hand of the patients in the treatment group. In the control group, standard medical treatment and rehabilitation continued.

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Rheumatologic, demographic, and serological data were collected along with variables on pain, quality of life, complications, and disease severity.

The results at 6 months of therapy showed that administration of the ADSVF mix significantly improved digital ulcer healing and reduced pain in the treatment group. In the control group, standard therapy only reduced Raynaud’s phenomenon and improved the quality of the skin on the hands.

In addition to the reduced pain and number of ulcers in the treatment group, the patients also demonstrated clinically greater volume, faster capillary filling, and warmer temperatures than the other hand or the hands of the control group.

The team concluded that ADSVF administration may represent a significantly useful tool for rheumatologists and surgeons before or during hand treatment in patients with SSc.


Iglesias M, Torre-Villalvazo I, Butrón-Gandarillas P, et al. Adipose derived stromal vascular fraction and fat graft for treating the hands of patients with systemic sclerosis. A randomized clinical trial. Plos One. Published online August 14, 2023. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0289594