The trochanteric fat pad

  • P. Panettiere University of Bologna, Italy.
  • D. Accorsi University of Bologna, Italy.
  • L. Marchetti University of Bologna, Italy.
  • A.M. Minicozzi University of Verona, Italy.
  • G. Orsini Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy.
  • P. Bernardi University of Verona, Italy.
  • D. Benati University of Verona, Italy.
  • G. Conti University of Verona, Italy.
  • A. Sbarbati | University of Verona, Italy.


Technological developments based on the use of autologous white adipose tissue (WAT) attracted attention to minor fat depots as possible sources of adipose tissue. In plastic surgery, the trochanteric fatty pad is one of the most used WAT depots for its location and organoleptic characteristics that make it particularly suitable for reconstructive procedures. Despite its wide use in clinic, the structure of this depot has never been studied in detail and it is not known if structural differences exist among trochanteric fat and other subcutaneous WAT depots. The present study was performed on trochanteric fat pad with the aim to clarify the morphology of its adipocytes, stroma and microcirculation, with particular reference to the stem niches. Histological and ultrastructural studies showed that the main peculiar feature of the trochanteric fat concerns its stromal component, which appears less dense than in the other subcutaneous WATs studied. The intra-parenchymal collagen stroma is poor and the extracellular compartment shows large spaces, filled with electron-light material, in which isolated collagen bundles are present. The adipocytes are wrapped in weak and easily detachable collagen baskets. These connective sheaths are very thin compared to the sheaths in other subcutaneous WAT depots. The capillaries are covered by large, long and thin elements surrounded by an external lamina; these perivascular cells are poor in organelles and mainly contain poly-ribosomes. In conclusion, when compared to other WAT deposits, the trochanteric fatty pad shows structural peculiarities in its stroma and microcirculation suggesting a high regenerative potential. Resistance, dissociability, microvascular weft and high regenerative potential make the trochanteric fatty pad a privileged source for harvesting in autologous WAT-based regenerative procedures.


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Author Biographies

P. Panettiere, University of Bologna
Dipartimento di Scienze Chirurgiche Specialistiche ed Anestesiologiche
D. Accorsi, University of Bologna
Dipartimento di Scienze Chirurgiche Specialistiche ed Anestesiologiche
A.M. Minicozzi, University of Verona
First Division of General Surgery
G. Orsini, Polytechnic University of Marche
Department of Clinical Sciences and Stomatology
P. Bernardi, University of Verona
Human Anatomy and Histology Section
D. Benati, University of Verona
Human Anatomy and Histology Section
G. Conti, University of Verona
Human Anatomy and Histology Section
A. Sbarbati, University of Verona
Human Anatomy and Histology Section
Original Papers
Fat transplantation, liposuction, adipose stem cells, adipocyte
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How to Cite
Panettiere, P., Accorsi, D., Marchetti, L., Minicozzi, A., Orsini, G., Bernardi, P., Benati, D., Conti, G., & Sbarbati, A. (2011). The trochanteric fat pad. European Journal of Histochemistry, 55(2), e16.