A novel method of spontaneous generation of new adipose tissue from an existing fat flap is described. A defined volume of fat flap based on the superficial inferior epigastric vascular pedicle in the rat was elevated and inset into a hollow plastic chamber implanted subcutaneously in the groin of the rat. The chamber walls were either perforated or solid and the chambers either contained poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) sponge matrix or not. The contents were analyzed after being in situ for 6 weeks. The total volume of the flap tissue in all groups except the control groups, where the flap was not inserted into the chambers, increased significantly, especially in the perforated chambers (0.08 +/- 0.007 mL baseline compared to 1.2 +/- 0.08 mL in the intact ones). Volume analysis of individual component tissues within the flaps revealed that the adipocyte volume increased and was at a maximum in the chambers without PLGA, where it expanded from 0.04 +/- 0.003 mL at insertion to 0.5 +/- 0.08 mL (1250% increase) in the perforated chambers and to 0.16 +/- 0.03 mL (400% increase) in the intact chambers. Addition of PLGA scaffolds resulted in less fat growth. Histomorphometric analysis rather than simple hypertrophy documented an increased number of adipocytes. The new tissue was highly vascularized and no fat necrosis or atypical changes were observed.