ALMI: A Fat Transfer Procedure For A Natural Look

January 12, 2021

Looking for a procedure that can plump lips and cheeks, fill in facial grooves, or be used as part of a breast enhancement to achieve a soft, natural look?

ALMI fat transfer has been used for all of these indications and more. 

What Is ALMI?

ALMI  stands for Autologous Lipocyte Micronized Fat Injection. You might also hear it referred to as “fat transfer”, “fat injection”, “fat grafting”, or “lipomodelling”.

All of these terms refer to a procedure where a plastic surgeon removes fat from one area of the patient’s body (such as the thighs, hips, or abdomen), processes it, and injects it into other areas of the patient’s body.

The fat transfer technique was originally developed over a century ago but is still in use to this day. It has been used for both cosmetic reasons and reconstruction. It is considered to be a very safe and effective way to achieve high-quality results.


The Reported Benefits of Fat Transfer

There are many reported benefits of using autologous fat to reshape the body. Some of these include:

  • Much smaller risk of an allergy or reaction since your own fat cells are used
  • Can be combined with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), growth factors, or other ingredients
  • Boosts elastin and collagen
  • Helps restore skin thickness
  • Helps increase moisture
  • Adds volume 
  • Helps rejuvenate skin in the treatment area


What To Expect During The Fat Transfer Procedure

Removing the Fat

The necessary fat for the procedure is obtained by performing a small liposuction procedure. A thin tube called a cannula is introduced under the skin through one or more small incisions. This is usually done on the inner thighs or abdomen. Then the needed amount of fat is suctioned out.

If you are having PRP added to the procedure, you will also have a small amount of blood drawn from your arm. This will be processed to separate out the blood plasma for re-injection.

Preparing the Fat

The suctioned fat is then spun in a centrifuge, micronized, and filtered. This removes impurities and liquefies the fat tissue. The fat cells are left intact to provide volume for the treated area. Growth factors and other rejuvenating components may also be added.

This results in a pure, liquid fatty tissue that is ready for injection into the treatment area. 

Injecting the Fat

Minute amounts of fat are then injected into the tissues of the treatment area. This ensures that the transplanted fat is surrounded by and remains in contact with healthy tissue. These healthy tissues will supply the injected fat cells with the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive.

Your surgeon will likely inject more fat in the area than is needed because 25-30% of the transplanted fat cells can be expected to not survive the procedure. So don’t worry if the area appears a little fuller than you were expecting, this will settle down during the recovery process.

Recovery

The treated areas will be swollen after the procedure. This is especially true if you had your lips injected. You will want to use a cold pack and possibly compression (if directed) on the affected area.

The swelling will gradually increase for the first three days and then it should begin to gradually diminish. After about a week to ten days, most patients are able to resume their normal social activities.

Bruising may have developed and this might take longer to resolve than the swelling. Any bruising on the face that is still in the process of fading at this point can likely be covered up with make-up.

You should follow up with the surgeon five to seven days after the procedure.

Results

About three weeks after the initial follow up visit, you should have a second visit. By this time, the majority of the swelling and bruising should be gone. The treated area may still look more exaggerated than the final result.

After about three months post-procedure, your body will have reabsorbed some of the fat that was injected (from 20-50%) and the final look can be assessed. You and your surgeon can compare before and after photos and schedule a second session if you still seek more volume.


How Long Will The Results Last

Autologous fat transfer is considered a semi-permanent procedure. The results peak several months after the initial treatment and can last up to about two years.

The longevity of your results will be affected by factors such as weight loss or gain over time.


Where On the Body Can You Use Fat Injection?

Fat transfers can be used to cosmetically enhance several different parts of the body. They can also be used to smooth irregularities such as those resulting from poorly performed liposuction or injuries.

Face

Fat transfer is frequently used for the face. It can help fill out the cheeks, lips, grooves running from the nose or mouth, or other lines on the face. It can also be used to correct and restore volume defects due to injuries, tumors, or birth defects.

Breasts

Fat injection has been used as a technique for breast enlargement. This option is best for women who are looking for a relatively small increase in breast size and want a more natural result.

Scalp

It has been reported that using fat transfer to the scalp can help stimulate hair growth.

Genitals

The ALMI procedure has been used for both penile enhancement (ALMI ManShot) and vaginal rejuvenation (ALMI FemShot).


Potential Side Effects of ALMI

Autologous Lipocyte Micronized Fat Injection is a surgical procedure and all surgeries come with some risks. 

While it is generally considered safe, some potential risks of fat transfer include:

Common:

  • Bruising and swelling
  • Temporary numbness
  • Small scars (although they will likely fade over time)

Less common, but more serious:

  • Hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin)
  • Fat necrosis (the death of fat tissue
  • Fat embolism (fat that gets into the bloodstream and can cause blockages)
  • Larger scars
  • Surgical Risks (bleeding, infection, blood clots, or allergy to anesthesia)

Your plastic surgeon will work with you before your procedure to identify and minimize these risks.


Think ALMI Is Right For You?

If you're considering a fat transfer or ALMI procedure in the Newport Beach, Irvine, or Orange County areas, call our office for a consultation.

We can answer any questions that you may still have and help you visualize the results that you can achieve with your ALMI procedure. 

Your new firmer, fuller, smoother look awaits you!