Calf Implants (calf augmentation and calf enlargement)

Calf augmentation with implants is a procedure to increase the size and improve the shape of the calf. Patients seek calf implants to tone and define the lower leg if it cannot be achieved with exercise alone, or to correct a muscle imbalance resulting from physical or birth defects.

When to Consider Calf Implants

– If you seek to emphasize the bulk of the calf muscle (usually men)
– If you desire a lower leg more anatomically proportionate to your thigh (usually women)
– If you are a bodybuilder and you’ve reached the plateau of calf development with exercise, but you’re not satisfied with the definition of your lower leg
– If you wish to correct lower leg defects resulting from injury; disease, such as polio; or from birth conditions, such as clubfoot or spina bifida

Considerations

Pros
– Enhances and reshapes the calf as desired, generally in a single procedure
– Fast and easy to perform, provided the proper steps are followed
– Adds both mass and definition in the bodybuilder seeking further muscle development

Cons
– Patients experience swelling and discomfort of the lower leg in the immediate postoperative period,with slight bruising around the incisions
– Recovery to full physical activity generally takes 4 to 6 weeks
– Final result can take a few months after surgery to appreciate

Are you a good candidate for calf implants?

– You would like to emphasize the bulk of the calf muscle (usually men)
– You desire a lower leg more anatomically proportionate to your thigh (usually women)
– You are a bodybuilder and you’ve reached the plateau of calf development with exercise, but you’re not satisfied with the definition of your lower leg
– You wish to correct lower leg defects resulting from injury; disease, such as polio; or from congenital conditions, such as club foot or spina bifida
– If you are in good general health and have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.

How is a calf implants procedure performed?

– Your legs are measured during a preoperative office visit to determine the right implant size, and then the implants are ordered for surgery.
– The day of surgery, you are given general anesthesia or sedation anesthesia and placed in the prone position (lying face down) on the operating table.
– The incision is made at the back of the knee, through the skin and fascia (sheet of connective tissue) covering the gastrocnemius muscle.
– Once your surgeon locates the most salient nerve (tibial nerve), the procedure can proceed without much concern for encountering other nerves or arteries, because there aren’t many in this area.
– A snug pocket (large enough only for the implant) is made between this fascia and muscle, into which the implant will be inserted.
– The implant is inserted and the leg is examined before the incision is closed with sutures.
You are placed in the supine position (lying on the back facing up) and taken to recovery.

How do I prepare for a calf implants procedure?

– Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing
– Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications can cause increased bleeding
– Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
– Possibly have blood and urine tests, and a pregnancy test for women, to prepare for anesthesia Calf augmentation is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.

Aftercare and Recovery

Immediately after your calf implant surgery
The incision sites will be slightly bruised and your lower legs will be swollen. Any postoperative pain or discomfort you experience will be managed with medication. These symptoms generally subside after a few days.
When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme or long-lasting, contact your physician. You will also have some redness and swelling after the surgery. Contact your surgeon to find out if your pain, redness, and swelling is normal or a sign of a problem.

Recovery time frame after calf implants

It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about care of your drains if necessary, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The first two weeks
– The first day or two after surgery, you should be assisted when getting up to go to the bathroom and your legs should be elevated as often as possible to reduce swelling and discomfort.
– The second day after surgery your dressings can be removed and you are encouraged to walk around the house and begin taking brief daily showers.
– You can expect to walk stiffly for the first week or so, but you are encouraged to gradually walk greater distances.
Week two to eight
– Normal walking starts to return during the second and third week after surgery
– The skin starts to stretch and the bruising and “shiny” appearance of the skin starts to fade
– Activities such as running, biking, weight-lifting should be avoided until one or two months after surgery, depending on your comfort level
– Full return to normal activities usually occurs after four to six weeks

How Long Will the Results Last?

Calf implant results are permanent.

Limitations and Risks

Fortunately, significant complications from calf implants are infrequent. Your specific risks for calf implants will be discussed during your consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
– Adverse reaction to anesthesia
– Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal)
– Infection and bleeding
– Changes in sensation
– Scarring
– Allergic reactions
– Damage to underlying structures
– Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
Other risks specific to calf implants are outlined below:

– Visible implant due to incorrect pocket dissection or incorrect implant placement
– Nerve and/or muscle damage
– Slippage
– Asymmetry