Calf Implants (Augmentation)

Have you ever wished that your calves looked more muscular and defined? Calf augmentation uses implants to reshape the appearance of the lower leg, increasing muscle definition and the volume of the calves. This procedure is popular among both women and men, and is performed for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes. During the calf augmentation procedure, the implant may be placed either below the muscle, which is referred to as submuscular placement, or above the muscle, which is referred to as subfascial placement.

Are You a Good Candidate?

Most patients who are considering calf augmentation desire legs with more muscular contours. They tend to be athletes who are unable to achieve their desired muscle definition through exercise alone. Patients who have lost calf tissue due to medical conditions or trauma may also undergo calf augmentation as reconstructive surgery. If you would like to improve the physical appearance of your calf by increasing its definition and size, then calf augmentation may be right for you. Both men and women can receive calf implants; on average, 57% of patients undergoing this procedure are men, while 43% are women. The ideal candidate is a healthy adult who is realistic about the potential outcomes of surgery. Calf implants tend to work best on patients who are at or near their ideal weight and are already fairly muscular.

The Procedure: Step-by-Step Guide

Calf augmentation is performed while the patient is lying on his or her stomach and approximately take three hours to complete. The following provides an overview of how calf augmentation is performed.

  1. General anesthesia is administered,
  2. The surgeon makes an incision behind each knee. This incision enables the surgeon to insert the implants without creating a significant scar.
  3. Either above or below the muscle, the surgeon will create a tissue pocket where the implant will be placed. The implants used for calf augmentation are dense silicone, with a feeling similar to that of well-toned muscle.
  4. Once both implants have been positioned in the calves, the incision will be closed with sutures.

Safety Information

Calf augmentation is considered a very safe form of plastic surgery; less than 4 percent of all calf augmentation patients report any type of post-surgery complications. There is a slight risk of anesthetic reactions, infection, or fluid collection, as with all surgical procedures. Using the submuscular technique for deeper placement of the implant gives the surgeon more control over the aesthetic results as well as the potential for nerve damage and other complications. Subfascial implantation carries a slightly elevated risk of rotating or drifting implants, since they are not placed as deeply within the body. Rotating or drifting can cause asymmetry, requiring revision surgery for correction.

What You Can Expect During Recovery

During the recovery period, patients should avoid walking or performing any other activities that involves the use of the legs for several days. Side effects that commonly occur during the recovery include pain, tenderness and swelling. Most  patients will be able to resume their normal activity level within a week to ten days, although exercise routines requiring use of the leg muscles should be avoided for about a month to allow the calves to heal. After the recovery, there should be no adverse impact on the use of the leg muscles, since the muscles themselves are not cut or detached during the procedure.

What do Calf Implants Cost?

When it comes to the cost, the average surgeon’s fee for calf implant is $3,649. When additional costs such as those for anesthesia and the surgical facility are factored in, the total calf implant cost is usually between $4,500 and $8,000.¬† Submuscular placement tends to be more expensive than subfascial placement since it is a more complicated surgical procedure. When deciding to have surgery, its important to not only consider the cost but also the surgeon. Choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience in performing these types of procedures.