Calf implants are designed to increase the size and/or improve the shape of the calf, and are used for both aesthetic and medical purposes. Candidates include those who cannot get the calves they want from exercise alone, and those who have calf-muscle imbalances because of physical or birth defects.
In general, in terms of implants for aesthetic reasons, men opt for calf implants to increase their calves’ bulk, whereas women want to create better proportion between calves and thighs. In terms of implants for medical reasons, those who opt for implants may want to correct disfiguring injuries, or defects caused by disease.
What are the types of calf implants?
Calf implants are made of medical-grade silicone. They can be solid silicone or silicone gel (similar to breast implants but firmer). Both types of implants are available in symmetrical sizes that work best for average people, or asymmetrical sizes where the patient hopes to add dramatic volume and shape to the calf (usually bodybuilders). Gel implants can cause capsular contracture, where scar tissue forms around the implant and tightens, but this is rare in calf augmentation. If you prefer a more specialized shape, Dr. Robert Hunsaker can custom-carve solid implants before insertion.
Who is a good candidate to have calf implants placed?
The goal of calf augmentation is to add shape and definition to the calves. These are typical situations where a person would consider this procedure with Dr. Hunsaker:
- To emphasize the bulk of the calf muscle
- To make your lower leg more anatomically proportionate with your thigh
- If you want to correct lower leg defects from injury, disease, or from birth defects
- If you’re a bodybuilder and you’re not satisfied with your calf development
What are the types of calf implants?
Calf implants are made of medical-grade silicone. They can be solid silicone or silicone gel (similar to breast implants but firmer). Both types of implants are available in symmetrical sizes that work best for average people, or asymmetrical sizes where the patient hopes to add dramatic volume and shape to the calf (usually bodybuilders). Gel implants can cause capsular contracture, where scar tissue forms around the implant and tightens, but this is rare in calf augmentation. If you prefer a more specialized shape, Dr. Hunsaker can custom-carve solid implants before insertion.
Where are calf implants placed?
Calf implants can be placed just beneath the membrane covering the muscle (subfascial placement) or within the muscle (submuscular). Subfascial placement is more frequent because the procedure is less invasive and makes for a faster, easier recovery. But subfascial placement can sometimes allow the implant to rotate and be visible as an implant. This is because there is less tissue covering the implant.
When the implant is placed in the muscle, the procedure is more difficult. There is greater discomfort and more recovery time, but the aesthetic result is often better. This is because the calf muscles cover the implant.
Will calf implants impact what sports or exercises I can do?
Calf implants do require patience during your recovery. You’ll have to avoid most strenuous activities and exercise for 4-6 weeks. But after 6 weeks most patients can return to all exercises, sports, and activities. There are no restrictions on what you can do.
There is a risk that implants can shift, but this is unusual. That’s why it’s so important to have calf implants, or any other form of cosmetic surgery, performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Hunsaker.
The Calf Implant Procedure
Calf augmentation is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. It usually takes between 1 and 2 hours to perform. During the calf-implant procedure, an incision is made behind the knee, and a pocket is created to hold the implant. Because the incisions are placed in the crease behind the knee, they are barely visible after surgery. Once the implants are placed, the incisions are closed with sutures and bandages to promote proper healing.
Calf implants are made of soft solid silicone. They are placed just beneath the fascia (connective tissue) of the calf muscle.
How long do calf implants last?
Calf implants placed by Dr. Hunsaker are permanent. They should not need any adjustment or maintenance. You’ll enjoy your shapelier calves for the rest of your life.
Recovery After Calf Implants
After calf implant surgery, the lower legs are swollen and there is incision-site bruising. Any postoperative pain or discomfort is managed with medication. During the first and second days after surgery, the legs should be kept elevated. Bandages are usually removed very soon after surgery. Most patients can return to work within a week. Walking normally, without stiffness, usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. Resuming all activities, including exercise, is usually possible after 4 to 6 weeks.
Risks of Calf Implants
Aside from the risks associated with any surgery, risks related to calf augmentation include the following:
- Implant is visible beneath the skin
- Implant slippage
- Nerve and/or muscle damage
- Fluid collection around the implant
If results are aesthetically displeasing, revision surgery may be necessary.