What is Calf Implant?

Calf implants are silicone-based products that are designed to enhance the calf area. Also called calf augmentation, this is a surgical procedure that’s performed by plastic surgeons only.

You might be curious about calf implants if you’re concerned with the appearance of your lower legs. This type of surgery may also be used by bodybuilders or for people with injuries or physical disabilities. Both men and women are known to get calf implants.

Overall, calf implants have both high rates of efficacy and low rates of side effects. But since all cosmetic surgeries can be risky (and costly), it’s important to learn all the ins and outs of calf implant procedures before booking your appointment.

How do calf implants work?

Calf implants contain silicone, which is a durable rubber-like material. When inserted under the skin, it provides the area with a look of fullness. This can be helpful in providing more fullness in the calves in the absence of defined muscles. In turn, your calves will be bigger in size, too.

Procedure for calf Implants

Calf augmentation is an outpatient procedure. This means that you’ll have the surgery at either your surgeon’s office or at a hospital, but you are able to go home the same day.

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), calf implant surgery takes about an hour and a half to complete. This doesn’t count the prep time before surgery, as well as recovery from the anesthesia. In all, you should expect to dedicate an entire day to your procedure.

Before the actual procedure, an anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia. This puts you to sleep during the surgery so you won’t feel any pain. The anesthesia is administered locally with a mask, or intravenously via needles in your veins.

During the procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will make incisions into the calves and then insert the silicone implants. The skin is then stitched back together.

Targeted areas for calf implants

Calf implants are used to enhance the back of the lower half of your legs only. If you have other cosmetic concerns about your legs, such as thigh contouring, you will need to talk to your surgeon about any separate procedures.

Are there any risks or side effects?

Any cosmetic surgery can pose both minor and serious risks and side effects. Minor side effects from calf implant surgery can include bruising from the incision areas, as well as swelling. You might also experience redness and discomfort within the first few days.

Some people experience side effects from the anesthesia. These are immediately felt within the first few hours of the surgery and can include nausea and vomiting.

More serious side effects can include infection and excessive bleeding. Call your doctor if you notice pus or increased swelling and bleeding around the calf area.

Silicone implants also carry the risk of rupture or misplacement. You’ll be able to tell something isn’t right if your calf shrinks in size, or if the fullness moves to another area of your leg entirely. Call your surgeon right away if you think something’s wrong with the implant.

What to expect after getting calf implants

You’ll need to take at least a few days off work to fully recover from calf implant surgery. Your doctor will give you compression bandages that you’ll need to keep on for two weeks post-surgery, according to the ISAPS.

During these two weeks, you must avoid exercise and stay off your feet as much as possible. You’ll notice any bruising and inflammation from the surgery start to decrease and eventually go away in a couple of weeks.

The ISAPS recommends that you refrain from alcohol for three weeks after your surgery. This is also a crucial time to make sure you’re getting the water and nutrients your body needs for recovery. With the right nutrition and water intake, you’ll be better able to resume normal activities after a few weeks without complications.

While the results of calf augmentation are long term, they aren’t permanent. You may need to re-do the surgery after several years once the silicone implants degrade from natural wear-and-tear.

Overall, the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates a less than 1 percent complication rate with calf implant surgery.

Calf implants vs fat grafting

Another option for larger calves is a procedure called fat grafting. Rather than inserting implants in your calves, fat grafting involves transferring soft skin tissues from another part of the body, such as the thighs, to the area.

In some cases, calf implants are used in conjunction with fat grafting for more precise body contouring.

Fat grafting is not as invasive and requires less anesthesia. For the best results though, your surgeon might recommend both procedures together.

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